Extreme Conditions & Events presentation by Jon Previtali, VDE Americas:
Hail, No! Identify, Quantify, and Mitigate Severe Hail Risk in Solar Assets
Though hail risk assessment is central to solar project finance and insurance terms, it is difficult for insurers, sponsors, and developers to account for hail risk at the local level of a solar asset. The limited historical loss data for PV projects is insufficient—based on the length of time in the field and geographic distribution—to allow for meaningful statistical evaluations of site-specific perils. Given that solar projects are a relatively new asset class and market segment, the insurance industry does not have a good way to assess the hail vulnerability of PV power plants. Moreover, traditional hail return interval maps characterize hail risk across relatively large grid areas (circa 10,000 km2). Because severe hail is a hyper-local phenomenon, as compared to traditional natural catastrophes such as hurricanes, existing hazard mapping products lack the granularity to characterize hail swath damage potential at the local scale of a solar farm. Innovative engineering approaches can better assess solar project hail risk based on small grid areas (circa 20 km2) by using data blending techniques that combine the strengths of local ground- and radar-based hail observations. Informed by these site-specific hail return interval data, project stakeholders can assess financial exposure based on product-specific hail resiliency characteristics and defensive stow capabilities that account for the size of the hail-exposed area and the effect of stowing trackers at different maximum tilt angles.
—Wednesday, November 15, 2023 | 4:00 PM–5:00 PM CT