Sunday, January 29th, 2023

6 Steps to Stop Hurricane Injury to Photo voltaic Installations

This publish is a part of a sequence sponsored by IAT Insurance coverage Group.

Photo voltaic installations have elevated by 33% yearly during the last 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 affords a tax incentive for photo voltaic models coupled with the rising demand for clear power.[1] Within the industrial sector, environmental, social and governance initiatives have additionally been motivating elements for his or her development.

Many constructing house owners and operators fail to appreciate that photo voltaic panels aren’t “set it and overlook it” gear. They require routine upkeep and particular care if a catastrophe strikes. If your small business is in a hurricane-prone area, it’s vital 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 may be broken earlier than, throughout and even after a hurricane.

Your upkeep workers must be skilled by the producer or third get together 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.

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

  1. Correct Storage. To mitigate harm to gear and scale back wind drag, retailer and safe all monitoring techniques 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 in the course of the hurricane, de-energize the ability earlier than the storm hits. Take it fully off the grid on the level of interconnect or within the switchyard. Then separate elements by shutting off breakers at combiner containers, trackers and inverters. This can assist mitigate the results of a single electrical loss, so it received’t negatively influence your entire facility.
  3. Safe Connections. Earlier than the storm arrives, verify that fasteners and clamps are safe. Verify, restore and safe unfastened wiring as properly. Pay particular consideration to any doubtlessly compromised areas of the ability, together with sections present process upkeep or restore.
  4. Guarantee Elements are Sealed. With hurricane winds recurrently reaching over 100 mph, rain can simply enter even the smallest cracks and openings. All photo voltaic panel elements have to be recurrently inspected for a water-resistant seal, particularly cupboards containing electrical gear. Cupboards must be locked to stop water harm.
  5. Take away Unsecured Objects. Unsecured objects may be propelled by way of the air throughout a hurricane and trigger harm. Take away or safe any instruments and gear earlier than the storm hits. Additionally pay particular consideration to gadgets adjoining to the constructing comparable to pallets. If this isn’t doable, transfer the objects downwind to cut back harm.
  6. Examine Drainage Ditches. Blocked drainage ditches retain water on web site, leaving you open to extra water harm. Examine the drainage system to make sure it’s freed from particles and vegetative development. Construct flood boundaries in case you have time to assist forestall undermining and erosion of racking system footings.

Recovering your gear publish storm

If the gear was uncovered to flood waters, they could possibly be compromised and contaminated. Consequently, flooded electrical gear have to be totally inspected, cleaned, dried out and examined earlier than use. If not, your set up runs a better threat of great harm or complete 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 observe producer necessities when recovering your gear.

  • 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, examine the producer’s label for particular details about your gear.
  • Oil-filled transformers must be inspected. Draw oil samples from the tank’s prime and backside for evaluation. Search for moisture droplets or a cloudy look. A lab ought to carry out a check for dissolved water content material. Relying on the outcomes, a specialist could have to dehydrate the oil cost.
  • Circuit boards may be very delicate. In the event that they weren’t energized whereas immersed in water and don’t include water-sensitive elements, they could be recovered. Clear in accordance with producers pointers.
  • Different elements could must be rinsed with recent, 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 professional may help establish weak factors and different dangers in your set up – and might finally save your funding from destroy.

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

By Katie Bloomquist

[1] Photo voltaic Power Industries Affiliation, “Photo voltaic Trade Analysis Information,” accessed July 7, 2022.

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