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Munich Re Introduces Insurance Solution for Renewable Energy

Source: Munich Re

Posted on 08 Oct 2010

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Munich Re introduced the first insurance solution to provide an effective performance warranty for solar panels in the United States through a new plan that covers concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) systems manufactured by SolFocus. Munich Re, SolFocus and broker Woodruff-Sawyer & Co collaborated on this first coverage of its kind for CPV technology systems. With a view to climate change, Munich Re has devised a number of coverages that reduce the risks in renewable energy for investors and thus make such investments possible.

“The performance and reliability of CPV has advanced to such a high level that a renowned insurer like Munich Re has offered an insurance policy,” said Mark Crowley, CEO of SolFocus.“ As the first CPV company that can provide an insured performance-warranty to its customers, we are proud to pave the way for this advanced solar technology to reach commercial status and become a trusted, bankable technology for developers, financial institutions and utilities. Providing such confidence and trust to the marketplace is critical for companies like SolFocus to deliver the capability of advanced solar technology.”

SolFocus provides all of its customers globally with a warranty for its CPV systems of 25 years for power performance. If any product fails to meet the specifics of this warranty then the Munich Re cover attaches. In order to realize the insurance solution, Munich Re has brought in one of its specialty primary insurers. “SolFocus has achieved similar breakthroughs in proving “bankability” for developers and investors by securing the first International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) certification for performance and safety”, Crowley added.

Prior to the agreement being signed, Munich Re had conducted an in-depth review of the SolFocus development and manufacturing processes. This CPV technology uses innovative optics to concentrate sunlight onto a small area of high-efficiency solar cell material. Munich Re already makes its unique performance-warranty insurance available to several other manufacturers of photovoltaic cells based on other technologies, but this is the first CPV offering.

Thomas Blunck, member of Munich Re’s Board of Management added, “We are delighted to have concluded the first contract of this kind on the U.S. market with SolFocus. By coming up with this solution for the new CPV technology, we have again taken the lead after we had introduced the performance warranty insurance onto the market over a year ago. And we are also close to marketing similar performance-guarantee products for other technologies in the renewables sector such as wind or solar thermal energy.”

By providing this insurance, Munich Re allows solar plant operators and investors greater planning security. The innovative insurance solution is thus an important milestone for the financing of photovoltaic projects, offering producers additional financial protection. Manufacturers of modules can take the long-term, technical guarantee risk off their balance sheet, thus easing the financial burden and giving their customers greater security.

“We are proud to have had the opportunity to collaborate with Munich Re and SolFocus on this inventive and unique coverage solution” said Steve Sawyer, Executive Vice President at Woodruff-Sawyer & Co. “Both companies are leaders in innovation within their industries, and we expect this program will have a substantial impact on the continuing expansion and implementation of solar power/power production in the United States.”

About SolFocus

The SolFocus mission is to enable solar energy generation at a Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) competitive with traditional fossil fuel sources. To achieve this goal, SolFocus has developed leading concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) technology which combines high-efficiency solar cells (approaching 40%) and advanced optics to provide solar energy solutions which are scalable, dependable and capable of delivering on the promise of clean, low-cost, renewable energy. SolFocus is headquartered in Mountain View, California with European operations headquartered in Madrid, Spain, and manufacturing in Mesa, Arizona and manufacturing partners in India and China.