Pic credit: Reuters/American Energy News
Just when you thought many uncertainties were coming to an end for solar in India and things were kind of settling down, you read about a new kind of uncertainty – this time from monkeys.
Apparently, monkeys like solar panels, or at least they frequent the rooftop solar panel installations in quite a few installations. And well, it appears they are not there to calmly observe solar panels generate green power.
Monkeys do what they are best known for – monkeying around.
We do not yet have a clear checklist of what stuff within a solar power systems gets monkeyed with – but the usual victims would be cables to a very large extent. Surely, the monkeys would mount some assaults on any other stuff exposed to the environment, but given the stuff that is out there in the open for solar power plants (be they rooftop or ground mounted), I do not see anything else seriously vulnerable to monkeys – I mean, most of them (mounting structures, junction boxes, trackers…) are made of metal or really sturdy stuff. [ Solar panels, by the way, can endure some serious assaults on them – watch this YouTube video and you will agree)
But chewing off cables would be bad enough – bad enough to make you lose a significant amount of power generated by the solar panels.
So, umm…, well, you might need some insurance for such stuff. Or you need to get innovative enough to install something that will repel monkeys – one of the things that could be done according this article from where I came to be reminded of this monkey menace is to tilt the solar panels so that the monkeys slip and fall. Now, I am no expert on monkeys, but that doesn’t sound like great logic especially if the monkeys are after the cables some of which (such as those going to the inverters) would surely be equally well accessible to them whether or not the solar panels are titled. But anyway, that’s at least a start for an idea.
So, if this sloping and sliding business does not work out, will some kind of insurance work?
It might. Here’s a page on Solar Mango that gives you inputs on the types of risks that solar insurance could cover. In this, what interests me is the Property Risk Insurance (under Operational Phase), which, in addition to fire, theft and vandalism, also could potentially cover animal bites.
Now, that’s indeed something – an insurance for animal bites. Just what is perhaps needed to assuage folks wary of our tailed ancestors ripping through their coveted solar power plants.
But perhaps not so fast! Solar insurance is in its initial stages in India, and not all insurance packages might offer stuff like monkey bite insurance. So, if you are looking for such risks to be included, ensure you ask for these with your insurance provider. Or perhaps send a note to the email ID mentioned in this page at Solar Mango and we will try our best to assist.
And before signing off: What is a problem for some, is surely an opportunity for others. Here’s a Chinese company that makes solar animal repellers!