solar developer insurance

Solar Contractor Insurance

Choosing the right solar contractor insurance is as important as knowing which solar insurance to avoid.

Insurance can be one of the biggest operating costs a solar panel installer or EPC may have to bear…

However, the right insurance coverage protects your business and reduces total cost of risk.

By working with a broker who understands what exposures you have, you could save as much as 50% on all your insurance.

This includes commercial general liability (CGL),  professional liabilityproperty insuranceumbrellabusiness auto and workers’ compensation.

If you’re a solar panel installer or solar EPC I can help you reduce risk and save money on business insurance costs. 

Schedule an appointment with me today to find out if my insurance services are right for you.

Solar Contractor Insurance Program Savings

As you can see from the bar chart on this page, you may be able to achieve massive savings while avoiding dangerous exclusions in your insurance program. 

Our unique package policy offers broad coverage, affordable rates, and a policy tailored for solar businesses. We include the following important coverages:

  1. Commercial General liability (CGL)
  2. Property insurance
  3. Professional liability (E&O)
  4. Workers’ compensation
  5. Umbrella
  6. Cyber 
  7. Business auto
  8. Inland marine
  9. Drone liability coverage
  10. And more…

Solar contractor insurance includes core business coverages every solar installer and EPC should have including commercial general liability (CGL), professional liability (E&O), business auto and workers compensation. If you do business in New York, you can rest assured that you are covered for action over

You have access to other specialty solar insurance products such as offtaker insurancesolar production insurance, solar surety bonds and solar property insurance.

What Types of Insurance Do You Need As A Solar Installer or EPC?

Whether you’re a solar installer or EPC, insurance protects your business from unnecessary risks.

Don’t pay for insurance that is full of exclusions… 

Exclusions limit your operations and can leave you exposed if a claim arises. You may be paying for defense costs and/or damages – even if a claim is frivolous.

By working with a broker who understands your business and represents you – not an insurance carrier – you can get broad and affordable solar insurance without costly exclusions. 

Commercial General Liability Insurance

Commercial general liability insurance protects your solar business from third party claims related to bodily injury (BI) and property damage (PD). These exposures may arise out of premises operations exposures, job site related work and products and completed operations exposures.

An example of a solar insurance general liability claim is dropping a solar panel off a roof onto a client’s property causing damage. Another example of a solar GL claim is a “slip and fall” or an accident to a 3rd party on a job site. Primary and aggregate limits of liability start at $1 million per occurrence and $2 million aggregate. 

Higher limits of liability are available, such as $2MM, $5MM or higher, can be accomplished with a combination of primary and excess/umbrella coverage. If you are a solar contractor doing business in New York City, you know about the high cost of NY contractor insurance

Your CGL should have no action over exclusion.

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Solar Property Insurance

Property insurance is first party coverage that protects your solar contractor business against loss or damage to your own covered real property and business contents. Property can include office furniture, machinery, computers and equipment, such as inverters, solar panels, racking, batteries for energy storage systems, etc. Property insurance can be written for equipment held on site, in transit or held for others. 

Property insurance provides protection against common risks such as fire, water damage, theft and specialized risks such as earthquake, flood and terrorism. 

However, in some states property insurance will specifically exclude perils such as earthquake and flood. For example, in California a specific earthquake endorsement must be added to the property policy.

Optional insurance coverage can include property that is in your care, custody and control, or during maintenance. An example of this would be if you were responsible for solar panels, racking, inverters or other equipment owned by a customer prior to installation.

Professional Liability aka E&O

Professional liability insurance, aka E&O (“errors and omissions”), protects your business from liability claims of financial loss from errors and/or omissions in providing professional advice, design, consulting or engineering for your clients. 

EPCs who outsource work to 3rd party engineers, may still need “miscellaneous professional liability” to fulfill contractual requirements with clients, a lender or investor. 

E&O requirements are often included in agreements with state renewable energy programs. 

Worker’s Compensation Insurance

Worker’s compensation (WC) insurance provides protections to your employees related to injuries that occur in the course of their work. 

WC uses a “No Fault” concept, meaning that employees give up the right to sue their employers and employers give up the right to common law defenses.

Work comp is mandatory in most states. Oklahoma and Texas are the only states that are considered “elective” states where businesses are not required by law to have workers compensation in place. Limits of coverage for work comp vary from state to state. California has a $1MM limit across the board… Other states, such as Massachusetts and New York, are technically unlimited.

