Aerovoltaic

Aerovoltaic: Is there protection for hybrid energy-saving systems for individuals?

An aerovoltaic system combines electrical energy production and thermal energy production. Since it promotes energy savings, it clearly fits into the law on energy transition.  It’s a nearly perfect system that multiple-risk homeowner insurance policies won’t insure.

The 17 August 2015 law on energy transition and green growth is a so-called “mobilisation and action” law applicable to everyone throughout French territory: individuals, businesses, and governments. Among other things, its goal is to reduce energy consumption and promote renewable energy production.

Sixteen concrete measures encourage individuals to stay informed about their electricity and heating use and to reduce consumption as much as possible. Incentives such as zero-interest borrowing and tax credits for energy transition support them in improving their home’s energy performance.

 

Up to 50% of a home’s hot water and heating production

Aerovoltaic systems are composed of both photovoltaic modules that product electricity and a system of capturing the hot air that circulates below these modules, allowing systems to meet energy saving and renewable energy production needs.

This hybrid system is becoming more widely used by individuals. It combines electric energy production using “standard” photovoltaic panels and thermal energy production by capturing and redistributing throughout the home all the air circulating below the photovoltaic modules, which is warmed by the Joule effect.

This air recovery system, coupled with a dual-flow ventilation system or heat pump, can provide up to 50% of a home’s hot water and/or heating.

 

Damages not covered by multiple-risk homeowner insurance

The only downside to the ideal aerovoltaic system? Multiple-risk homeowner insurance policies won’t insure them.
They refuse to cover aerovoltaic systems in photovoltaic coverage because, according to the terms, a photovoltaic system for producing electricity can’t also be a heating system, and vice versa.
They can justify this position by pointing to how the French government defines aerovoltaic: a solar heating system, which makes it eligible for a 30% tax credit.

At a time when everyone is asked to participate in the energy transition and energy-saving systems are encouraged, the need to protect individuals against losses for these types of cogeneration systems seems to have been forgotten.

What’s the future for hybrid systems?

Aerovoltaic manufacturers would do well to take a cue from existing cogeneration techniques in the industrial sector where energy savings are also highly encouraged.

Several of these techniques (methanisation, gas turbines, etc.) are already being used on an industrial scale and electric energy and thermal energy plants are already fully insured.

Aerovoltaic systems could be offered as a less-cumbersome hybrid alternative, requiring less maintenance and civil engineering, since they could easily be integrated into existing industrial building roof structures, producing heat that could provide both hot water and heating for production lines and other spaces (offices, workshops, locker rooms, etc.).

Then, perhaps someday insurance companies will review energy-saving system coverage for individuals.

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Marie PAVAN
Energies Loss adjuster – GM Consultant group