3 Cost Considerations for Utility-Scale Solar Developers
- Utility,Business of Solar,Panel Talk and Technology
With the Biden administration’s recent pause on the tariffs disrupting the solar industry, it’s time to get back to work. To assist in these efforts, we’ve compiled a list of the top three new considerations for utility-scale solar project developers and EPCs looking to hit the ground running and deliver the most value possible.
1. Future-proofing PV technology
Veterans of the solar industry are no strangers to regular increases in solar cell and panel sizes, with corresponding boosts in efficiency ratings and power output. While this trend has continued steadily over the past decade, PV technology has advanced to its current sweet spot for solar-cell sizes. Moving any larger begins to sacrifice value and durability.
This ideal size has been achieved in 210mm-sized solar wafers and the 210 PV technology environment. Unlike 182mm-sized solar cells, the 210 Vertex series has the longest runway for future-proofing solar projects for at least the next five to 10 years. These large-format modules using 210mm solar cells achieve an optimal balance between size, power output, and value, making these the perfect candidate for future-proofing project development plans for years to come.
This sweet spot also means that the ultra-high power output from 210mm PV technology offers the best route to the lowest levelized cost of electricity (LCOE).
2. Growing importance of efficient PV system integration
As delays hamper grid interconnection, EPCs and developers must streamline on-site execution and installation. Adding any additional delays or scheduling conflicts during installation can impact the project’s place in the interconnection queue and risk derailing commissioning.
More efficient PV system integration helps reduce the risk of installation delays. To streamline integration, EPCs and project developers need guaranteed PV component compatibility, quick installation times, and innovative solutions.
The TrinaTracker solar tracker, part of the TrinaPro utility solution, uses a patented spherical geometry bearing that reduces installation times, costs, and the maintenance required during the installation and operating phases. Meanwhile, the SmartTrack monitoring system boosts power production by up to 3-8%.
Additionally, the ultra-high efficiency of 210mm PV technology allows for an innovative low voltage/high-string site design that requires fewer components, further cutting CAPEX and speeding up installations. Industry standardization around 210mm PV technology also means widespread component compatibility with most global tracker companies and inverter manufacturers, mitigating on-site installation risks.
The quick installation, innovative site design, and extensive component compatibility enable more efficient site integration and faster install times, helping to lower LCOE.
3. Highly customized PV siting
As solar capacity additions surge, renewable power plant owners have already built on much of the easily accessible open land close to transmission lines that’s perfect for large-scale PV sites. The exhaustion of these sites has made it increasingly difficult for developers to find flat, soft terrain close to developed areas.
But sloping and hilly terrains or rocky land and cobbled soil are not the obstacles they once were. New solar solutions and technology let developers and EPCs get more creative with customized site designs. In fact, in some instances, topographically challenging land might come with discounted leases for higher margins, making these locations a better value.
However, successfully leveraging less-than-ideal locations requires deploying the right solar technology and solutions. For example, TrinaTracker’s patented three-dimensional spherical bearing design improves terrain adaptability for solar sites on hilly or sloping land. Meanwhile, the SmartTrack monitoring system enhances the site’s energy production, particularly on complex, uneven terrain.
Combining All Three Considerations
Incorporating one of these considerations into a new project might seem overwhelming, let alone all three simultaneously.
That’s where Trina Solar can help. The TrinaPro utility-scale solution combines all these considerations to help EPCs and project developers lower costs and deliver improved value. The TrinaPro team handles all major PV component procurement to improve system integration and mitigate installation risks. The team then bundles the 210 Vertex modules, TrinaTracker solution, and inverters to future-proof projects, optimize site design, and lower CAPEX to achieve a better LCOE.
Want to learn more about how the TrinaPro utility-scale solar solution can help? Contact us today.
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