Invisible Storm Damage Looms

The 2DegreesKelvin team have been flat out in these previous months, conducting storm damage assessments on multiple sites around the UK. Following multiple storms which have caused horrendous damage and destruction in their path, multiple insurance claims have been raised to compensate these loss events.

Some of the damage we have found on our arrival is like some sort of movie scene. Twisted piles of steel, glass and cables and of course module damage.

The O&M is the typical first responder, and its up to them to make the area affected safe and conduct the initial damage assessment. Then it turns to the salvage & repair operation. Hand picking their way through the debris and mangled steel work. On many assets its clear that total loss and replacement is required. Whereas on lesser effected assets, multiple hundred modules are the only real damaged component.

Usually the O&M have carefully and professionally stacked modules onto pallets in close proximity to an access track, where we can park our mobile lab and efficiently work through the modules, with the ultimate objective to sort which ones to keep and which ones to dispose of. As modules present themselves to the test machine, an initial visual inspection is carried out looking for DC cable and connector damage, backsheet scratches, smashed glass etc. If in a testable condition, modules will undergo a connection, continuity and diode check, followed by an electroluminescence and flash test.

We apply the MBJ Judgement Criteria 3.4 on a cell by cell basis and agree with the asset owner/operator the outcomes of each class module. Typically, Class A’s & B’s are ‘keepers’ and Class C’s & D’s are ‘scrappers’. Its important that modules which could lead to hot spots and electrical malfunctions, arching and/or fires are not put back on the array for all parties involved.

This example is a beauty from a recent survey. The amazing thing is, that the visual inspection was clear, there was no visible damage to the glass front or cells of the module. But under EL, this is what we found. Surprisingly as this was new damage the flash curve only showed an 18% reduction in output, which with the damage you’d expect more. However, this will drop off over time as cracks mature and grid fingers break.

Imagine how much invisible damage there is out there on the 1,400 assets in the UK, a scary thought!