What you need to know about insuring solar PV panels
Author – George Jennings
As the construction industry evolves and adapts to trends and innovation, so must the underwriters supporting the industry. However, before we talk shop let’s discuss solar and photovoltaic energy panels.
Solar technology is used to transform solar energy into thermal energy and can be divided in to two categories: concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) and photovoltaic (PV). Solar thermal uses mirrors or lenses to collect sunlight. This heat energy is either used immediately or stored in various types of batteries.
PV technology are the panels we see mounted on roofs or solar farms. The PV panels absorb sunlight and converts it to direct current (DC) electricity which is then converted to (AC) and used to power a household or business during hours of sunlight. Thankfully, PV technology has advanced in recent years and battery options are now available. To charge the battery an inverter is installed alongside the PV system to convert the DC electricity to alternative current (AC) electricity. The DC charges batteries connected to the mains and electricity is available to use even at night. The PV system’s modular feature means it can be built and adapted to meet nearly any power demand, from shopping centres to commercial businesses to residential estates and many others.
Today we see an increased application of solar PV power, especially as the technology evolves and improves. In return, this greater drive towards solar power applications in the commercial sector necessitates a well-developed insurance product such as Consort’s Comprehensive Energy Insurance.
The advantages of solar energy are:
– No emissions or waste that must be stored and discarded
– No noise
– No water or fossil fuels needed to produce power
– No transport costs (as is often the problem with fossil fuels)
– The resource, sunshine, is free and abundant
– Because CSP and PV energy can be stored it is a reliable source of energy
– PV panels can be adapted to fit the energy requirements and moved if needed
What is the cost of solar power?
The initial cost of installing PV solar power can be expensive. However, when the long-term investment is weighed up against the short-term repayment cost, the savings are considerable.
Solar power is an investment that pays off in the long-term which is all the more reason for developers and contractors to adequately insure their investment.
Is solar power insurance truly necessary?
No technology, however high-tech, is exempt from theft or damage, including solar energy. In South Africa theft is always a possibility alongside strong winds, flooding, lightning, hail, power surges and accidents. Damage may also occur in transit (marine or inland), during installation by the contractor/sub-contractor, or during the operational phase.
Should something happen to any items during transit, construction, or during the operational phase it can potentially set a project back considerably both in timeline and budget. Especially if replacement parts need to be shipped from overseas.
Consort’s Comprehensive Energy Insurance (CEI)
The CEI is specially tailored to commercial and industrial installations and we offer cover to different tiers of CEI projects.
Consort has invested a huge amount of time and research into the development of a product that offers the “cradle to grave” concept. This means our CEI is a complete insurance solution with an all embracing policy. Our CEI thus protects and saves the client from having four or five individual policies that could potentially have gaps in the cover.
Consort has also set up a facility in London for Utility Scale Projects. This London facility is a consortium of Lloyds Underwriters with significant capacity on Solar PV and Wind Technology.
Our CEI covers:
– Marine cargo
– Marine cargo DSU
– Contract work insurance
– Contract work insurance DSU
– Operational All Risks
– Operational Business Interruption
– Broad-form Public Liability
For more information about Consort’s CEI please contact your broker today. Brokers who would like to learn more about our CEI product can contact us here.