Solar Power Plant Reliability – Why Should We Care?

Solar is following wind power by a few years in its meteoric path to volume, and has the opportunity to avoid the difficult early stage lessons that wind and nuclear industries had to experience the hard way. The methods and roadmap to reduce long term power plant risk is clear: test new technologies before deploying in volume, establish consistent industry standards for structural design, and utilize well established technical predictive tools to evaluate and account for long term maintenance costs. Failed companies and impaired project assets which act as a brake on industry growth can be easily prevented.

System Design Using Sungrow String Inverters

String inverters are becoming the most common style of inverter used with PV power systems ranging from 500kW to 20MW.  The goal of good system designers is to construct systems that maximize overall performance, while keeping the inverters operating within their design limits.  This paper is a very clear and easy explanation of the best ways to select string sizes as well as the optimum DC to AC ratios for the Sungrow string inverters.  Understanding the relationship between the string voltage, MPPT operations within the inverter, and how to take advantage of the 110% “overload” capacity will help maximize both system performance and the return on investment for systems that properly employ Sungrow string inverters.

Utility Security: Exceeding Mandates to Mitigate Risk

Security is more than just a regulatory-driven necessity for utilities; it has become a business imperative. Most utilities can no longer do business effectively or efficiently without internet of things (IoT) technology; and recent events in the Ukraine have shown that large-scale attacks against power grids can succeed. Beginning July 1, 2016, utilities must comply with NERC’s Critical Infrastructure Protection standard, v6, which features an expanded scope and emphasis on security, compared to previous NERC CIP regimes. Most U.S. utilities already enjoy a relatively high level of awareness and sophistication about cybersecurity, compared to other industries — but there are some common weak spots. To respond effectively to ever-shifting cyber threats and vulnerabilities, utilities must adopt a risk-based security approach that exceeds regulatory requirements. This paper recommends an integrated utility security program that encompasses physical and digital security technology, staffing and training, leadership support, cross-departmental collaboration and cross-sector coordination.

Mercatus Global Advanced Energy Insights Report: Vol. IV

While the growing pains of a rapidly transforming industry are becoming more prominent, the trend towards growth in advanced energy is becoming increasingly clear. Major energy companies are now evaluating the most effective strategies to navigate this changing landscape, but the path is uncertain. To guide energy producers along the way, Mercatus has designed the Advanced Energy Insights Report, providing key insights into conditions and trends that are emerging in the advanced energy power generation market.

The report highlights:

  • Outlooks and forecasts into new power generation capacity
  • The surge of global investment into emerging markets
  • Market forces driving diversification across power generation technologies
  • Key trends and developments in the US Market

In addition, Mercatus outlines best practices and strategies for a transitioning energy market, so that power producers can realign their strategies to keep up with the advancing energy future. Download the report to learn more.

PV Module Reliability Scorecard Report 2016

DNV GL (formerly PV Evolution Labs), a global firm that delivers world-renowned testing, certification and advisory services to the entire energy value chain, is proud to present the 2016 PV Module Reliability Scorecard which provides unparalleled technical comparisons of PV module reliability. With full-life field data more than twenty years away and without access to publicly available data comparing long-term module reliability by vendor, how can buyers and investors factor quality into their procurement discussions?

Over the past few years independent lab data has established a critical role in evaluating PV module quality and long term reliability. DNV GL’s PV module testing lab, founded in 2010, was the first lab to offer PV equipment testing services focused at the downstream market (banks, developers, IPPs, etc.). The PVEL-GTM PV Module Reliability Scorecard aims to address the lack of publicly available long-term PV module data. The evaluation includes environmental testing that goes beyond traditional module certification testing. With its supplier-specific performance analysis, the Scorecard can help investors and developers generate quality-backed procurement strategies to ensure long-term project viability.