Now 6 Steps to Prevent Hurricane Damage to Solar Installations


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This put up is a part of a sequence sponsored by IAT Insurance Group.

Photo voltaic installations have elevated by 33% yearly over the past decade. This may be attributed to federal insurance policies such because the Photo voltaic Funding Tax Credit score. The Photo voltaic Funding Credit score Tax provides a tax incentive for photo voltaic items coupled with the growing demand for clear power.[1] Within the industrial sector, environmental, social and governance initiatives have additionally been motivating components for his or her development.

Many constructing house owners and operators fail to comprehend that photo voltaic panels aren’t “set it and overlook it” tools. They require routine upkeep and particular care if a catastrophe strikes. If your corporation is in a hurricane-prone area, it’s essential to have a plan to de-energize your photo voltaic panels forward of an oncoming storm to stop loss and harm.

Safeguarding your photo voltaic installations throughout a storm

Hurricanes include excessive winds and flooding, amongst different dangers. Your photo voltaic panels might be broken earlier than, throughout and even after a hurricane.

Your upkeep employees must be educated by the producer or third occasion in storing and de-energizing photo voltaic panels within the occasion of a hurricane. Create a written plan, together with assigning accountability for particular duties.

Comply with these steps to mitigate harm to your photo voltaic set up previous to a hurricane.

  1. Correct Storage. To mitigate harm to tools and cut back wind drag, retailer and safe all monitoring programs in a impartial place forward of a storm. Adhere to the producers’ suggestions to retailer and safe the modules.
  2. Energy Down. To mitigate electrical losses attributable to grid disruptions through the hurricane, de-energize the power earlier than the storm hits. Take it utterly off the grid on the level of interconnect or within the switchyard. Then separate elements by shutting off breakers at combiner bins, trackers and inverters. This may assist mitigate the results of a single electrical loss, so it received’t negatively influence the whole facility.
  3. Safe Connections. Earlier than the storm arrives, affirm that fasteners and clamps are safe. Examine, restore and safe unfastened wiring as nicely. Pay particular consideration to any probably compromised areas of the power, together with sections present process upkeep or restore.
  4. Guarantee Parts are Sealed. With hurricane winds frequently reaching over 100 mph, rain can simply enter even the smallest cracks and openings. All photo voltaic panel elements should be frequently inspected for a water-proof seal, particularly cupboards containing electrical tools. Cupboards must be locked to stop water harm.
  5. Take away Unsecured Objects. Unsecured objects might be propelled by way of the air throughout a hurricane and trigger harm. Take away or safe any instruments and tools earlier than the storm hits. Additionally pay particular consideration to objects adjoining to the constructing similar to pallets. If this isn’t attainable, transfer the objects downwind to scale back harm.
  6. Examine Drainage Ditches. Blocked drainage ditches retain water on website, leaving you open to further water harm. Examine the drainage system to make sure it’s freed from particles and vegetative development. Construct flood obstacles you probably have time to assist stop undermining and erosion of racking system footings.

Recovering your tools put up storm

If the tools was uncovered to flood waters, they could possibly be compromised and contaminated. Because of this, flooded electrical tools should be totally inspected, cleaned, dried out and examined earlier than use. If not, your set up runs the next threat of significant harm or whole loss.

Additionally, photo voltaic modules can produce energy from daylight even when they’re disconnected, and modules sitting in water can pose an electrocution threat.

At all times comply with producer necessities when recovering your tools.

  • Windings and dry kind transformers must be dried at a temperature that doesn’t surpass the insulation score of the system earlier than trying utilization. Once more, verify the producer’s label for particular details about your tools.
  • Oil-filled transformers must be inspected. Draw oil samples from the tank’s high and backside for evaluation. Search for moisture droplets or a cloudy look. A lab ought to carry out a take a look at for dissolved water content material. Relying on the outcomes, a specialist could have to dehydrate the oil cost.
  • Circuit boards might be very delicate. In the event that they weren’t energized whereas immersed in water and don’t include water-sensitive components, they could be recovered. Clear in accordance with producers tips.
  • Different elements could should be rinsed with contemporary, clear water after coming into contact with flood water. Planning and getting ready can mitigate harm to your photo voltaic set up and expediate restoration within the occasion of a hurricane. Working with an knowledgeable will help determine weak factors and different dangers in your set up – and might in the end save your funding from damage.

Contact IAT for extra info on getting ready your photo voltaic set up for a hurricane.

By Katie Bloomquist

[1] Photo voltaic Vitality Industries Affiliation, “Solar Industry Research Data,” accessed July 7, 2022.

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