Solar module testing ‘inadequate to account for rising severity of extreme weather’, report claims

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Reddit
Email
The US renewables market has just experienced its worst summer on record for natural catastrophe claims, according to GCube. Image: Tobias Hämmer/Pixabay.

Current testing for solar modules is inadequate to account for the rising severity of extreme weather events in North America, according to a report from renewable energy project underwriter GCube Insurance.

The research claims that the frequent incidence of solar losses across a range of extreme weather events suggests that developments of PV technology “are behind the curve” when it comes to improving weather resistance.

Solar technologies are subject to impact tests for hail resilience whose minimum requirements are easy to pass, GCube said.

The firm added that the International Electrotechnical Commission’s hail tests use projectiles of 25mm, which are half the size of the average hailstone experienced in the ‘very severe’ hailstorms frequently seen across North America.

“Meanwhile, there remains no requirement to test for microcracking, a key issue which causes considerable issues for insurers,” the report reads.

Titled North American Nat Cat Update, the research reveals the US renewables market has just experienced its worst summer on record for natural catastrophe claims, with hail experienced in Texas in early summer resulting in solar losses estimated in excess of US$300 million.

While total claims values are still being calculated, multiple instances of losses exceeding sub-limits of up to US$50 million – due to extreme weather events like hail, tornados and derechos – “make clear the need for improved modelling and the more effective use of existing weather data”, GCube said.

The rising severity of losses and the industry’s continued difficulty in managing risks “is a concerning trend”, said Fraser McLachlan, CEO at GCube.

“The unprecedented growth potential unlocked by the Inflation Reduction Act will count for little if the North American renewables sector is unable to combat extreme weather risks.”

McLachlan called for a concerted effort across the value chain to strengthen policies, improve data utilisation, and update modelling and testing procedures.

Research published earlier this year from GCube found that supply chain woes, spiralling energy prices and the COVID-19 pandemic reversed a downward trend in average business interruption claims for renewables developers, with the solar sector nearly doubling its average downtime days.

29 November 2022
PV ModuleTech EMEA in Malaga on 29-30 November 2022 will address the factors underpinning the changing PV module landscape, gathering together all the key stakeholders across the value-chain from module production to field testing. Join us for presentations from the leading players in the sector, clearly identifying the opportunities and challenges set to impact module supply to Europe and the Middle-East over the next few years.
6 June 2023
Join us in Napa to unlock the key to reliable PV module supply to the U.S. market in 2023 & 2024. We'll also be gathering the main players in the US solar market for some wine tasting!

Read Next

November 24, 2022
Canadian investor Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board has signed an agreement to invest US$805 million in a convertible equity portfolio financing with NextEra Energy Partners to help it acquire a 2GW portfolio of solar, storage and wind assets across the US.
November 24, 2022
The North American subsidiary of utility Enel has launched a clean energy retail initiative in selected US states, beginning with Texas, to allow its commercial and industrial (C&I) customers to purchase renewable energy directly without entering into a power purchase agreement (PPA).
November 24, 2022
The California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) most recent net energy metering (NEM) proposal is too extreme and will discourage homeowners from adopting residential solar, according to Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of clean energy business group the California Solar and Storage Association (CALSSA).
November 21, 2022
The Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO), a subsidiary of utility American Electric Power (AEP), has petitioned the state corporate commission for approval to purchase a 995.5MW solar PV and wind portfolio.
November 21, 2022
Jordanian solar manufacturer Philadelphia Solar has entered into a joint venture (JV) with US-based Translucent Energy to establish a manufacturing facility in the US. The factory is expected to produce 1.2GW of capacity, with production scheduled to begin by 2024.
November 18, 2022
US solar manufacturer First Solar will supply Intersect Power with an additional 4.9GWdc of its thin-film PV modules. The transaction means that Intersect Power has ordered 7.3GWdc of First Solar technology this year.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
November 29, 2022
Malaga, Spain
Solar Media Events
February 22, 2023
Leonardo Royal Hotel London Tower Bridge
Solar Media Events
March 14, 2023
Berlin, Germany
Solar Media Events
March 21, 2023
Lisbon, Portugal
Solar Media Events
June 6, 2023
Napa, USA