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DNV GL supports IRENA with study on impact of extreme weather on renewable power generation technologies

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Paul Raats Paul Raats
Senior Consultant Solar & Storage
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Wind turbines with bad weather
Study on extreme weather conditions for onshore wind and solar farms to provide policymakers and investors insight into the risks and mitigation measures.
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The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has commissioned DNV GL to execute a study on extreme weather conditions and their impact on solar and onshore wind farms. The report will feed into IRENA’s work on promoting the global adoption of renewable energy. With the compelling business case for renewables today, this study will help inform policy-makers and other energy stakeholders about risks to renewable energy assets in regions with extreme weather conditions and the mitigation strategies and policy needs to ensure solar PV and wind technologies deliver the expected return on investments. 

The last decades have seen increased losses from extreme weather events, with major implications for investors and wind and/or solar asset owners. Such events can affect the technical performance, yield and lifetime of solar and wind technologies. With low margins in a competitive market, high failure rates or other degradation in performance could mean that profits are significantly reduced or even result in a negative return on equity. The report will also highlight the important role of policy makers in ensuring standards and certification systems are appropriate for the local conditions and identify current gaps.

“The last couple of years, in our role as Independent Advisor and Owner’s Engineer of large scale PV projects, we see more often the effects of extreme weather conditions like strong winds, soiling and hail”, says Paul Raats, senior consultant Solar & Storage at DNV GL and also architect of the study. “A further increase of these is probable also due to the trend of growing capacities of renewables being installed in regions with extreme weather climates like the Middle East (sand storms) and Far East (flooding). Solar panels being blown away quickly cause damage worth hundreds of thousands of euros, and beyond. This significantly affects the systems’ financial returns.” 

Accelerating global investments in PV and wind
By providing its Members with quality assurance and quality infrastructure(QI) information on renewable energy technologies, IRENA aims to accelerate global investments in PV and wind. This report aims to strengthen the development of resilient technologies and strategies for extreme weather conditions. 

In 2017 DNV GL already contributed to an IRENA handbook that outlined the best practices for countries to develop and implement quality infrastructure for solar PV. The data and analysis in the handbook provides guidance for establishing proper QI mechanisms. 

The research for the study will be done by interviews and desk research and is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2018. It will subsequently be published on the website of IRENA