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6 Steps to Stop Hurricane Harm to Photo voltaic Installations

This submit 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 presents a tax incentive for photo voltaic items 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 progress.

Many constructing homeowners 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 stop loss and injury.

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 workers needs to 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 duty for particular duties.

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

  1. Correct Storage. To mitigate injury to tools 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 brought on by grid disruptions throughout the hurricane, de-energize the ability 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 packing containers, trackers and inverters. It will assist mitigate the results of a single electrical loss, so it received’t negatively influence all the facility.
  3. Safe Connections. Earlier than the storm arrives, affirm that fasteners and clamps are safe. Test, restore and safe unfastened wiring as effectively. Pay particular consideration to any probably compromised areas of the ability, together with sections present process upkeep or restore.
  4. Guarantee Elements are Sealed. With hurricane winds usually reaching over 100 mph, rain can simply enter even the smallest cracks and openings. All photo voltaic panel parts have to be usually inspected for a water-proof seal, particularly cupboards containing electrical tools. Cupboards needs to be locked to stop water injury.
  5. Take away Unsecured Objects. Unsecured objects might be propelled by way of the air throughout a hurricane and trigger injury. Take away or safe any instruments and tools earlier than the storm hits. Additionally pay particular consideration to gadgets adjoining to the constructing equivalent to pallets. If this isn’t attainable, transfer the objects downwind to scale back injury.
  6. Examine Drainage Ditches. Blocked drainage ditches retain water on web site, leaving you open to further water injury. Examine the drainage system to make sure it’s freed from particles and vegetative progress. Construct flood obstacles when you’ve got time to assist forestall undermining and erosion of racking system footings.

Recovering your tools submit storm

If the tools was uncovered to flood waters, they could possibly be compromised and contaminated. Consequently, flooded electrical tools have to be totally inspected, cleaned, dried out and examined earlier than use. If not, your set up runs the next danger of significant injury 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 danger.

At all times observe producer necessities when recovering your tools.

  • Windings and dry sort transformers needs to be dried at a temperature that doesn’t surpass the insulation ranking of the system earlier than making an attempt utilization. Once more, verify the producer’s label for particular details about your tools.
  • Oil-filled transformers needs 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 check for dissolved water content material. Relying on the outcomes, a specialist might must 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 elements, they might be recovered. Clear in accordance with producers tips.
  • Different parts might must be rinsed with recent, clear water after coming into contact with flood water. Planning and getting ready can mitigate injury to your photo voltaic set up and expediate restoration within the occasion of a hurricane. Working with an knowledgeable may help determine weak factors and different dangers in your set up – and might in the end save your funding from wreck.

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, “Photo voltaic Business Analysis Knowledge,” accessed July 7, 2022.

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