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Florida solar utility liability insurance requirements

sleevemedia

Member
Jul 1, 2020
57
41
Orlando
The additional insurance is needed for the larger tier 2 systems just in case your solar PV system malfunctions, causes damage to our equipment and/or hurts one of our linemen.

That's the answer, the rest is distraction. This says a few things:
1. 10-20MW systems can cause $700k ($1m - typical $300k HO coverage) more damage to utility equipment than a 9.9MW system can
2. The damage that a 20MW system can cause is an equal risk to the utility as the damage that a 100MW system can cause
3. NEC 2017 and UL 1741 compliant inverters are expected to fail hot and cause damage or lineman exposure rather than failing cold, rather than shutting down, for some reason they continue to produce
4. Given PTO, we, the utility, confirm that we can handle this load, but your 20MWs really scare us and we need you to pinky-swear that you, the homeowner, will protect us
5. As a utility, we seek extra protection from you covering the possibility that your system energizes a circuit a lineman is working on, but none of our linemen are trained to check for current initially and often, and our linemen never work with active circuits
6. We're happy to let a little bit of our revenue go, up to 10MW worth, but you people who want no power bill are really the problem we're solving here

We'll be stuck with this rule for a while, but I may as well let PSC know how I feel.

Any other thoughts I can add?

What do you think about requiring $500k HO liability for 10-25MW?
 

sleevemedia

Member
Jul 1, 2020
57
41
Orlando
I wrote to Commissioner Graham today. Email addresses are on the PSC site I linked previously.

Dear Commissioner Graham,

I would like to propose that the PSC discuss a measure to insert a customer-owned PV generation tier between Tier I and Tier II covering the range 10kW to 25kW and set a $500,000 liability insurance cap on IOU requirements for interconnection for this new tier.

- The PSC Order that chose these tier sizes remains unaltered from 2008, when residential systems larger than 10kW were cost-prohibitive, but today they are common and may become the norm for electric vehicle owners.
- The order states that the risk to the IOU from a 9.9kW system is $1 million less than the risk from a 10.1kW system, and more absurdly, it states that the risk from a 100kW system is the same as the risk from a 10kW system. The tiers are too wide and the jump from zero to $1m is too high.
- Inverter technology has advanced by 12 years, with direct influence from NEC 2014, NEC 2017 and UL1741.

In my clicks around the web as I prepare to pay for a $1 million insurance policy that Duke Energy Florida are allowed to require for a Tier II system, I came across the NY Times article where you said "I think we could do some things differently." I hope you were properly quoted in context.

I am unable to purchase $1 million in liability insurance on my homeowners policy from my chosen insurer, AAA, they only offer up to $500,000. I need to buy a separate standalone umbrella policy for $185. If I add an umbrella over my policy, they first require my auto bodily injury coverage to be raised to 250/500, and the total annual cost for that and the umbrella is $520.

I am fortunate that I can afford $185 per year, but this is not about my personal finances or conclusions we could draw about residents who can afford more than 10kW solar. It's about the neighbors who can afford the 20-year solar loan payment because it's the same as their electric bill and who want to do their part to make air cleaner and fish less toxic for their kids. Why do they need to pay $4,000 or more for liability insurance over that period while IOUs send us mail that touts the ability of their smart grid to detect, isolate, and reroute around problems?

I agree with you, after 12 years, you could do some things differently. Thank you for your time.
 

LandToSea

Member
Jun 10, 2019
111
44
West Palm
Ironically, Florida, the sunshine state, has done almost everything in their power for average people to NOT install solar. Their suggestion is to have Solar farms though the utility! Therefore, it doesn't surprise me in the least that they've created a system to try and slow the deployment of it, including extra costs as a deterrent.

If you get a big enough solar array and enough powerwalls to power your house, can you unhook from the power company? Or are there regulations on that too?
I agree 100%, see my attached subscription that will be cancelled. You can't disconnect from the grid.
 

