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Home6 Steps to Prevent Hurricane Damage to Solar Installations

6 Steps to Prevent Hurricane Damage to Solar Installations

This put up is a part of a collection 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 provides a tax incentive for photo voltaic items coupled with the rising demand for clear vitality.[1] Within the business sector, environmental, social and governance initiatives have additionally been motivating components for his or her development.

Many constructing homeowners and operators fail to comprehend 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 online business is in a hurricane-prone area, it’s important 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

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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 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.

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

  1. Correct Storage. To mitigate injury to gear 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 brought on by grid disruptions in the course of the hurricane, de-energize the power earlier than the storm hits. Take it fully 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 can assist mitigate the results of a single electrical loss, so it gained’t negatively influence your complete facility.
  3. Safe Connections. Earlier than the storm arrives, affirm that fasteners and clamps are safe. Verify, restore and safe unfastened 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 have to be commonly inspected for a water-proof seal, particularly cupboards containing electrical gear. Cupboards must be locked to stop water injury.
  5. Take away Unsecured Objects. Unsecured objects may be propelled via the air throughout a hurricane and trigger injury. Take away or safe any instruments and gear earlier than the storm hits. Additionally pay particular consideration to objects adjoining to the constructing equivalent to pallets. If this isn’t doable, transfer the objects downwind to cut back injury.
  6. Examine Drainage Ditches. Blocked drainage ditches retain water on website, leaving you open to extra water injury. Examine the drainage system to make sure it’s freed from particles and vegetative development. Construct flood boundaries if in case you have time to assist forestall undermining and erosion of racking system footings.

Recovering your gear put up storm

If the gear was uncovered to flood waters, they may very well be compromised and contaminated. Because of this, flooded electrical gear 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.

All the time observe producer necessities when recovering your gear.

  • Windings and dry kind transformers must be dried at a temperature that doesn’t surpass the insulation ranking of the system earlier than making an attempt 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 high 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 components, they might be recovered. Clear in accordance with producers tips.
  • Different parts could should be rinsed with contemporary, 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 might help determine weak factors and different dangers in your set up – and might finally save your funding from spoil.

Contact IAT for extra data 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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