Solar investment risk mitigation − are we all on the same page?
EXXERGY GmbH, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
* e-mail: email@example.com
Received in final form: 25 April 2019
Accepted: 10 May 2019
Published online: 23 September 2019
Currently, the PV solar sector represents approx. 2% of worldwide annual electricity production (https://webstore.iea.org/world-energy-outlook-2018), and therefore, is just at the verge of becoming visible in most countries. As the PV sector becomes increasingly visible to the next order of magnitude sometime in future, representing 20% in the electricity mix and beyond, it is now a good time to discuss reliability, predictability, and performance of PV power plants and as a consequence, the improvement potential for financial returns. Building on this train of thought, this article will provide a short introduction of PV power plant risks, predominantly related to technical performance. The question of risk mitigation measures will then be discussed: On the one side, quality assurance is a viable risk mitigation measure. However, even with quality assurance measures implemented, there are limitations when it comes to backstopping financial losses in the event that the performance deteriorates more than predicted and warranted by the manufacturers, or if the manufacturers or EPC's are no longer in business when incidental power degrades beyond calculated limits. Insurance solutions seem to provide an additional risk mitigation measure. Most insurance solutions on the market, however, only cover against externally induced risk exposures, e.g. severe weather, theft. Most of these insurance solutions follow a certain minimum standard. A few insurance products offer performance insurances where general cover is less standardized. All this triggers the question of how to look at insurance solutions. The interests of an insurance company are generally different than those of the insured stakeholders. These different viewpoints will be discussed, and selected warranty and insurance aspects will be considered. Recently, approximately 3500 insurance claim cases were statistically analyzed (http://www.pvstatlab.rwth-aachen.de/index.php/PVScan-project.html). Selected results of this analysis will be discussed. The article closes with an outlook of how insurers can likewise mitigate their risk exposure − in the end, insurers are only as good as the balance of the solvency resulting from their business model, or in the terminology of the insurance sector, the loss ratio must be at an acceptable level. This is where IECRE, the IEC System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Renewable Energy Applications (https://www.iecre.org/), offering an international standard for certification − and in future − a rating system for PV power plants on a system level comes into play.
Key words: bankability / claim case report / conformity assessment / IECRE conformity assessment system / insurance claim case / performance warranty insurance / PV power plant rating / rating system / risk management / standardization
© T.C. Sauer, published by EDP Sciences, 2019
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.