Will Solar Panels Help When the Power Goes Out? Planning for PV Resilience

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


PV systems, like all energy systems, must chart a difficult course in order to improve resilience. They need to simultaneously withstand extreme conditions that cause grid power disruptions, be configured in a way that allows electricity to be delivered to meet the PV user's needs, and overcome disruptions arising from solar resource intermittency. Certain considerations reveal themselves as key to a PV system's resilience benefits. Choice of hardware is critical, as is site selection for the PV array. Voluminous evidence in a hurricane context demonstrates that durable hardware, properly maintained and sited, leads to PV systems surviving extreme weather with their functionality intact. Structurally weak or poorly maintained PV equipment, on the other hand, has demonstrated failures during extreme weather events. PV system stakeholders should ensure that best practices are followed for hardware procurement and siting. It is also important to understand that PV systems are not one-size-fits-all. While incorporating islanding capabilities and energy storage into the system's electrical topology will typically enhance resilience, the user's needs will determine the optimally resilient conformation of any given system. These factors - appropriate hardware, siting, maintenance, and system design - are the primary drivers of PV resilience. PV systems possess high potential for resilient energy generation due to their distributed, abundant, and free fuel supply, but the technology itself does not inherently lead to resilient outcomes. Realizing PV's potential for resilience requires consideration of these determinative factors.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2020

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-7A40-75704


  • batteries
  • BESS
  • cloud
  • consumer class
  • customer class
  • diesel
  • disruption
  • generator
  • grid down
  • grid outage
  • hardware
  • hurricane
  • IEEE 1547
  • intermittency
  • intermittent
  • photovoltaic
  • power outage
  • PV
  • resilience
  • severe weather
  • siting
  • solar
  • storm
  • storm surge
  • system design


Dive into the research topics of 'Will Solar Panels Help When the Power Goes Out? Planning for PV Resilience'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this