Partner Content

When Disaster Strikes, Utility Solar Asset Owners Turn to Recovery Experts

Minimize losses with DEPCOM Power’s unique blend of restoration expertise and EPC/O&M strengths

By Jessica Super, VP—Business Development, DEPCOM Power

Photo credits: Wildfire Today

From storm surges to tornadoes and wildfires, natural disasters can wreak havoc on solar power infrastructure — taking out inverters, knocking entire plants offline, and sending owners into a spiral of downtime, repair costs, and lost revenue. 

With solar losses due to natural catastrophes reaching alarming proportions — 25 times higher than non-weather-related solar losses in 2019* — owners need expert help to get crucial assets back online. 

Merging restoration with EPC/O&M strengths to bring PV back fast 

While many O&M providers say they do recovery and restoration work, few have hard-won experience to back them up. DEPCOM Power offers an end-to-end solution to mitigate production losses and get plants back to peak performance. 

With expertise in damage assessment, salvage, insurance claim management, and rapid restoration, DEPCOM is unique in the industry. After designing, building, and operating 1.5 GWs of U.S. solar plants and restoring hundreds of megawatts, DEPCOM’s combined EPC/O&M and recovery expertise helps limit the revenue impact of natural disasters. Through a refined process and fast mobilization, our strategies help owners and operators minimize losses through a process that:

  • Balances production with restoration
  • Mitigates component risks 
  • Manages insurance claims
  • Blends original and new solar technologies
  • Optimizes plant performance post-recovery

Don’t let a natural disaster impact revenue. Download our case study to see how we recover faster.

Lessons from the field: Recovering from extreme wind damage

Photo credits: PV Magazine

After a rogue storm tore through a PV power plant with gusts up to 80 miles per hour, damaging 15 percent of the site’s trackers, it was discovered that more than one-quarter of the trackers weren’t operational before the winds hit, making it impossible to maneuver them into a protective stow position. As a result, 233 of the 1,600 trackers were damaged and had to be restored.

Initially, the plant owner relied on O&M personnel to assess the damage and submit insurance claims. Four months later, restoration work had yet to begin. Within four weeks of contracting with DEPCOM Power, they had a plan in place to deconstruct the damaged areas, conduct testing to determine what could be salvaged, and source replacement components.  The flexible restoration plan minimized revenue losses and maximized production output.

Ultimately, the original, older technology was successfully married with the new, modern equipment required to repower the site — all without a significant (and costly) redesign. Even more importantly, while the asset owner anticipated replacing many  damaged components for roughly $1.75 million, they were instead able to salvage the modules. The plan saved $1.3 million and recovered 70 percent more modules than the original budget forecasted.

Other savings came from reduced business interruption claims, a more efficient timeline, and a staggered approach to the execution. Substantial savings included:

  • Interruption savings: $381,000 in business interruption damages
  • Restoration time: 126 days faster than alternative solutions
  • Competitive advantage: 40 percent lower cost than alternative bids
  • Total savings: $3.3 million

Restoration requires a delicate balance between production and recovery 

Photo credits: Solar Support

Recovery following an extreme weather event is complex, often more so than initial plant construction. Unlike new builds, restorations involve balancing current production needs against deconstruction and replacement demands. 

It pays to bring a restoration expert on board early. As one of the nation’s leading utility solar EPC companies, DEPCOM Power’s experts offer a combined 225 years of experience building and operating high-performing solar systems. Combating force majeure damage requires extensive documentation through thorough inspections. DEPCOM’s  know-how gets the process moving fast on subjective decisions about what needs to be replaced and what may be salvageable. 

From damage assessment and salvage expertise to insurance claims management and rapid restoration, our team keeps revenue loss under control. 


Click here to download our case studies to see how DEPCOM Power restored assets from flood and fire catastrophes.


Source*:  GCube Insurance, Hail or High Water Report, March 2021

About the Author: Jessica Super plays a critical role in developing DEPCOM’s repowering, restoration, and recertification services, serving as Vice President of Business Development. She brings over 12 years of experience in the solar industry, serving in executive roles for leading companies including President of ReneSola America, Regional Sales Manager at Canadian Solar and Regional Manager at SEIA. Super holds a degree in Finance and International Business from Pennsylvania State University and an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Business.