New Incident Response Service Assesses Solar After Natural Disasters

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Two providers of field testing for solar power plants, Heliolytics and PV Evolution Labs (PVEL), have launched a new incident response service.

The joint offering is designed to help solar asset owners and managers, operations and maintenance providers, investors, and insurers prepare for and respond to natural disasters: e.g., hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, fires and other force majeure events.

“Natural disasters are on the rise as our climate changes – and so are claims for adversely affected solar projects,” says George Schulz, vice president of clean energy at Argo Group US, a provider of insurance products for solar power plants. “To empirically assess the real impact of storms on operating assets and process claims, insurance providers need new tools like incident response.”

The new service offers the following support:

  • Quantifying underperformance and mechanical damage caused by an event with aerial testing from Heliolytics and on-the-ground testing from PVEL  – both for a pre-event baseline and after the incident occurs;
  • Revealing and measuring underlying faults that are not directly observable by eye with advanced thermography and electroluminescence (EL); and
  • Providing asset owners and investors with data and hands-on engineering support to successfully transact on insurance claims and fully address system underperformance.

“Together with PVEL, we have observed widespread microcracking from hail and wind even when less than five percent of modules have broken glass. Our advanced aerial visual and thermal imaging provides 100 percent site coverage and efficiently identifies regions for targeted on-the-ground EL testing,” comments Rob Andrews, CEO of Heliolytics.

“By working with Heliolytics, we can focus our EL imaging on the impacted areas of power plants to identify individual modules with invisible damage,” adds Jenya Meydbray, CEO of PVEL. “While months or even a few years may pass before cell cracks become hot spots and reduce system performance, it is only a matter of time before this happens.”

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