Utility solar has been a powerhouse of growth in recent years, and industry analysts only anticipate more capacity coming online during the next decade.
Developers and EPCs in the utility-scale solar sector will need to ensure their operations are streamlined and optimized to keep pace with this expansion and continue growing. Utilizing bifacial modules with trackers, along with smart solar solutions, can potentially be the game changer developers and EPCs need to succeed.
Where is utility solar headed?
Of all U.S. energy sources, solar power once again topped the list for most new installations in 2020, with a 43% share of new capacity additions. This marks the second consecutive year that solar energy has added the most electricity-generating capacity among all technologies, after installing 40% of all new capacity in 2019.
Utility-scale projects represented the majority of these new installations, with just under 14GWdc installed in 2020 and 6.3 GWdc deployed in Q4 alone. Despite this high bar, utility-scale solar shows no signs of slowing down, with an additional 69 GWdc left in the contracted pipeline. Beyond the current contracted pipeline, the solar market shows no signs of slowing down. Woods Mackenzie recently released it’s first ever long-term forecast as part of the U.S. Solar Market Insight series. This report forecasts that by 2030, the total operating solar fleet will more than quadruple.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration recently set a goal to cut the cost of solar energy by 60% over the next decade. This revised goal accelerates the previous utility-scale solar cost target by five years. Further, the 2020 extension of the investment tax credit (ITC) should also spur additional utility projects as stakeholders look to leverage this federal incentive.
With this expected utility-scale solar growth on the horizon, developers and project financiers should ensure they find every way possible to lower costs and boost energy gains to deliver the best possible project value.
Bifacial modules and trackers boost power
Two components that allow for increased power gains include bifacial modules and solar trackers.
Studies show that bifacial modules coupled with single-axis trackers make for a cost-effective option. A recent study determined that, on average, the combination of bifacial modules and trackers can produce nearly 35 percent more energy while reducing the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) by an average of 16 percent.
Solar trackers continue to mature as a technology, offering even more flexibility and value for utility solar projects. For example, as part of TrinaPro, the Agile 1P from Trina Solar features a portrait dual-row single axis tracker with an industry-leading tracking range and a higher resultant energy output. The Vanguard 2P from Trina Solar uses a portrait independent single axis tracker with an innovative multidrive system. Additionally, projects with solar trackers can potentially provide more energy gain by including the SuperTracker Algorithm.
TrinaTracker’s Agile 1P recently achieved IEC certification for compatibility with 600W+ modules from the Certification Entity for Renewable Energy (“CERE”), a leading European independent testing, simulation, certification and inspection body.
Trackers are increasingly becoming a staple for utility-scale installations. When coupled with bifacial modules and used with the TrinaPro smart solution, this combo can potentially deliver the edge developers need to land bids and close deals.
How TrinaPro can help
In addition to the improved power gains from bifacial modules and trackers, developers can push their margins even higher with the help of TrinaPro and TrinaTracker’s Agile 1P.
The TrinaPro all-in-one smart solution features a single point-of-contact for streamlined component procurement and management. This turnkey service also means component compatibility, system design optimization and custom engineering to further boost power production while reducing LCOE.
Reach out to Trina Solar today to learn more about how bifacial modules plus trackers coupled with TrinaPro can be the keys to success for utility-scale solar projects.
Smart Energy Solutions
delivered straight to your inbox