What is the Future for Utility Scale Solar Photovoltaic Systems?
International PV experts gather in San Jose Nov 30 â€“Dec 1 to discuss how to drive down LCOE and boost MW output through improved balance of systems engineering.
What is the future for utility scale solar? According to recent reports and commitment from utilities in the Southwest and East coast USA, the future is optimistic. SEIA recently announced that utilitiesâ€™ solar megawatts added to the grid grew from 169 MW in 2008 to 279 in 2009, a growth of 66 percent in a year when electricity demand as a whole declined as the result of an economic downturn.
The PV industry might have expanded very rapidly in the residential and commercial market, but now the utility market has opened it is a different ball game with new rules to abide by. Firstly the market is intensely competitive with current and new players fighting for the same projects and resources. Secondly every cent per kilowatt hour is scrutinised and is the key factor in getting a project off the ground.
To stand out from the crowd and companies have to develop technical strategies that drives down the LCOE of a plant but maintains high efficiency. With PV module prices stabilising, it means quick fix cuts to lower the LCOE cannot be easily achieved. Also it is undesirable to have utility scale plants that use poor quality components that cause inefficiencies in harvested energy and increased plant down time from extra operations and maintenance.
Also, utilities willingness to incorporate more solar in portfolio means that securing PPAs is no longer the challenge it used to be, but instead the hard bit comes when ensuring the plant performs to terms of the agreement.
There are some companies in the US and Europe that has been in the PV business for many years and has experience in designing, engineering and constructing the largest PV plants in the world. Also instrumental to the a plantâ€™s efficiency are the component manufactures that have developed innovative products that reduce efficiency loss, whether it by from the inverter, wiring, interconnection, mounting or trackers, the list is endless.
However for the first time all this expertise will be contained in one room for 2 days in San Jose at the Utility Scale PV Yield Optimization Conference and Expo on November 30 â€“ December 1. Top speakers presenting include; Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, EnXco, Sun Power, Juwi Solar, Phoenix Solar, Southern California Edison, PV Powered, Satcon, SMUD and many more. Heidi Hafes, Event Director of the event said â€˜this event is a melting pot of experience from the international PV market, and we are really excited to have a US partner, the Rocky Mountain Institute and a European partner the Leonardo Energy Group, who will have helped shape the agenda to reflect the needs of the PV community, making this a must attend event for those serious about large scale PV plants.â€™
If you like to find out more information about the event or meet with these experts visit