However, having WC coverage does not protect you from an employee suit against a 3rd party you are indemnifying. 

Indeed, if you are an EPC or solar contractor doing business in New York City you should be aware of the ins and outs of work comp and New York Labor Law exclusions by learning about “action over“.

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Umbrella and Excess Insurance

Umbrella insurance, aka “excess”, provides additional insurance coverage above and beyond your primary CGL layer.

For instance, let’s say you have a CGL with $1 million of per incident coverage and an aggregate coverage limit of $2 million. This is your primary layer. 

If you have one claim of $1.5 million, or multiple claims in the course of a year that exceed $1,000,000 each or are greater than $2,000,000 aggregate, you would be left with a gap in coverage.

An umbrella policy addresses the exposure gap by adding another level of insurance above the primary limits. A common limit of umbrella coverage is between $1-$5 million. 

Umbrella coverage is usually less expensive per dollar of coverage than primary general liability limits. Excess insurance limits can be “stacked” on top of primary and umbrella limits for higher amounts of protection.

Cyber and Data Breach Protection

Every business has cyber exposure today. Cyber coverage protects the reputation of your business, and your customers, who may be the target of phishing, malware or other types of cyber crime.

If you have employees or manage 3rd party customer data, such as a community solar subscription manager, you have personally identifiable information (PII) to protect. States such as New York and Massachusetts have strict data breach notification laws.

Community solar developers are especially prime targets for hackers who wish to mine consumer data and seek back doors to more targeted consumer hacks. New data privacy laws put the burden of risk management and reporting on the company. In New York, the SHIELD Act requires specific compliance from companies who collect personally identifiable information from any New York residents.

In the Target breach, one of the largest data breaches in history, hackers accessed Target’s customer data through an HVAC contractor who had Target as a client. Target spent $202 million in legal fees and other costs since the breach.

Even if your company never regularly processes or keeps PII, your business may need cyber insurance.  Data breach protection can help pay for the cost of a data breach, outside legal counsel, IT forensics, notification costs and public relations.

 

Employment Practices Liability (EPLI)

The #metoo era has shined a bright light on employment practices. Employment practices liability insurance protects you from claims of unlawful employment practices. Claims can be brought against you by full-timepart-timevolunteerseasonal and temporary employees.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the #1 basis for employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) claims is retaliation, followed by race, disability, sex, age, national origin and religion. Claims can allege discrimination, harassment, racial bias, sexual assault, unlawful termination, pregnancy discrimination, failure to hire and genetic discrimination.

All of these types of claims are a concern for today’s businesses.

Even job applicants can file an employment practices claim against you. Employment practices liability insurance protects your business whether the claim is legitimate or groundless.

According to a report by Advisen, defense costs for EPLI claims regularly range from $200,000-$300,000. Plaintiffs costs can amount to $100,000 and the timeline for employment litigation is 18-24 months. 

Business Auto Insurance

Business auto insurance protects vehicles used in the course of your solar contractor business. Business auto is important because your personal auto policies often contain business-related exclusions. If your business owns a vehicle, you should purchase a separate business auto policy to cover your business in the event of an accident that occurs.

The cost of business auto insurance is skyrocketing, so many business owners are choosing to forego covering certain vehicles used in their business in order to save money.

However, if your employees use their own vehicles for work, or if you rent vehicles for work, you have “hired/non-owned” auto exposure. 

The ISO Business Auto Coverage Form describes what is considered a “covered auto”. Covered autos are defined by specific symbols, using the numbers 1-9 plus 19, designating the types of coverage included in the policy.

Inland Marine Insurance

Inland marine covers business property while in transit over land. An inland marine floater policy can protect solar equipment, PV panels, inverters, racking, SunEye™ devices, battery and grid connection equipment and more. 

Because this equipment usually costs tens of thousands of dollars, one accident involving a vehicle could leave you exposed. Inland marine coverage protects your valuable business property while in transit.1 

Trucks or vans your business uses to transport solar equipment, solar panels should have the right coverage. If your solar installation business also provides building retrofits, you may have expensive insulation machines that need protection while on the road.

Solar Contractor Insurance Questions?

Whether you’re a growing solar contractor or a public company, you can get all the solar contractor insurance you need and more in an affordable, comprehensive insurance program.

Schedule an appointment with me or click “GET A QUOTE” now which sends me an email, or call 203-200-0445 and I will answer any questions you may have. 

Footnotes

  1. Photos by The 100% Campaign on Flickr. Used with attribution.