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6 Steps to Stop Hurricane Harm to Photo voltaic Installations

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This submit 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 power.[1] Within the industrial sector, environmental, social and governance initiatives have additionally been motivating components for his or her progress.

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

Your upkeep workers ought to be educated by the producer or third celebration 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 cut back wind drag, retailer and safe all monitoring programs 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 through 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 packing containers, trackers and inverters. It will 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, verify that fasteners and clamps are safe. Verify, restore and safe unfastened wiring as nicely. Pay particular consideration to any doubtlessly compromised areas of the ability, 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 elements should be commonly inspected for a water-resistant seal, particularly cupboards containing electrical tools. Cupboards ought to be locked to stop water injury.
  5. Take away Unsecured Objects. Unsecured objects will be propelled via 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 corresponding to pallets. If this isn’t doable, transfer the objects downwind to scale back injury.
  6. Examine Drainage Ditches. Blocked drainage ditches retain water on website, 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 if in case you have 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 may very well be compromised and contaminated. Consequently, flooded electrical tools should be completely inspected, cleaned, dried out and examined earlier than use. If not, your set up runs a better threat 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 threat.

At all times observe producer necessities when recovering your tools.

  • Windings and dry sort transformers ought to be dried at a temperature that doesn’t surpass the insulation ranking of the system earlier than trying utilization. Once more, verify the producer’s label for particular details about your tools.
  • Oil-filled transformers ought to 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 take a look at for dissolved water content material. Relying on the outcomes, a specialist could must dehydrate the oil cost.
  • Circuit boards will be very delicate. In the event that they weren’t energized whereas immersed in water and don’t comprise water-sensitive components, they could be recovered. Clear in accordance with producers tips.
  • Different elements could must be rinsed with recent, clear water after coming into contact with flood water. Planning and making ready can mitigate injury 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 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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