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sacredzero

Member
Jan 30, 2019
43
7
Fort Lauderdale
Hi all,

So I am about to pull the trigger with Tesla Solar and was going to get the Large system with 2 powerwalls until I found out about this idiotic liability requirement. I called State Farm who I have homeowners and car insurance and an umbrella policy would be near $500 but I don't see why we need that as who the hell cares about my vehicles. So I called another company and the rep was great and stated all you need to do is increase line E on your homeowners to $1Mil. liability to cover - Premise Liability - Called back State Farm and thats only $75. Can we confirm this is what FPL is requiring? Again I see zero point in an umbrella that covers anything other than the home.
 

LandToSea

Member
Jun 10, 2019
111
44
West Palm
Hi all,

So I am about to pull the trigger with Tesla Solar and was going to get the Large system with 2 powerwalls until I found out about this idiotic liability requirement. I called State Farm who I have homeowners and car insurance and an umbrella policy would be near $500 but I don't see why we need that as who the hell cares about my vehicles. So I called another company and the rep was great and stated all you need to do is increase line E on your homeowners to $1Mil. liability to cover - Premise Liability - Called back State Farm and thats only $75. Can we confirm this is what FPL is requiring? Again I see zero point in an umbrella that covers anything other than the home.
You are good. State Farm is the only provider I have heard of that will offer $1M in liability on the home policy. Most max at $300K which is why the umbrella policies being needed for myself and others.
 

charlesj

Active Member
Oct 22, 2019
1,242
274
Monterey, CA
...- Called back State Farm and thats only $75. Can we confirm this is what FPL is requiring? Again I see zero point in an umbrella that covers anything other than the home.
I cannot but be sure that home liability will also cover possible claims by the power company, not just what actually happens on your property but what you may have caused harm to someone else not on your property?
 

cccheel34

Member
Jun 23, 2020
7
0
32714
Ironically, Florida, the sunshine state, has done almost everything in their power for average people to NOT install solar. Their suggestion is to have Solar farms though the utility! Therefore, it doesn't surprise me in the least that they've created a system to try and slow the deployment of it, including extra costs as a deterrent.

If you get a big enough solar array and enough powerwalls to power your house, can you unhook from the power company? Or are there regulations on that too?

No, here in FL you cannot by law be totally "off the gird."
 

James88

Member
May 16, 2019
286
101
Orlando, Fl
I wrote to Commissioner Graham today. Email addresses are on the PSC site I linked previously.

Dear Commissioner Graham,

I would like to propose that the PSC discuss a measure to insert a customer-owned PV generation tier between Tier I and Tier II covering the range 10kW to 25kW and set a $500,000 liability insurance cap on IOU requirements for interconnection for this new tier.

- The PSC Order that chose these tier sizes remains unaltered from 2008, when residential systems larger than 10kW were cost-prohibitive, but today they are common and may become the norm for electric vehicle owners.
- The order states that the risk to the IOU from a 9.9kW system is $1 million less than the risk from a 10.1kW system, and more absurdly, it states that the risk from a 100kW system is the same as the risk from a 10kW system. The tiers are too wide and the jump from zero to $1m is too high.
- Inverter technology has advanced by 12 years, with direct influence from NEC 2014, NEC 2017 and UL1741.

In my clicks around the web as I prepare to pay for a $1 million insurance policy that Duke Energy Florida are allowed to require for a Tier II system, I came across the NY Times article where you said "I think we could do some things differently." I hope you were properly quoted in context.

I am unable to purchase $1 million in liability insurance on my homeowners policy from my chosen insurer, AAA, they only offer up to $500,000. I need to buy a separate standalone umbrella policy for $185. If I add an umbrella over my policy, they first require my auto bodily injury coverage to be raised to 250/500, and the total annual cost for that and the umbrella is $520.

I am fortunate that I can afford $185 per year, but this is not about my personal finances or conclusions we could draw about residents who can afford more than 10kW solar. It's about the neighbors who can afford the 20-year solar loan payment because it's the same as their electric bill and who want to do their part to make air cleaner and fish less toxic for their kids. Why do they need to pay $4,000 or more for liability insurance over that period while IOUs send us mail that touts the ability of their smart grid to detect, isolate, and reroute around problems?

I agree with you, after 12 years, you could do some things differently. Thank you for your time.

Im out in Orlando as well! I will likely have to go down the same road that you did for the 1million dollar umbrella policy. Could you point me in the direction of the agent/insurance company that you worked with to make this happen?

