Hail Risk Modeling
Hail Risk Modeling
VDE Events
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Mr. John Sedgwick
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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. Solar project stakeholders can use these data to guide equipment specification, insurance terms, and risk exposure beyond insurance coverage.

VDE Americas works with key stakeholders throughout the solar project value chain to identify, quantify, and mitigate hail risk in solar assets and portfolios. 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 to allow for meaningful statistical evaluations of site-specific perils based only on actuarial data.

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. Working together with Central Michigan University's Dr. John Allen, a world-renowned expert in severe convective storms, VDE Americas’ risk assessment methodology combines the strengths of local ground- and radar-based hail observations and characterizes solar project hail risk based on small grid areas (circa 16 km2).

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. VDE Americas' hail risk advisory products include risk exposure reports for insurers and developers, business interruption estimates, and remote operations center audits.

Customers for VDE Americas’ award-winning hail risk advisory services include project developers, owners, lenders, insurers, operators, and original equipment manufacturers. Many customers use our probabilistic hail risk assessments to optimize insurance coverage. Project stakeholders can also use our hail risk engineering reports to inform best practices related to site selection, equipment specification, and asset operation. VDE Americas also conducts forensic analyses in case of loss events.

Demonstrating the importance of this work, a VDE Americas-led team won $50,000 to support ongoing hail risk assessment product development activities in Round 6 of the U.S. Department of Energy's American-Made Solar Prize.

Solar hail risk assessment services

Product Table

Solar project hail risk mitigation

Hail Risk Advisory Products

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.

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Texas Hailstorm

Understanding Hail Risk

Hail forms when convective storm updrafts carry water droplets into extremely cold areas of the atmosphere, where they freeze and grow via accretion. According to NOAA, severe hail has a diameter greater than 19 millimeters (0.75 inches).

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Hail Terminology and Acronyms

Project stakeholders can limit catastrophic loss events with better technical literacy, due diligence, and risk mitigation practices. The following is a partial list of key terminology (with acronyms, where applicable) related to VDE Americas’ hail risk advisory products and services.

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Freezer Iceball

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