questions about liability insurance and grid tied system

loteklotek Solar Expert Posts: 65 ✭✭✭✭
Ive been looking into having power run to my house. the power company gave me a sheet to fill out for selling my excess power to them. Besides having to have a licenced electical enginer check my system ( XW6048 ) twice a year to insure that the auto cutout on my inverter is working, thay want a $25000 liability insurance policy. in case it fails, and one of their linemen gets hurt because my power is feeding out to what should be a dead line.
Any info by anyone with experience in this area would be helpful. The power company tells me I can just add the policy to my home insurance. but my insurance guy isnt so sure , and says he will check into it.
If it is going to cost me more to sell power to EMC than I can make, well that will be aa bummer.
If its going to be close, I could add another system of the new low cost panels and maybe make out.

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: questions about liability insurance and gridd tied system

    That sounds like State law requires them to accommodate grid-tie, but they don't want to so they've thought up unreasonable requirements to discourage anyone from doing it.
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: questions about liability insurance and gridd tied system

    You shouldn't have to do anything if your homeowners has $25,000 liability. It shouldn't even require a rider. You may need to increase the declared value to cover the PV cost. These days, with the value of homes, I doubt you'd need to do that.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: questions about liability insurance and gridd tied system

    i guess your utility is saying they don't trust inverter certifications and/or, as was said, they don't want people with solar selling to their grid lines. do they make people in general pay extra due to some that may hook up generators wrong that push power into the lines? those linemen have a far better chance of being struck by lightning on the day they hit the lottery big than to have a gt inverter failing on its anti-islanding requirement. of course they could also be plain ignorant on the subject of solar and ignorant people fear the unknown, but they'd never admit it that they are stupid.:cry:
  • tmarchtmarch Solar Expert Posts: 143 ✭✭
    Re: questions about liability insurance and gridd tied system

    My liability insurance is a LOT more on my place and there is no additional charge for the solar system. Personally I'd be afraid to have any property without more liability than that, with the way the lawyers are today.
  • EnduranceEndurance Solar Expert Posts: 40
    Re: questions about liability insurance and gridd tied system

    You're smart to look into homeowner's coverage for both property and liability exposure. Most homeowners' policies have a $2,500 limit on business property. If your array and inverter are worth more than that, you could find yourself subject to the $2,500 limit if your insurance company considered your solar system a "business." Liability coverage is even more restrictive. If a liability arises from a "business," it is excluded and you can be left holding the bag.

    Most insurance policies define "business" broadly. Typical wording in the HO-3 forms that most of us have on our homes define a business to include "[a]ny . . . activity engaged in for money or
    other compensation" unless it is an activity "for which no 'insured' receives more than $2,000 in total compensation for the 12 months before the beginning of the policy period" or is something like a free volunteer activity, swapping day care services with someone, or day care for a relative.

    If you're still paying some power bill or rolling your meter back less than $2,000 a year, chances are you're fine. But if you have a lot of cool clear days and end up getting more than $2,000 in a year from your power company, you could find yourself unwittingly running a business and find yourself without insurance coverage.
  • ggunnggunn Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: questions about liability insurance and gridd tied system

    It sounds like your utility does not understand solar very well. For one thing, anti-islanding isn't just the law; the hard thing would be to design an inverter that didn't shut down when the grid is down. When the grid fails the power lines connected to your utility service look like a dead short looking out from your panel because everyone else on the grid has breakers connected to loads that are live when the grid is up. Your 5kW inverter wouldn't be able to power up the grid even if it wanted to. Even if the power failed only at your house, like if the transformer feeding you failed and you were the only one on it, your inverter wouldn't have a waveform to match voltage and frequency to.

    It's not like anti-islanding is an add-on feature that could fail; it is integral to inverter design.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: questions about liability insurance and gridd tied system
    ggunn wrote: »
    It sounds like your utility does not understand solar very well. For one thing, anti-islanding isn't just the law; the hard thing would be to design an inverter that didn't shut down when the grid is down. When the grid fails the power lines connected to your utility service look like a dead short looking out from your panel because everyone else on the grid has breakers connected to loads that are live when the grid is up. Your 5kW inverter wouldn't be able to power up the grid even if it wanted to. Even if the power failed only at your house, like if the transformer feeding you failed and you were the only one on it, your inverter wouldn't have a waveform to match voltage and frequency to.

    It's not like anti-islanding is an add-on feature that could fail; it is integral to inverter design.

    ggunn,
    good explanation of what i was trying to say only you put it into better words than i did.8)
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 3,124 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: questions about liability insurance and gridd tied system

    When I first saw the original post, had felt that the Utility wanted to be listed on the HO policy as an "additional Insured", or whatever the correct terminology is ... where a third party, like the Utility, wants their name specifically stated on the insurance policy of the party having the GT system. $25K seems like a very small amount for the coverage, tho.

    Am not in the insurance biz, so the above may well be off the mark. Vic
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
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