PRESSURE LIMITS IN PROJECT DESIGN expose PV to technical and financial risks on a large scale – SOLARGIS


New solar technologies that are fueling record lows at auctions around the world depend on critical data inputs that may be missing from project designer’s toolkits

Bratislava, March 1 – The growth of solar energy at scale puts pressure on key assumptions of project designers as the technological complexity and size of new projects place limitations on the critical data inputs used by developers. According to Solargis, this is data and software architects for bankable solar investments.

As solar developers seek lower bids in highly competitive market conditions, they have increasingly made it their goal to take advantage of the benefits of building on a large scale. The proliferation of “mega-projects” up to 1 GW in size and the increased use of more advanced technologies such as trackers and bifacial modules in project designs have enabled record-low auction prices in key global markets such as India.

However, the operational performance of these new technologies is not fully understood. As project designers push the envelope on plant configurations to reduce generation costs and maximize profitability in highly competitive market conditions, these projects can pose significant technical and financial risks in the long run.

According to Solargis, major solar developers need to carefully examine the quality of the data inputs used to inform about design simulations.

The trend towards larger solar projects was supported by the increasing use of new technologies such as intelligent trackers, bifacial modules and floating solar. These require new types of accurate, high-resolution data in order to realize their production potential. For example, bi-face modules require albedo data to effectively incorporate them into a design. Very few records currently contain this information – and even fewer brands of design simulation software can take full advantage of it.

This can lead to inefficient designs that may not ship as forecast and result in higher operating costs due to damaged inverters and other components. Ultimately, this can lead to unplanned project failures as large projects continue to test the limits of the hardware.

At the same time, the higher total investments for large solar projects have increased the financial stake and increased penalties for underperformance. Moving towards a merchant-assisted market with PPA backing has shifted financial risk for developers, while competitive auctions result in lower bids and lower the margin of error in forecasting sales.

In a 1GW project over 25 years, a 1% decrease in asset performance means a loss in sales of EUR 25,000,000. By using accurate resource data to underpin project designs, developers can minimize the risk of these financial risks and benefit from increased confidence in the projected returns.

Marcel Suri, Managing Director of Solargis, said, “As solar projects scale, lower energy prices are within reach than ever before. Larger projects, however, set the benchmark for what is possible with today’s technology. In the meantime, developers often still use data inputs that are several years old. If inputs such as solar radiation, air temperature, and albedo are inaccurate, the final project design will be in error and may not meet investors’ expectations. ”

He continued, “Accurate, high-resolution solar data will be critical to supporting the continued rise in large-scale solar energy, reducing risk for developers, and giving them more confidence in the performance of their projects. In the future, the wider will Broader data inputs are integrated. B. Wind speed and historical hourly series within an hour into the design software will enable a new wave of large-scale solar design supported by intelligent simulations – but the foundations must now be laid through industry-wide investments in solar data. ”

Solargis has covered the challenges and opportunities of optimizing large-scale project design here: -scale- Project design

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About Solargis:

Solargis is a data and software architect for bankable solar investments.

Solargis works with solar stakeholders throughout their projects and portfolios to reduce risk and create transparency with the most accurate and reliable solar data on the market.

Solargis’ data and software platform helps the industry simplify the energy assessment process, maximize plant performance, and forecast long-term and short-term production and ROI.

Solargis data has contributed to the development of assets of more than 150 GW worldwide and is used to monitor and forecast solar power plants with a total capacity of more than 40 GW.

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