Insurance to augment maintenance of solar panels

Firms partnering to sell insurance alongside maintenance services for solar power generation facilities

Insurance to augment maintenance of solar panels

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group and Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance, both part of the MS&AD Insurance Group, will cooperate with Omron, NTT Facilities, and Smart Energy to jointly offer insurance and maintenance services for solar panels.

The insurers will provide insurance that covers damage for solar power generation facilities, while the other firms will monitor the infrastructure and conduct repair work when necessary.

The MS&AD group currently insures around 20,000 solar facilities, reports Nikkei. This is almost half of Japan’s total insured solar facilities, with sales worth US$44.1 million. However, the uninsured rate is still more than 50%, meaning that there is still significant room for growth.

Five years ago, Japan instituted a feed-in-tariff system, which encourages renewable energy production by purchasing the generated energy at a fixed price. Initially, solar energy was touted to be a maintenance-free generation method, but some facilities have lost up to 10% of their output by failing to maintain their solar panels.

In April, the law governing renewable energy was amended, making maintenance of facilities mandatory. Those who fail to comply may lose their privilege to sell energy to the grid. According to market research firm Fuji Keizai, the solar energy maintenance industry is expected to grow rapidly every year, reaching ¥100 billion by 2030.

Construction of new solar power facilities has slowed down as the buying price of solar energy has declined by almost half in the last five years. With less new plants, firms are more likely to invest in maintaining their existing facilities. This allows insurers like MS&AD an opportunity to market insurance alongside rising demand for maintenance services to better protect solar panel owners.

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