Helping the Solar Technology Hold its Own Against the Costly Hail Storm Risk

FTC Solar, Inc., a leading provider of innovative solar energy solutions, has officially announced the launch of its Automated Hail Stow Solution, which is designed to minimize solar panel damage caused by hail storms. According to certain reports, the stated solution works by integrating advanced technology with meteorological data to automatically adjust the positioning of solar panels, and therefore, reduce the risk of hail-related damage. Before we get any further into this development, though, we must take into account how hail storms pose a significant threat to solar panel installations, with insurance claims in the US averaging about $58.4 million per incident. In response to that, FTC Solar has now collaborated with VDE Americas, a renowned third-party industry expert, to actively study hail events and their impact on solar panel installations. Together, the companies would develop an automated hail stow solution which is going to leverage its expertise in solar tracker technology and strategic partnerships with industry experts. This involves a creating a specific hail stow strategy which positions solar modules at the maximum angle allowed by the tracker, away from prevailing winds, to minimize direct hail and associated wind impacts. Talk about the whole value proposition on a slightly deeper level, we begin from its integration with FTC’s proprietary operations management platform called SUNOPS. This integration should tread a long distance in the context of enhancing control and monitoring of PV plants.  Next up, we must get into how the solution focuses on utilization of meteorological data, something which it combines with the new hail stow strategy to ensure automated and timely mitigation against hail events. Another detail worth a mention here is rooted in a multi-radar approach where users can access real-time and highly accurate meteorological data updates.

“We’re excited to introduce our Automated Hail Stow Solution, offering a proactive approach to mitigating hail-related damage to solar panel installations,” said Andrew Morse, Senior Director of Software at FTC Solar. “By combining advanced technology with meteorological insights, we aim to provide our customers with greater peace of mind and protection for their solar assets.”

Hold on, we still have a few bits left to unpack, considering we still haven’t acknowledged the promise of flexibility. This flexibility, on its part, can help users in choosing between auto-stow or manual stow options. Moving on, we also haven’t discussed those customizable stow thresholds that come based on risk appetite and site location, including factors such as hail size, probability, and radius. Among other others, we have a notification feature available to warn users of impending hail events. Rounding up highlights is the solution’s compatibility with leading meteorological data providers. Such a mechanism makes it possible for you to achieve seamless integration and data security through encryption.

Founded in 2017, FTC Solar’s excellence can be understood once you consider it has already delivered over 4.5 GW of trackers across more than 100 utility-scale projects. On top of that, it has also been successful in achieving an estimated 41% reduction in installation time.

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