Innovative Solar Systems says ‘overwhelming demand’ for its utility-scale solar farms is pushing up prices

Solar-Farm-Prices-Going-Up

Solar Farm Prices Going Up January 1st, 2018.

Innovative Solar Systems currently has two featured solar farm portfolios per month in the 500 MW-1 GW size range for interested utility-scale solar buyers. According to Innovative Solar, these portfolios typically afford buyers 13 percent IRR’s or higher and these deals sell quickly due to demand in the Solar Farm asset market place.

Well, if it’s any indication of the health of the value of solar right now, Innovative Solar says overwhelming demand, prices will be increasing on its “Shovel Ready” projects after Jan. 1, 2018 and the company will also introduce an Energy Royalty Agreement whereby each project will be required to pay ISS anywhere from 5-15 percent of the long term energy revenue from the project over the entire life of the project.

These Shovel Ready projects currently sell for a flat 12 cents/watt and an additional 85-90 cents/watt is charged under a construction EPC contract if ISS builds the projects for the buyer so when the transaction is finished the buyer is typically paying approximately $1 watt (ALL-IN) to own these Solar Farms.

The typical demographic of the buyers for these portfolios are any large-scale billion dollar fund and investors that can place a total of $60 MM-$120 MM over a 6-18 month period. The typical life of a Solar Farm asset is now 40-50 years and these assets are considered by many the crown jewel of investments due to their low risk, stable, long term returns.

Mounting Pressure: Today’s large-scale PV boom demands new levels of service from racking companies

 

— Solar Builder magazine

Infiswift wants to update solar performance management with swiftPV IoT solution

 

At Solar Power International, infiswift, an enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) platform leader, is launching swiftPV, which leverages IoT technology to change how the solar industry uses data to optimize the performance of PV systems. The suite of products and services allows PV power plant owners and operators to connect diverse PV assets and distill insights from the data, ultimately increasing solar plant performance.

infiswift pv

“Solar owners and operators currently rely on third party monitoring and SCADA systems to provide data on the operation and performance of plants, but these systems are very costly, inflexible and limit data access,” said Arup Barat, Co-CEO and Chief Commercial Officer at infiswift. “With over 85 years of team experience in the industry, we understand these pain points and the need to modernize PV management solutions with storage, frequency regulation, edge analytics and more in mind. In swiftPV, we have built a cutting-edge, customizable and cost-effective data solution for the future of PV.”

Infiswift will be demonstrating swiftPV and the underlying IoT technology at booth 6610 at Solar Power International in Las Vegas on September 10-13. 

The swiftPV suite of products and services includes ‘blocks’ that can be used to build a solution – each customer selects what’s right for them.

The current swiftPV blocks include:

– Data ingest: This core block is built on the infiswift IoT platform, which connects and manages all field devices and cloud feeds regardless of vendor. This highly scalable platform ensures your data is properly routed from origination to destination in near real-time.
– Apps: SwiftPV apps use custom mobile and web visual interfaces for each stakeholder on the team.
– Cloud Historian: This is a private database with open data access and flexible setup to cover all data needs.
– Reports: SwiftPV produces reports with tailored recommendations and data that can be updated and customized for delivery when needed.
– PV Performance Services (PVPS): Professional engineering support is available to monitor, analyze and interpret complex data.

infiswift pv

“Connecting several different inverter brands, a weather forecast feed and grid pricing in one place and presenting it in an accessible, usable way is a challenge that hasn’t been properly solved until now,” said Sarva Thulasingam, Co-CEO and CTO at infiswift. “Our hybrid IoT architecture makes this approach to performance solutions unique and ensures we’re delivering a truly interoperable infrastructure that will serve OEMs, operators and other stakeholders into the future. SwiftPV can connect any device from any manufacturer, bring in third party data feeds and perform analyses before ever reaching the cloud, allowing customers to centralize data for a full PV portfolio.”

Infiswift is currently working with several customers to roll out full scale implementations. One way swiftPV will be implemented is with an owner-operator of a portfolio of utility-scale PV systems who may want to bring data from each site together with data from a Financial Asset Management suite and WOMS system. SCADA systems can’t support this very cost-effectively, so there’s generally a more fragmented approach to gathering data for each plant. By using the data ingest, apps, reports and historian blocks from swiftPV, the owner-operator can visualize and access data in a central location from multiple inverter vendors, streamline analysis and make significant operational improvements.

For another plant, the swiftPV team was engaged for a PVPS project to validate and analyze inverter and other plant data for a multi-MW site. Without any site visits, the team identified misaligned sensors and underperforming strings. With more accurate data, the customer was able to improve system performance without hiring several additional analysts.

Transparent utility data key factor in grid modernization, says new SEIA paper

— Solar Builder magazine

Appeals court eases pathway for utility-scale solar development in North Carolina

north carolina solar

In a unanimous decision issued June 6, 2017, the North Carolina Court of Appeals held that the application for issuance of a conditional use permit (CUP) by Innovative Solar 55 LLC to construct a solar farm was wrongfully denied by the Robeson County Board of County Commissioners.

