Solar: How do you put a premium on it?

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Homeowners often ask if installing a solar electric system will increase their property insurance premiums. As these systems do increase the insured value of a property, ensure that the coverage limits of a policy are sufficient to cover this additional investment.

Depending on current coverage limits, premiums may go up slightly or stay the same. Consult with an insurance broker for the most solar-friendly insurance companies.  If your broker can not offer a reasonable insurance product, make inquiries with a broker who does.

A well-designed solar system, with quality equipment and a capable installer, will be available with exceptional warranties and production guarantees of 25 years. These will cover manufacturing and material defects, installation of racking, panels, inverters, conduit and wiring, switches and leak-proof connections to the roof.

These warranties and guarantees will not provide coverage due to weather events like wind, rain, snow, ice, sandstorms or the like. Nor will it cover impact by a foreign object, like a golf ball, or insects, rodents or birds, burrowing, chewing, clawing or nesting causing damage.

Talk to your broker about whether you will need to consider certain riders for insurance outside of the typical coverage. For example, damage due to earthquakes, flooding and hurricanes may not be covered without opting for additional riders.

Whether it be the solar provider or insurance company, both will require that the solar owner perform the required maintenance to keep the system in good condition. This will include ensuring the panels free of dust, dirt, sand, grime or sap, removing leaves, grass, twigs, mold, nests, and poop beneath racking, around conduit, wiring, inverters, switches and meters.

Monthly inspection, a garden hose and clean water will generally allow the owner to address these concerns. Solar maintenance companies are also available to provide these services on a contract or as-needed basis.

But at the end of the day remember that a solar electric system is an important and valuable investment, giving you years of dependable and clean power. Protect it wisely!

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