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NREL Report Says Insurance Industry Can Benefit by Using Solar Power for Disaster Management

For more information contact:
Kerry Masson 303-275-4083
e:mail: Kerry Masson

Golden, Colo., Sept. 3, 1999 — The insurance industry can save millions of dollars in property claims resulting from natural disasters by adopting solar and other renewable energy technologies when planning for nature's fury. A report from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory says renewable technologies can head off disasters at the pass, give buildings a better chance for survival and restore electricity quicker, adding value to insurers and customers.

The 15-page Solar Technology and the Insurance Industry: Issues and Applications report discusses the impact of natural catastrophes on the insurance industry, the effect of power outages on businesses and people and the risks of portable power generators. It provides examples of photovoltaic technology uses for disaster mitigation, response and recovery. Applications include emergency communication, water purification, lighting and operation of laptop computers and cell phones.

The insurance industry can benefit from using solar electricity systems because photovoltaics can restore power to businesses and residences more quickly, reducing business interruption losses and living expenses claims. Solar power can improve the industry's response to catastrophe by powering mobile offices at disaster sites.

The report was co-written by John Thornton, principal engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Ann Deering, president of Clean Energy Seminars. The report will be presented to insurers and emergency managers at two U.S. Department of Energy workshops, Powerless in the Aftermath, in September. The workshops are scheduled for Sept. 13 at the Outrigger Kauai Beach Hotel, Kauai, HI, and Sept. 16 at the Pagoda Hotel, Oahu, HI. To register, call Maria Tome at the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism at 808-587-3809.

Copies of the report and meeting agenda are available from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Request report number: NREL/TP-520-26490 by calling 303-384-6497 or find it at NREL's Surviving Disaster Web site.

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