Co-located renewables projects have ‘higher financial risk’ from fire incidents

Renewables project may need to shut down for a long period of time after a fire incident. Image: Baywa r.e.

Co-located renewables projects could have a higher financial risk associated with fire incidents compared to a standalone asset, according to a recent report conducted by fire suppression system manufacturer Firetrace International.

In the report Double Indemnity: How to tackle fire risk at co-located renewables projects, the report’s authors said that during a fire incident at a renewable power project co-located with storage, the asset owner may face costs not only for the damage to the affected asset, but also for any damage to the nearby asset if the fire spreads.

This article requires Premium SubscriptionBasic (FREE) Subscription

Unlock unlimited access for 12 whole months of distinctive global analysis

Photovoltaics International is now included.

  • Regular insight and analysis of the industry’s biggest developments
  • In-depth interviews with the industry’s leading figures
  • Unlimited digital access to the PV Tech Power journal catalogue
  • Unlimited digital access to the Photovoltaics International journal catalogue
  • Access to more than 1,000 technical papers
  • Discounts on Solar Media’s portfolio of events, in-person and virtual

Or continue reading this article for free

Furthermore, even if the fire does not spread to the co-located asset, it may need to be shut down while the fire is being managed. This means the co-located asset could incur costly downtime, even if it is not directly affected by the fire.

The report said a fire incident at a battery energy storage system (BESS) could cost developers, owners or operators up to US$2 million. This amount consists of the loss of an asset and loss of revenue from up to 18 months’ worth of downtime.

Inadequate focus on solar projects’ fire risk

Firetrace said there is a greater focus on BESS fire risk compared to solar projects, although the number of co-located projects is on the rise. Firetrace cited data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), which shows that co-located solar and BESS will constitute 81% of new power generation capacity in the US this year, representing an additional 36.4GW of solar capacity and 14.2GW of BESS.

Firetrace said that conducting fire assessments for solar and wind projects isnot currently a legal obligation, while asset owners are obliged to consider BESS fire risk.

“In instances where BESS are being added to existing solar or wind projects, the focus is often on the fire risk associated with the new battery assets. There may be less inclination to take a holistic view of the entire site,” the company said.

Additionally, retrofitting fire suppression systems into existing renewables projects is more costly than including them in the original design. Some US states adopt the International Fire Code for BESS, while other adhere to the National Fire Protection Association code. The differences could add more complexity to project owners when designing their renewables projects.

Lastly, Firetrace suggested that solar project owners need to ensure solar systems are regularly tested by independent third parties, incorporate additional safety components, create standardised quality assurance measures and ensure defective or prematurely aged components are promptly replaced.

21 August 2024
5pm BST
FREE WEBINAR -This webinar will feature the perspectives and views of PV Tech’s Head of Research, Dr. Finlay Colville, on how the U.S. PV manufacturing landscape is changing today and when we might expect additions to encompass cells and wafers. This will be followed by a PV Tech special – a look inside one of the first new PV module fabs built in the U.S. this year; SEG Solar’s new site in Texas. Join Jim Wood, CEO at SEG Solar, as he walks around the new factory showing key features and explaining the rational for SEG Solar in making this investment into U.S. PV manufacturing in 2024.
8 October 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
PV Tech has been running an annual PV CellTech Conference since 2016. PV CellTech USA, on 8-9 October 2024 is our second PV CellTech conference dedicated to the U.S. manufacturing sector. The event in 2023 was a sell out success and 2024 will once again gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing in the U.S. out to 2030 and beyond.
26 November 2024
Málaga, Spain
Understanding PV module supply to the European market in 2025. PV ModuleTech Europe 2024 is a two-day conference that tackles these challenges directly, with an agenda that addresses all aspects of module supplier selection; product availability, technology offerings, traceability of supply-chain, factory auditing, module testing and reliability, and company bankability.
11 March 2025
Frankfurt, Germany
The conference will gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing out to 2030 and beyond.
17 June 2025
Napa, USA
PV Tech has been running PV ModuleTech Conferences since 2017. PV ModuleTech USA, on 17-18 June 2025, will be our fourth PV ModulelTech conference dedicated to the U.S. utility scale solar sector. The event will gather the key stakeholders from solar developers, solar asset owners and investors, PV manufacturing, policy-making and and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out the PV module supply channels to the U.S. out to 2026 and beyond.

Read Next

July 18, 2024
“We believe this policy will unlock opportunities for renewables as it increases electricity supply avenues."
July 18, 2024
US energy technology company Generac has been awarded a US$200 million grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) to deploy residential solar PV and energy storage systems in Puerto Rico.
July 18, 2024
The financing will be offered to two banks, as they will provide loans to developers and end-users to install rooftop solar systems.
July 18, 2024
On Wednesday (17 July), the Tasmanian government in Australia removed a ‘speed limit’ measure that has prevented state-owned utility Hydro Tasmania from developing large-scale renewable energy projects, such as solar, without a "cumbersome" Parliamentary process.
July 18, 2024
Winning bids as low as INR3.41/kWh have been registered in a tender for solar PV paired with battery storage hosted by the SECI.
July 17, 2024
From January to May this year, 251 new solar projects became operational in the US, with a combined capacity of 10,669MW.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
July 31, 2024
1:00 PM (BST) / 2:00PM (CEST)
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Warsaw, Poland
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Singapore, Asia
Solar Media Events
October 8, 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA