Hail Risk Advisory Products
Hail Risk Advisory Products
VDE Events
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Mr. John Sedgwick
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VDE Americas is the world's leading expert on solar project hail risk identification, quantification, and mitigation.

We developed our award-winning hail risk assessment capabilities together with Central Michigan University's Dr. John Allen, a leading expert in severe convective storm meteorology. Beneficiaries of these innovative hail risk advisory services include project developers, owners, tax equity investors, lenders, insurers, asset operators, tracker manufacturers, and module companies.

VDE Americas' hail risk advisory services inform insurance prices, terms, and conditions; best practices related to site selection, equipment specification, plant construction, and asset operation; and forensic investigations in the wake of catastrophic loss events.

Hail return interval and financial loss maps (ArcGIS Online)

To support early-stage development activities—such as site selection, product specification, and insurance cost estimates—VDE Americas offers a suite of ArcGIS maps, via a software subscription model, that help quantify hail risk in both meteorological and economic terms across the continental United States. Our ArcGIS marketplace data includes return interval maps that characterize hail event frequency, measured in in years, for naturally occurring hail ranging in diameter from 25 mm to 95 mm. Additionally, we offer technology-specific financial loss maps that characterize probable maximum loss (PML), average annual loss (AAL), and extreme downside loss estimates across tracker tilt angles ranging from 0° to 75°, both facing into and out of the prevailing wind direction.

RI Map

Sample hail return interval mapping data in ArcGIS Online.


Probable maximum loss reports

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. VDE Americas’ probable maximum loss (PML) and average annual loss (AAL) reports address this gap by providing insurance loss estimates based on project location and technical system design details. Our PML reports characterize the return interval of naturally occurring hail at the local scale of a solar asset. Informed by these site-specific meteorological data, we estimate probabilistic financial loss based on comparative project-specific resiliency characteristics, defensive stow capabilities, and emergency response protocols. Insurers, reinsurers, and insurance consultants can use our science- and engineering-based PML and AAL results to set appropriate convective storm premiums and sublimits. Moreover, solar project insurance customers can use our location- and technology-specific AAL estimates to right-size severe convective storm deductibles.

PML Process

Poisson risk exposure reports

While insurers often base coverage terms on a 500-year event, real world investment and lending periods are measured not in centuries but in decades. VDE Americas’ Poisson risk exposure (PRE) reports address this gap by providing cumulative financial loss estimates over customer-specified hold periods, such as 10 years for tax-equity investors or 40 years for long-term owners. Named after a French mathematician, a Poisson distribution is a discrete probability distribution used in probability theory and statistics to show how many times an event is likely to occur over a specific period. Our PRE analyses employ more than 10,000 Monte Carlo iterations to characterize discrete event probability over specific financial hold periods. Informed by probabilistic distribution results and naturally occurring hail return interval data, we estimate cumulative financial loss based on the number of events associated with specific hail size ranges, project-specific resiliency characteristics, defensive stow capabilities, and emergency response protocols. Project developers and owners can use these PRE report results to inform insurance coverages and project pro forma. Tax equity investors can use PRE report data to mitigate investment risk. Parametric insurance providers can use our PRE reports to set thresholds for hail-size index coefficients and right-size risk limits.

Pre Flow Graphic
Midway GIF Still

Hail event forensic investigations

Following a severe storm event, project stakeholders may require or benefit from specialized advisory services investigating the root causes of and contributing factors to large project losses due to hail. As a third-party organization with in-depth hail meteorology and solar technology subject matter expertise, VDE Americas is uniquely qualified to opine on these matters. A cornerstone of these investigations is our proprietary “Run Radar” model, which uses latitude-longitude coordinates and a timestamp to map hail swath location and intensity. The output of this meteorological modeling tool is a GIF animation—like the one shown here—that maps event-specific hailstone size estimates derived from NEXGEN radar reflectivity data relative to solar project site (black dot). 

Other hail risk advisory services

We understand that all customers are not created alike and can customize our scope of work to meet customer needs. The following is a partial list of hail risk advisory services VDE Americas can provide either as an addendum to one of our standard reports or as a stand-alone product.

  • Remote operations center audits
  • Business interruption estimates
  • Coincident hail-plus-wind risk assessments
  • Comparative risk assessments
Comparative Risk

VDE Americas' advisory services

Hail Risk Modeling

VDE Americas' provides solar project hail risk assessments based on site-specific meteorological data and product-specific technical details. Our science- and engineering-based hail risk reports provide solar project stakeholders with financial loss and risk exposure estimates based on project-specific lat-long coordinates and fielded PV module and tracker technologies.

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Neighborhood Hail

Independent Engineering

VDE Americas specializes in providing transaction-level due diligence related to utility-scale solar photovoltaics (PV), battery energy storage systems (BESS), and hybrid solar-plus-storage applications. We also offer portfolio-level due diligence to support the deployment of commercial and industrial (C&I) distributed generation (DG) and community solar projects.

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Engineer who works in the solar power plant and who checks something with his tablet

Owner's Engineering

VDE Americas work with investors and lenders to ensure the long-term success of a clean energy venture by reviewing and validating technical feasibility, regulatory compliance, and project execution. We do so by acting a concierge-style extension of our client's deal teams to provide on-demand critical engineering analysis, oversight, and support.

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Ingenieur mit Schutzhelm, der mit Blaupausen auf einem Solarkraftwerk steht

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