know about this Rooftop Solar Panel Installation Can Cancel Your Home Insurance [South Florida Sun-Sentinel] – InsuranceNewsNet
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As electricity bills rise and the federal government offers generous tax incentives for investments in renewable energy, more and more
But when calculating system costs versus electric bill savings, many potential solar homeowners don’t consider how a solar system will affect their home insurance bill, or how difficult it can be to find a company to insure them.
And with insurance premiums skyrocketing for everyone
“It’s a big problem and a lot of people don’t realize that a lot of carriers don’t accept solar panels,” he says.
“I was surprised,” Strawbridge said. “I never filed an insurance claim and have lived in this house since 2001.”
The reasons cited in the cancellation letter sent by Edison: Your solar panels are not eligible for coverage due to the age of your roof (11 years) and because you have a tile roof.
Those aren’t the only reasons insurers won’t cover rooftop solar systems, according to interviews with solar installers, solar advocates and insurance agents. Insurers doing business in
Net measurement marked by insurers
Increasingly, insurers are claiming that solar systems with net metering connections to utilities, which are virtually all of them in
Florida Power & Light’s net metering contract requires homeowners to take responsibility for all potential damage, says
Solar installers and advocates say that rationale is unfounded. They say all of the equipment used to connect the rooftop solar systems to the grid meets state building and electrical codes and is inspected by the utility companies before the new systems are activated. Utilities also have the authority to enter solar homeowners’ properties and turn them off if they suspect any safety issues, they say.
Solar advocates wonder if concerns about net metering are just an excuse insurers are giving to justify losing customers.
Many insurers operating in
Since 2006, all power-producing inverters have met an electrical standard called UL 1741, Hoysradt said. This standard requires solar system inverters to be able to detect power outages or any unusual voltage interruptions and automatically disconnect solar systems from the grid.
Hoysradt says he is not aware of any documented cases of injury or damage caused by a properly installed UL 1741-certified inverter.
The shutoff technology is so reliable that utilities recently removed the requirement that solar systems be equipped with separate redundant manual lockable disconnects, he said.
Until about a year ago, Hoysradt rarely heard customers complain that they couldn’t find or maintain insurance because of their solar systems. Now, at least one potential customer a day says their insurer can’t guarantee they won’t be abandoned if they install solar, she said.
Homeowners have been told by other insurers that net metering makes them commercial utilities and no longer eligible for homeowners insurance policies, said Heaven Campbell,
Campbell says her organization has documented about 60 homeowner complaints over the past year. They say they were canceled after installing solar panels or would no longer be eligible for coverage if they install panels, he said.
Insurer cites numerous concerns
They included increased exposure to damage due to wind lift when solar panels are attached to a roof, increased exposure to wind or hail damage to the solar system itself, fire hazards from loose or poorly connected parts or cables, increased risk of electrocution, presence of toxic materials and by-products from the panels themselves, and potential liability associated with backfeeding into the grid.
Without commenting on the validity of the concerns, the
Campbell disputes claims that rooftop solar systems make roofs more susceptible to wind uplift during hurricanes. He said that after Hurricane Michael hit the
Solar United Neighbors’ website contains numerous photos of facilities that withstood the storms that damaged the roofs of surrounding homes. Campbell says that modern building codes actually make solar panel roofs more able to withstand winds.
Suarez-Resnick agrees: “With stronger winds like a Category 3 hurricane, you’re likely to take a lot more damage if the panels fly off and land on your neighbor’s roof or car.”
Companies that insure rooftop solar systems can set strict conditions for that coverage, the documents show.
Edison, the company that canceled Strawbridge’s policy, will only cover homes with solar systems that were installed after 2016, on tile or metal roofs that are no more than 10 years old, on flat roofs that are no more than five years old, and that do not produce more than 10 kilowatts of electricity. , which is more or less the typical capacity of the roof system.
As Strawbridge discovered, Edison will not insure solar systems mounted on clay or tile roofs.
Solar panels are routinely installed without drilling into the tiles, Hoysradt said. Many installers remove the clay tiles at the point where the solar posts attach to the roof and replace them with aluminum tiles that won’t chip or crack when drilled.
Hoysradt noted that state licensing requirements for solar installers require roofing, electrical and plumbing skills.
“We’re not just a bunch of people taking down roofs with no experience,” he said. “There’s no reason insurance companies shouldn’t cover solar on a tile roof.”
However, rooftop solar consumers can expect to find a hodgepodge of insurance rules unless and until the state legislature decides to enact common coverage standards.
Common standards to secure solar energy?
the national trade organization
The good news for Strawbridge and other solar homeowners is that there are insurers that do not prohibit coverage of solar homes or impose a long list of restrictions on coverage. They include state-owned
Citizens covers solar systems as part of the structure. No special endorsements or add-ons required, spokesperson
One mistake a homeowner should never make: installing a solar system without checking insurance options, Suarez-Resnick said. An agent can tell you if your roof is nearing the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced first. It’s a hassle to find new insurance, and it’s expensive to remove and replace solar panels because Citizens or another insurer requires you to get a new roof.
Or you can search for a solar installer, such as
“Right now is the best time to go solar,” he said.
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