Mitigating the impacts of extreme weather on solar farms
Building more resilient solar projects in the age of climate change
Climate change is increasing the spread, frequency, and severity of extreme weather conditions around the world. Solar energy has the power to mitigate climate change and its damaging effects, but solar farms must also be prepared to withstand those same extreme weather events.
How Lightsource bp is building solar farms that can withstand extreme weather
To minimize risk for projects, investors and insurers, Lightsource bp has developed and launched a comprehensive hail mitigation program for its projects in the United States.
Solar trackers, commonly found on solar farms worldwide, slowly tilt photovoltaic (PV) solar panels east-to-west to follow the sun each day as it moves across the sky, significantly increasing a solar panel’s exposure to direct sunlight and therefore, PV power generation. Lightsource bp uses this same functionality to rapidly redeploy the trackers to a higher tilt angle to deflect hail and mitigate damage.
Lightsource bp has paired this tracker technology with real-time weather insights and proactive alerts to ensure solar panels enter full mitigation mode before a hail strike. Working with a third-party weather service provider, we are implementing algorithms that provide hail warnings up to 30 minutes in advance of public National Weather Service alerts, which will ultimately enable us to fully automate the mitigation process end-to-end.
In the spirit of fostering increased industry collaboration to reduce hail damage risk for contractors, asset owners and insurance partners, Head of Innovation & Operational Excellence, Americas Kevin Christy published a detailed technical article regarding Lightsource bp’s hail mitigation innovations.. This article was originally published in the PV-Tech Power journal, Volume 27, May 2021.
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