This is only the second North Carolina appellate opinion addressing CUP applications for utility-scale solar development. The decision makes it more difficult for opponents to successfully oppose a CUP permit application without substantial evidence to support such opposition.

“This decision will have important consequences for both the solar industry and land use law in general,” said Tarrant. “We understand and appreciate the difficult job municipal boards have in considering land use decisions. But the Court of Appeals has reaffirmed that such decisions must be based on material, competent evidence, not just vague, unsubstantiated allegations of harm. We are pleased that this opinion recognizes the state’s public policy favoring renewable energy and will allow IS 55 to move forward with this project.”

In 2015, the Robeson County Board of County Commissioners denied a CUP application submitted by IS 55 in a 5-1 vote, even though IS 55 presented evidence satisfying the conditions for CUP issuance and the opponents presented no meaningful evidence to the contrary. Smith Moore Leatherwood, on behalf of IS 55, appealed the decision to the Superior Court of Robeson County, and ultimately to the North Carolina Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals issued the unanimous decision in June 2017 which directs the Robeson County Board of County Commissioners to issue the CUP permit to IS 55.

SEIA submits prehearing brief on Suniva petition to ITC — read the summary here

 

— Solar Builder magazine

EIA: Utility-scale solar to see 36 percent increase in 2017

The updated Short-Term Energy Outlook from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows total U.S. electricity generation from utility-scale power plants averaged 11,145 GWh per day in 2016. Forecast U.S. generation declines by 1.2% in 2017, which mostly reflects expectations of milder temperatures in the third quarter of 2017 compared with the same period last year. Forecast generation grows by 1.8% in 2018 based largely on a forecast of colder temperatures during the first quarter 2018 compared with the same period in 2017 and on the expectation of a growing economy.

What about solar?

Nevada solar utility

Solar power, which provided 1% of total U.S. electric generation in 2016, is expected to see the largest rate of growth in utility-scale electricity generating capacity of any energy source, increasing 36 percent this year and more than 10% in 2018.

Total utility-scale solar electricity generating capacity at the end of 2016 was 22 GW. EIA expects solar capacity additions in the forecast will bring total utility-scale solar capacity to 29 GW by the end of 2017 and to 32 GW by the end of 2018.

All of the rest

EIA expects the share of U.S. total utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas to fall from an average of 34% in 2016 to about 31% in 2017 as a result of higher natural gas prices, increased generation from renewables and coal, and lower electricity demand. Coal’s forecast generation share rises from 30% last year to almost 32% in 2017. The projected generation shares for natural gas and coal are nearly identical in 2018, averaging between 31% and 32%.

Coal exports for the first five months of 2017 were 37 million short tons (MMst), which was 60% higher than coal exports over the same period last year. EIA expects growth in coal exports to slow in the coming months, with exports for all of 2017 forecast at 70 MMst, 17% above the 2016 level. The increase in coal exports contributes to an expected 58 MMst (8%) increase in coal production in 2017. In 2018, coal production is forecast to increase by 10 MMst (1%).
Wind electricity generating capacity at the end of 2016 was 81 gigawatts (GW). EIA expects wind capacity additions in the forecast will bring total wind capacity to 88 GW by the end of 2017 and to 102 GW by the end of 2018.

After declining 1.7% in 2016, energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are projected to decrease 0.3% in 2017 and then to increase 2.0% in 2018. Energy-related CO2 emissions are sensitive to changes in weather, economic growth, and energy prices.

— Solar Builder magazine

Utility-scale solar generator costs declined 21 percent in two years

Based on EIA survey data for new, utility-scale electric generators (those with a capacity greater than one megawatt), capacity-weighted average construction costs for many generator types have fallen in recent years. Annual changes in construction costs include the effects of differences in the geographic distribution of installed capacity between years, differences in technology types, and other changes in capital and financing costs.

utility scale solar generator costs

EIA began collecting data on construction costs for new utility-scale generators installed in 2013. The data for each year reflect projects completed in that year. Because power plants are often constructed over several years, reported costs are not necessarily indicative of the cost of a project initiated in that year. Government grants, tax benefits, and other incentives are excluded from these costs.

Construction costs alone do not determine the economic attractiveness of a generation technology. Other factors such as fuel costs (for generators that consume fuel), utilization rates, financial incentives, and state policies also affect project economics and, in turn, the kinds of power plants that are built.

In 2015, wind, natural gas, and solar were the most commonly added capacity types, adding 8.1 gigawatts (GW), 6.5 GW, and 3.2 GW, respectively. In the case of wind and solar, almost all of these additions (98% and 91%, respectively) were at new plants, as opposed to new generators at existing plants.

utility scale construction solar pv

The cost of utility-scale solar photovoltaic generators declined 21% between 2013 and 2015, from $3,705/kW to $2,921/kW. More than half of the utility-scale solar photovoltaic systems installed in the United States track the sun through the day, and in general, those systems cost slightly more than those installed at fixed angles. Construction costs differed slightly by technology type, with crystalline silicon systems (73% of the 2015 installed solar photovoltaic capacity) costing slightly less than systems with thin-film panels made using cadmium telluride.

— Solar Builder magazine