Tag Archives: solar

Italy’s large-scale PV challenges

In this blog post, Barbara Orlandi, project engineer at MWH (Italy) and winner of the Best Paper Awards 2011 for Renewable Energy World Europe explores the main technical, contractual and economic aspects of developing large-scale PV plants.

Italy’s Conto Energia photovoltaic (PV) support scheme has driven significant market development, but there are many aspects to consider when installing a PV plant. These include technical feasibility, production estimates and authorization issues, as well as profitability and supporting commercial contracts.

Technical aspects

The main component of a PV plant is the PV module, which has a big impact on the plant investment cost due to a direct proportionality between efficiency and price. Plants are dimensioned and designed according to the panels’ nominal power, but the plant’s actual performance will be determined by the panels’ real output: the flash test peak power.

Performance of a PV plant is also determined by the system integration. The dimensioning, selection and position of the inverters used to convert DC to AC power should also be designed carefully.

Contractual considerations

Since large-scale PV plants are typically developed under a project financing scheme, payments occur at milestones set within the EPC contract and are split among project phases. The trend is to pay 10-15 per cent at the signing of the contract, 65-80 per cent proportional to the work progress and to leave 10-15 per cent at the Provisional Acceptance Certificate (PAC), which is released after the Provisional Acceptance Test (PAT) execution.

Economic factors

In order to be successful, large-scale PV plants must identify the optimum balance between technology and economics. This optimisation has to be applied throughout the project from the design phase to plant construction and commissioning. Several factors will impair plant performance, including design choices, optimal implementation of the designed solutions and the proper ‘tuning’ of the plant in the first years of operation.

At this year’s Renewable Energy World Europe delegates will have the chance to attend sessions addressing ‘The Race for Solar Success’ and ‘Solar at Scale’. For a full list of the conference tracks and sessions please visit the pre-show guide.

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What to expect at Renewable Energy World Europe 2011

David Appleyard, Conference Director for Renewable Energy World gives an overview of what visitors can expect from the event….

As Conference Director and on behalf of events organiser PennWell, the advisory board, speakers, exhibitors and sponsors, I am delighted to invite you to Milan this June for the 2011 Renewable Energy World Europe conference and exhibition.

Despite the current economic climate, the renewable energy sector has nonetheless witnessed strong growth in recent years, outperforming almost all other technology groups. Indeed, the World Energy Council has estimated that the market was worth US$635 billion in 2010 and by 2020, experts predict that investments in wind and solar power will have risen to trillions of dollars. In Europe, much of this growth is being driven by legislation, in particular European Commission rulings which specify that a fifth of all energy consumption in EU member countries must come from renewable sources by 2020. Given the scale of such an objective, and the implications of failure, it is clear that developing renewable energy has never been more challenging or exciting.

It is with that in mind that we welcome delegates to Renewable Energy World Europe, our unique cross-technology event and multi-track conference with presentations and panel discussion sessions to bring you up to speed with all the latest on renewable technologies, strategies and implementation. Along with a unique opportunity to develop the role of renewable energies within the context of the wider energy complex, Renewable Energy World offers you the chance to not only discuss commercial and financial prospects, but to also do vital business. It is the must attend energy event this summer.

Both conference and exhibition floor attract the industry’s leading professionals and key decision makers, whose innovation and expertise are helping to shape the future of renewable energy production and usage.

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The energy industry takes a more strategic approach to renewables

There can be no denying the growing impact of renewables on Europe’s energy landscape. Since January 2009, wind power alone has generated more than 300 TWh of electricity throughout the region.

Renewable energies such as hydro, wind, solar and biomass have found themselves at the forefront of the European energy industry over recent years on the back of a policy agenda focused on climate change, security of energy supply and improving regional employment prospects. Consider, for example, the binding EU-wide target to source 20% of Europe’s energy needs from renewables by 2020 and the role this has, and will continue to have, on its development.

The task of convincing decision-makers of the potential of renewable technologies has been largely achieved, but challenges remain nonetheless. Having proven their potential as a commercially viable prospect, we are now beginning to witness the energy industry take a more strategic approach to renewables and the ways in which it can be integrated into Europe’s energy framework – from R&D through to investment and implementation.

Drawing on the expertise of prominent stakeholders in the industry who will be presenting at the forthcoming Renewable Energy World Europe event, conference director David Appleyard, presents a programme which addresses the changes that have taken place in the industry as the sector has transformed itself from niche interest to a major player in the global energy arena.

With good business sense the key requirement for executing a plausible renewable energy agenda, issues under discussion include policy, development, technology and operations and maintenance, alongside the hot button issue of how to integrate renewable electricity into the grid. Renewable energy finances will also be considered, revealing how commercial interests, too, can reap the benefits of the new energy landscape.

Renewable Energy World Europe 2011, Europe’s leading renewable energy conference and exhibition will be held in Milan from 7-9th June.

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