- GCube Insurance report focuses on challenges for solar projects with climate change-induced hailstorms
- Hail claims average around $58.4 million/claim, according to its study between 2018 and 2023
- Large panels with thinner, fragile glass at locations susceptible to hail risk, more vulnerable
- This is creating a gap between the insurance requirements for solar projects and what is available in the market
A renewable energy technology generating its electricity with a natural source, solar PV is not immune to the growing threat of climate change, as GCube Insurance sees climate change-induced hailstorms posing a serious threat to the viability of these projects. An insurance services provider for renewable energy projects, GCube says hail claims now average around $58.4 million/claim.
Based on its study between 2018 and 2023 GCube found hail claims, though making up only 1.40% of total claims, account for 54.21% of incurred costs.
In its recent report titled Hail No! Defending Solar from nature’s cold assault, GCube points out that this is creating a gap between the insurance requirements for solar projects and what is available in the market, leading to project delays and cancellations.
What makes solar power projects vulnerable to hailstorms are factors like inadequate hail risk models, ineffective mitigation strategies and costly insurance coverage. An uncertain funding landscape also contributes, according to GCube.
Additionally, solar panels are now being made larger with thinner and fragile glass as manufacturers pursue the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE). These are also installed at locations susceptible to hail risk thus compromising their financial health.
“The solar sector plays a crucial role in the global energy transition,” explained GCube CEO Fraser McLachlan. “However, the consequences of hail damage risk undermining the security of solar power as a prominent clean energy solution. We therefore have an overriding imperative to develop solutions to this challenge and restore our ability as insurers to provide the sector with long term risk underwriting.”
GCube puts forth 2 patented technologies by its partner Solar Defender Technologies that it claims can protect solar modules against hail of up to 250 joules. One of these is a low-cost, CapEx-neutral catchment net called Hail Strike Defender that protects single-axis tracked solar installations.
The 2nd solution is Solar Shield, designed for single-axis tracked solar installations on rooftops and panel face protector to deflect the impact of hailstones.
McLachlan added, “We can’t move quickly enough as the ability of insurers to cover solar’s global growth becomes increasingly constrained. Therefore, the unity of manufacturers, developers, operators, and insurers will be a vital part of softening the widening gap in insurance coverage.”
The complete report can be accessed on GCube’s website.