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Do Earthquakes Affect Solar Panels?

By: Eric Huesca, SEO Content Writer

January 5, 2023

Earthquakes are one of the biggest natural disasters that have always been human nightmares. Everything starts to shake when it occurs, and the houses collapse in some cases leading to casualties, power outages, and chaos. Take a look at what has happened in the last two decades. In 2004 and 2005, Indonesia and Pakistan were jolted with more than 300,000 casualties combined. Similarly, damages caused in Haiti and Nepal were also severe, with thousands dead.

Clean install of solar panels done by Solgen Power.

Clean install of solar panels done by Solgen Power.

When it comes to the USA, no state is safe either. California is one such state where earthquakes happen every day. Most of them are of small magnitudes and are not felt. But there is always a fear of bigger ones when you look at the recent earthquakes in California.

So, those who are looking to install or have already installed solar panels often think- Do Earthquakes affect solar panels or not?

You will find your answer and all the necessary information here in this article. So, stay till the end.

Major Earthquakes- An Overview of History

Earthquakes have caused havoc throughout history. The one that caused the greatest damage was in Shaanxi, China, in the 16th century, in which more than 800,000 people died. Similarly, in 1976, more than 240,000 people died in Tangshan, China, because of the earthquake and its aftershocks.

This century is no different, either.

  • At the start of the 21st century, the Indonesian Earthquake caused more than 220,000 fatalities.
  • Then, in 2005, an earthquake in Pakistan caused 87,000 deaths and billions of dollars worth of damage.
  • In 2010, Haiti was shocked by the earthquake waves, and more than 200,000 people died in it too.
  • Then, Japan faced 20,000 deaths because of the earthquake in Tohoku in 2011.
  • Recently, another earthquake in Haiti jolted the country with more than 2,000 deaths.

The USA is also always under threat of natural disasters. Hurricanes are extremely common, and you also hear the news of Earthquakes every day. That is why “Earthquake today” is one of the most searched phrases in the USA.

Earthquakes of big magnitude have hit the country in the past. Now, a bigger problem is looming over Californians. The state has two plants-  Diablo Canyon and San Onofre, which have the power to cause destruction on a wide scale if earthquakes affect them. And a big California earthquake is a matter of when and not if. If it occurs, the state will face a power outage like never before. In this situation, those who will have a solar panel system installed will face very less trouble.

Solar Panels- Future of Energy

A solar panel is one of the greatest inventions till now, which harnesses the never-ending solar energy to generate electricity. This technology is now considered energy’s future because it uses a renewable source (sunlight) that can never be extinct or finished.

The world started looking for unlimited resources when the news of fuels going depleted surfaced. Wind energy wasn’t considered a reliable source either. In this scenario, solar panels became a true blessing that changed the whole landscape of utilizing solar energy.

Now, Solar panels are the need of the hour as well because other energy resources add pollution to the environment. Our generation might sustain the polluted environment, but we aren’t leaving a better world for the children if we don’t shift to solar energy.

That is why everyone should play their part and install solar panels to power their homes. As a bonus, they will also save some bucks on electricity bills too, all thanks to solar panels.

Let’s have a look at some key details of Solar Panels.

How Long Can Solar Panels Last?

People often wonder how long can Solar panels can last. According to an estimate, Solar Panels can keep on working for 25 years on average. If you take good care of them, then they can even stay in good shape for up to 40 years. Some companies are also offering a 25-year warranty on these panels. So, there is no doubt that solar panels can keep going for years to come when you install them.

But what makes them so strong and durable? The materials that they are made up of.

What Are Solar Panels Made up of?

A solar panel is made with solar cells. These cells are made from silicone, which absorbs maximum sunlight and also withstand harsh conditions easily. Within solar cells, there are positive and negative terminals that make sure ions flow smoothly.

 In addition, aluminum is also used in manufacturing to increase the resistance against strong shocks and winds. Some companies also add gallium, selenium, and cadmium as well. Each of these materials makes Solar panels strong and long-lasting.

One Problem People Might Face

The biggest problem people face when they are generating energy from solar panels is when the inverter stops working. An inverter is an important component of the whole system that is responsible for converting solar energy into electricity. It usually wears off after 15 years, and you will have to replace it with a new one. But if you maintain the inverter properly, it can even last for up to 20 years.

Companies also offer warranties on inverters as well. If this component starts malfunctioning or stops working altogether, then you can contact the seller and either repair it for free or get a brand-new one without any extra charges. Similarly, if you have gotten solar panels on a lease, then the agreement can take care of such issues.

But if the warranty period is over, you will have to cough up thousands of bucks to pay for an inverter. Still, note that they come with a warranty and can easily generate electricity for you for 15 years. If you face any other minor issues, they can also easily be fixed. So, installing solar panels is one of the best investments you can make.

Those who have made a wise decision about installing solar panels often wonder whether earthquakes affect these panels or not. It’s time to find out.

Can Solar Panels Withstand an Earthquake?

Solar panels can withstand earthquakes easily if the ones you have installed are of top quality and the condition of the roof is good. Let’s discuss both factors in detail.

Integrity of Installation

Solar panels are made with durable materials that can withstand earthquake shocks easily. They are placed safely on the rooftop by experts, so don’t worry about them breaking down or slipping when the earthquake hits.

States have also issued laws about Solar panel safety as well. For example, Florida state orders companies to develop such panels that can withstand 160 km/h winds with ease. Similarly, other states also have their specified laws about these panels.

So, solar panels are manufactured with top materials and procedures. They are also tested before being launched in the market for sale. Thus, don’t worry about earthquake shocks affecting solar panels.

Still, if an earthquake happens, disconnect the cables for a few minutes and take any precautionary measures necessary after assessing the situation.

Condition of Roof

When you analyze the cases where solar panels were affected by earthquakes, it was found that those houses had weaker rooftops. Solar panels installed on roofs in good condition do not get affected (unless something extraordinary or devastating happens).

Therefore, it is crucial you first inspect the roof condition before you install the solar panels. Hire an experienced contractor who will take a good look at the rooftop. If it is found to be old or weak for solar panel installation, then you will have to repair or re-design the roof. This might hurt your wallet a little, but it is an investment that you will thank for the rest of your life.

Long story short, earthquakes do not affect solar panels unless you install them on weak rooftops.

Now, it’s time for you to know an interesting fact regarding what causes earthquakes.

Did You Know Solar Energy Can Actually Trigger an Earthquake?

Many people don’t have an idea about how earthquakes happen. Most of them think it is the movements of the inner rocks/tectonic plates that cause earthquakes. This is the partial truth. Solar energy can also be the reason for earth-shaking and group earthquakes (if the intensity gets bigger). Yep, it’s true.

It’s no secret that solar rays reaching the Earth support life. In addition to these beneficial rays, the sun also sends solar winds at a great magnitude as a result of different coronal activities. When these winds hit the Earth, the surface shakes up a little. Most of such movements go unnoticed. The problem occurs when the mass eruptions leave the sun for the earth.

When these mass eruptions are “bombarded” on the Earth, earthquakes happen. You can feel these earthquakes and they can even take down power grids. Furthermore, these eruptions can interfere with the satellite’s working as well. So, the whole world can get affected by them.

So, what makes mass eruptions from the sun dangerous? Well, these eruptions contain a lot of charged particles. When the positively charged ones or protons get in touch with the Earth’s surface, it shakes up strongly.

So, that’s all about earthquakes and whether they can affect solar panels or not.

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