solar developer insurance

Solar Contractor Insurance

Choosing the right solar contractor insurance is a necessity in the solar development industry… The right program not only helps you develop a long-term reputation for safety with customers, but also reduces your total cost of risk.

Unfortunately, insurance can be one of the biggest operating costs a solar contractor, developer or installer has to absorb. 

By working with a broker who understands your business, you could save as much as 50% on all your insurance – including your commercial general liability,  professional liabilityproperty insuranceumbrellabusiness auto and workers’ compensation.

If you’re a fast growing solar contractor or large solar developer I can help you reduce risk and save money on business insurance costs. 

Schedule an appointment with me today to find out if you qualify for savings of up to 50% on insurance premiums with our solar contractor and developer insurance program.

What Type of Solar Contractor Insurance Do Developers and EPCs Need?

Whether you’re a solar installer, a solar developer who subcontracts out all your engineering and construction work, or some other form of solar engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firm, you need to protect your business investment – and your returns – from unnecessary risks.

One of the biggest risks to your business is paying for insurance that you don’t understand and that is full of exclusions… 

Insurance exclusions are the enemy to the success of your solar business because they can limit your operations – or worse – deny coverage when a claim arises, leaving you to pay for defense and/or damages – even if the claim is frivolous.

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

Solar Contractor Insurance Program Savings

As you can see from the bar chart on this page, you can get the right solar contractor insurance and 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. General liability
  2. Property insurance
  3. Professional liability
  4. Workers’ compensation
  5. Umbrella
  6. Data breach 
  7. Business auto
  8. Inland marine
  9. Drone liability coverage
  10. And more…

Our solar contractor insurance program includes core business coverages every solar business should have. This includes general liability, professional liability, business auto and workers compensation. If you do business in New York, you can rest assured that you are covered for action over

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

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. Our general liability coverage covers New York Labor Law and has no action over exclusion.

solar contractor insurance 9

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, also known as “errors and omissions” insurance, protects your solar contractor business from claims due to design, consulting or engineering work done for your clients. 

Professional liability protects your business from claims against you related to professional advice or guidance provided to clients in the course of your business. Professional liability also protects you from omissions of such advice, terms or guidance where this information should have been provided.

Indeed, even if you outsource all your engineering work to 3rd party engineers, you may still need “miscellaneous professional liability” by contractual requirement or through a partnership agreement. This can often be the case in contractual requirements with a state “green bank” or when working with state renewable energy financing, or energy efficiency programs. 

Worker’s Compensation Insurance

Worker’s compensation insurance provides protections to your solar contractor employees related to injuries that occur in the course of employment. Workers compensation insurance is available across the 50 United States using a single “no fault” concept.

“No fault” means that employees give up the right to sue their employers and employers give up the right to common law defenses.

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 workers compensation vary from state to state. California has a $1MM limit across the board… Whereas Massachusetts and New York are technically unlimited.

Are you a solar contractor doing business in New York City? Learn more about the ins and outs of workers compensation coverage and New York Labor Law exclusions by learning about “action over“.

solar contractor insurance 12

Umbrella and Excess Insurance

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

For instance, let’s say you have a commercial general liability (CGL) policy 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 >$1 million in the course of a year, or two separate claims totaling >$2 million, you would be left with a gap in coverage above those primary limits.

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 $2-$5 million. Because the layer is secondary, 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

Are you a community solar developer in New York or Massachusetts hoping to develop community solar projects where you will engage with many retail consumers? Do engage in billing or you help clients remotely monitor their solar PV system performance, energy efficiency or EV chargers for production and efficiency?

If you answered “YES” to either of these questions, you have 1st and 3rd party cyber liability exposure.

Cyber and data breach insurance is no longer a niche coverage type for contractors… Cyber and data breach coverage protects the
reputation of your solar contractor business, and your customers, who may be the target of phishing, malware or other types of cyber crime.

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 personally identifiable information, 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 your solar contractor business from claims of unlawful employment practices. Claims can be brought against you by full-time, part-time, volunteer, seasonal 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, the cost of EPLI claims and the duration of employment disputes are rising. 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. If you rent vehicles while on business trips, or your employees use vehicles in the course of business uses vehicles, such as for running errands, sales or meeting with clients, your business may be exposed. 

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.

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 

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.