I'm just starting our Tesla Solar project on our home and im trying to lock in the best deal possible as like everyone else im capped to about 500k.

Thanks!
 

CrazyRabbit

Member
Apr 21, 2020
447
144
Fort Worth TX
have a 36KW system and I had anyway a much higher liability, umbrella insurance. That is a cheap and very effective insurance to have.
agree, 350 bucks to cover your a$$ is cheap, mine covers autos and house liability.
a coworker of mine use to work for a guy as a teenager. he was at a picnic and had a few two many and gave the keys to someone to drive his corvette home. well would you know it, that person had a accident and killed someone! umbrella saved his a$$.
 

CrazyRabbit

Member
Apr 21, 2020
447
144
Fort Worth TX
one would think the inverter equipment manufacture would be liable with much deeper pockets. the only way i would think the homeowner would be liable is if he/she altered the equipment.
also utility required a disconnect, and if they didn't utilize it, sounds like it is on them....
 

sleevemedia

Member
Jul 1, 2020
57
41
Orlando
I got a warm response to my letter to Commissioner Graham, from his Chief Advisor. Even though I did not mention this forum in my message, it was mentioned in the reply, so PSC staff are watching this and probably other threads. If you have comments about the Florida liability insurance requirement, you will find the effort to write well worth your time. Even adding comments here are worthwhile, they'll be read by people who can and want to take action.

Summarizing the response, the Commissioner seeks to require utilities to provide their history of actual liability claims filed against consumers operating solar generation. When the net metering rule was written, it was unknown what the risk would be so the PSC supported cautious insurance requirements. Net metering is coming up for periodic review, and Commissioner Graham is expected to ask for a review of the related insurance requirements to align the policy with the actual risk.

I'd like to thank the Florida PSC for their thoughtful consideration of my message. I encourage Florida residents to join the conversation.
 

h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
2,938
565
auburn, ca
It obviously varies state by state. In CA a one million umbrella is very common, cheap (you can even get them on renters policies), and if it required a tie in with auto liability I don't recall that. Thanks again BrettS. :)
I upped my CA umbrella to 2 million. Cost was fair compared to risk.
 

h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
2,938
565
auburn, ca
I got a warm response to my letter to Commissioner Graham, from his Chief Advisor. Even though I did not mention this forum in my message, it was mentioned in the reply, so PSC staff are watching this and probably other threads. If you have comments about the Florida liability insurance requirement, you will find the effort to write well worth your time. Even adding comments here are worthwhile, they'll be read by people who can and want to take action.

Summarizing the response, the Commissioner seeks to require utilities to provide their history of actual liability claims filed against consumers operating solar generation. When the net metering rule was written, it was unknown what the risk would be so the PSC supported cautious insurance requirements. Net metering is coming up for periodic review, and Commissioner Graham is expected to ask for a review of the related insurance requirements to align the policy with the actual risk.

I'd like to thank the Florida PSC for their thoughtful consideration of my message. I encourage Florida residents to join the conversation.
Did anything ever change?
 

X-pilot

Member
Jul 5, 2019
77
54
Florida
Were you already at 500k personal liability, and they just bumped the liability to $1m? And your cars are on a different policy?

I have an AAA package policy, so they need auto BI at 250/500 to attach a $1m umbrella liability rider. That's $443/year and while it does include extra car coverage, it's excessive.

The cheapest standalone $1m personal liability policy I've found was from a local agent, it only covers one property, does not cover cars/drivers, and it's $185/year.

I'm probably going to look at whether Duke notifies AAA that they are a Party of Interest and if not, mumble mumble, ...
Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. I had $300K personal liability, so it was raised to $1 million. My homeowner insurance is bundled with autos, but is on a separate policy.

Also, I have heard that some folks cancel the insurance option after turn on.
 

h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
2,938
565
auburn, ca
Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. I had $300K personal liability, so it was raised to $1 million. My homeowner insurance is bundled with autos, but is on a separate policy.

Also, I have heard that some folks cancel the insurance option after turn on.
Man, no way will I cancel my 2 million policy add on. I guess some of it might matter on what your home is worth and or total net worth
 

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