The Green Energy Revolution Part One: Solar Energy Site “Pitfalls”
by Steve Miller, Technical Consultant
June 7, 2022
With solar and wind projects accelerating in the U.S. and around the world, claims for green energy sites and equipment are increasing too.
From the insured’s perspective, there is often enormous pressure on stakeholders to finish these solar and wind projects on-time, and on-budget. As a result, corners can sometimes get cut, and an often-overlooked part of these sites is soil stabilization.
As a consultant for Loss Solutions Group, I have seen a recent increase in claims for roads and equipment at solar energy sites due to erosion. In some cases, we found that proper soil stabilization was not considered by the insured or their contractors at the time of construction, putting the entire site and its equipment at risk for a total loss of potentially millions of dollars.
Some examples of solar energy sites we found with inadequate storm water prevention are seen here:
In this example we see a large, deep rut in the soil, cut from recent erosion. The site pictured was approximately one (1) year old at the time of inspection, and we found dozens of similar examples on the site when we inspected the road. In this case, erosion was putting several rows of “tracking” solar modules at risk.
In this example, we see that erosion has exposed wiring for inverters, and is threatening the stability of a solar module support.
Here, in “greener” pastures, despite the presence of grass, severe erosion and rutting was found on a site with inadequate drainage. Ruts up to five (5) feet deep were documented at this site. While interviewing the operations team during our assessment, we found the erosion had been an “ongoing issue” for the proprietor.
Loss Solutions Group can perform inspections to determine the cause of loss associated with potential erosion issues affecting solar equipment sites and service roads. When applicable, we engage our in-house civil engineers to review the site’s stormwater prevention plan (SWPPP).
Steve Miller has spent over 20 years in site management in his career in the industry.
Please stay tuned for The Green Energy Revolution Part Two!
Please contact Steve Miller, Technical Consultant, with questions or to discuss claims involving erosion or any other damage to solar equipment sites at 866.899.8756 ext. 733 or email@example.com.