Planning, Procuring and Managing Solar PV Systems for Long-term Performance: Preventing and Recovering from Damage to Solar PV Systems  

Education Type: 
1 Hour
0.2 CEU
Sponsored by: 

DOE Federal Energy Management Program - FEMP

While a robustly designed, installed, and maintained solar photovoltaic (PV) system should survive and perform throughout its 25+ year lifetime, systems have been damaged, leading to downtime, high repair costs, and potential safety issues. It is important for agencies to be able to prevent, limit, and recover from potential damage to the systems.

This webinar will address PV system vulnerabilities that may lead to severe damage (e.g., hail, wind, fire, heavy snow) beyond routine O&M plans and budgets and will focus on best practices in design, installation, and maintenance for avoiding damage and equipment failures, from the electrical system to the racking to the modules and the fasteners that tie these components together. While the vulnerabilities and preventative measures largely apply to all PV systems, there will also be a focus on how to plan for and recover from severe weather events that often expose these vulnerabilities and bad practices. Mechanisms for financing recovery and repair will also be addressed.

This training is part of a sequential series. The recommended order of completion is:


Gerald Robinson, Program Manager, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory  

As a program manager and principal investigator at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Energy Technology Area (LBNL-ETA), Gerald largely works to address procurement barriers related to the adaption of resilient energy technologies. Related to this effort, Gerald is part of a team of researchers investigating solar photovoltaic (PV) hardware resiliency and severe weather topics. Gerald supports the U.S. Department of Energy's Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) resilient energy programs that provide procurement and technical assistance to federal agencies. As part of his role in supporting FEMP, Gerald leads teams developing resilient energy programs and procurements designed to simultaneously reduce utility costs to the taxpayer while increasing the reliability of power supplies feeding federal facilities. Gerald also works on a FEMP team working to develop solar PV operations best practices for federal agencies and produced a solar PV operations and maintenance solicitation template and a guide to spotting and repairing existing vulnerabilities. Gerald has been working in commercial and institutional energy management since 1992.

James Elsworth, Research Engineer, NREL  

James Elseworth is a research engineer in the Integrated Applications Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). His work focuses on engineering and economic analysis of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Recently, he has focused on resilience of power systems, especially with regards to severe weather survivability. He has a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Colorado-Boulder and a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Brown University.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this training, attendees will be able to:

  • Assess guidance for agencies on how they can increase the survivability of their PV systems from weather events and storms;
  • Identify how agencies recover their PV systems from sources of damage (e.g. storms, electrical failure, module failure);
  • Explore how on how current codes and standards are not sufficiently addressing severe weather impacts on PV systems;
  • Discuss types of damage and implications for cost, safety and recovery process;
  • Explore the recovery process — where to start, warranties, consulting engineers and other resources; and Identify procurement tools; appropriations, integrating into O&M contracts, any warranty contributions and financed approaches.
Federal Agencies and Facility Criteria: