By: Brandon Grant

Our Landscape Is Changing

Tags: Our Landscape Is Changing

Have you noticed that there are an increasing number of solar panels in our fields? Perhaps, our farmers can’t make a living nowadays with livestock or cash cropping so they need to lease their fields out for the harvesting of energy?

I am concerned, mainly because I wonder what will happen when the leases runs out. Who will remove these solar panels? What is the longevity?

A homeowner asked me if he put solar panels on his roof would it increase his property value by 5%? I said “it would lower his property value by more than 5%”. He told me that a sales person told him if he put panels on his roof it would raise the property value by more than 5%. Not only are the panels aesthetically unappealing but increased insurance costs may deter a potential Buyer.

I had a chance to talk with and interview a member of the local fire department.  He relayed to me that, fire fighters have to take special training to combat fire should solar panels be involved. They cannot access the roof as these panels can be live 24/7 even when the power is cut from them because there is a d/c voltage involved. The panel is also not just charged by the sun but by the moon. The biggest danger when the fire department responds to a fire emergency is that once the panel reaches a specific temperature they blow. Chards of glass flies in all different directions when this happens. In addition to that, electricity and water are not friends so fireman cannot access the roof to put out the fire. The weight of the panels on a roof and firefights in a fire compromises the safety of the fighters as roof structures are not reinforced when these panels are installed. Article.

I also talked to a couple of insurance companies and each request is dealt with on a case by case basis. There is no ‘rule of thumb’.  It has to do with the pitch of the roof, the installation (they may want to see the contract that you signed) and the weight of the panels on the roof. Quotes for this type of insurance as with any other insurance has to do with your postal code. If the harnessed energy is going back to the grid, it is seen as a home based business and is treated differently again. Make sure you contact your insurance company before signing a contract as there are some insurance companies who will not insure solar panels.