REIB secures EUR 3 million in damages for solar power plant owner in four months

Overview: Extreme weather events like flooding, high winds, hail, wildfires, and lightning can damage photovoltaic installations. They often result in long-term performance and financial losses. Considering the proliferation of extreme weather events in the past few years, cases like these are only likely to become more common – and renewable energy producers should be ready to address that risk. Or find the partners who can do it for them. A leading independent power producer (IPP) in Bulgaria trusted REIB as their broker of choice and that trust was repaid in claim settlement caused by a powerful hail cyclone in the summer of 2023.

The Problem: The IPP incurred losses exceeding EUR 3 million due to damages inflicted by a hailstorm on its 209 MWp photovoltaic power plant. The solar park is divided into three parts, but the hail visibly damaged only one of them. The team of REIB suggested there may be hidden damage known as “microcracks” on some of the modules. These are tiny cracks on the glass of the module that are not visible to the naked eye. The problem with this type of damage is that, if it is not detected in time, it can cause damage to the module and lead to serious financial losses in the future after the expiration of the insurance period. A technical hail damage survey is of crucial importance in cases like this one as it assesses the level of damage invisible to the naked eye. There was one further complication, though. The cyclone had wreaked havoc across Europe, so most companies dealing with hail damage surveys on solar plants were already busy.

The Solution: Thanks to the REIB’s international connections, a US company was found to carry out the survey. The company used a special technique—a portable EL camera—to find cracks and dark cells in the modules. This technique is extremely important for detailed inspecting the installed modules and establishing their strength and efficiency. But inspecting this type of damage has to be done only at night, and it could take a very long time. REIB managed to negotiate the fastest implementation process possible. Two teams, each equipped with the special equipment, took turns working through the night without interruption. Just two months later, over 40,000 modules had been inspected, and the true extent of the damage could be established. Additionally, REIB negotiated an advanced payment of EUR 1 million to the IPP just a month after the claim was submitted. This ensured significant cash flow when the losses were huge, and the company could not afford to halt operations. 

The Results: Four months after the event, the damage claims amounting to over Euro 3 million were officially closed and 100% paid to the client. REIB’s professional intervention, advice, and contacts significantly reduced costs for both parties and the time to payment.