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6 Steps to Forestall Hurricane Harm 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 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 gives 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 components for his or her development.

Many constructing house owners and operators fail to comprehend that photo voltaic panels aren’t “set it and neglect it” tools. 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 forestall loss and harm.

Safeguarding your photo voltaic installations throughout a storm

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

Your upkeep workers ought to 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 duty 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 methods 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 throughout 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 parts by shutting off breakers at combiner bins, trackers and inverters. This may assist mitigate the consequences of a single electrical loss, so it gained’t negatively impression all the facility.
  3. Safe Connections. Earlier than the storm arrives, affirm that fasteners and clamps are safe. Examine, restore and safe free wiring as effectively. Pay particular consideration to any doubtlessly compromised areas of the power, together with sections present process upkeep or restore.
  4. Guarantee Parts are Sealed. With hurricane winds commonly reaching over 100 mph, rain can simply enter even the smallest cracks and openings. All photo voltaic panel parts should be commonly inspected for a water-proof seal, particularly cupboards containing electrical tools. Cupboards ought to be locked to forestall water harm.
  5. Take away Unsecured Objects. Unsecured objects could 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 gadgets adjoining to the constructing reminiscent of pallets. If this isn’t attainable, transfer the objects downwind to cut back harm.
  6. Examine Drainage Ditches. Blocked drainage ditches retain water on website, leaving you open to extra water harm. Examine the drainage system to make sure it’s freed from particles and vegetative development. Construct flood limitations if in case you have time to assist forestall undermining and erosion of racking system footings.

Recovering your tools publish storm

If the tools was uncovered to flood waters, they may very well 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 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.

All the time observe producer necessities when recovering your tools.

  • Windings and dry kind transformers ought to 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 tools.
  • Oil-filled transformers ought to 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 take a look at for dissolved water content material. Relying on the outcomes, a specialist could have to dehydrate the oil cost.
  • Circuit boards could 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 parts could must be rinsed with contemporary, clear water after coming into contact with flood water. Planning and making 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 determine weak factors and different dangers in your set up – and may finally save your funding from wreck.

Contact IAT for extra data on making ready your photo voltaic set up for a hurricane.

By Katie Bloomquist

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

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