Monday, August 31, 2009

Buy Wind Turbine Insurance Facts

By Sean Hernandez

Do not buy a wind turbine without knowing about possible insurance requirements from your local power company. Hardly anyone has ever heard about insurance being required for a wind turbine until after they spend the money building one.

In many cases, you do not need extra insurance. Where you need extra insurance coverage is if you are wiring your wind turbine or solar power system to connect to the power grid. If you are running your wind turbine to a battery bank that is never connected to the power grid, then you do not need to spend the money on extra insurance. The electric company has every right to demand that you have a million dollar insurance policy if you are connecting to the power grid.

More and more electric companies are requiring additional insurance protection: in most cases, a million dollar insurance policy if you connect your system to the power grid. Texas is one such state.

My friend who lives in Texas had this problem. He was shocked when his local power company told him he needed a million dollar insurance policy before connecting to the power grid. He called insurance company after insurance company asking about a wind turbine insurance policy and everyone told him they did not sell such a policy. He really wanted to sell power back to the power company and not just use a battery bank to power things in his own house.

Here is how we solved the problem. You need to call your local power company and tell them that you want a reverse meter so that they can measure the amount of energy you are feeding back into the power grid in order to assign you proper credit. There is specific wiring that you need to use that must be approved by your county. They require this specific wiring so that your system does not electrocute a lineman who is working on a line somewhere down from your wind or solar power generator.

Here is where you can save yourself a lot of headache. Do not call your insurance company and ask about a wind turbine or solar panel policy. There is no policy like this. What you do is get an umbrella policy on your homeowner's insurance. This type of policy covers more than what your homeowner's insurance policy does. You might have an insurance company that calls this "secondary insurance". Use the Internet to find an insurance company that will sell such a policy to you.

Just keep in mind that there are quality standards you need to follow if you connect to the power grid. You need a reverse power relay and an automatic transfer switch that will disconnect you from the power grid in case of a power outage. You also need to stay "in phase" with the power grid. When you buy a wind turbine, the manufacturer should tell you everything you need to know to do this. If you are building a wind turbine then the instruction book will tell you what you need to know.

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