Technical failures in PV projects

By David Moser; Caroline Tjengdrawira; Ulrike Jahn; Matthias v. Armansperg; Ioannis Thomas Theologitis

The aim of the Solar Bankability project is to establish a common practice for professional risk assessment, which will serve to reduce the risks associated with investments in PV projects. In this article the project team discusses a key aspect of this work: the development of a methodology for the assessment of the economic impact of failures occurring during operation but which might have originated in previous phases.

US solar finance: three talking points

By Danielle Ola, Solar Media

Over the past 12 months, the US solar business has been on a rollercoaster ride, with the high-profile bankruptcy of SunEdison and the merger of SolarCity and Tesla stealing the headlines. Danielle Ola talks to the experts about some of the key trends shaping the world of solar finance and investment in the US.

Financing trends in the solar industry

By Raj Prabhu, Mercom Capital Group

It was a turbulent year for solar finance in 2015 with big successes, more innovation and a few nasty surprises too. Mercom Capital’s Raj Prabhu takes a forensic look at solar finance in the last 12 months and the clues offered for the year ahead.

Reviving the stalled shift to solar self-consumption

By Gaëtan Masson, Becquerel Institute

Solar’s widely heralded shift to self-consumption models has failed to happen to any meaningful degree. But as it remains PV’s only viable future business model, it’s time to get the project back on track, writes Gaëtan Masson.

Opening up the finance markets for merchant solar

By Peter Fitzgerald, Brian Greene & Rachel Crouch, Chadbourne & Parke

As the economics of solar improve, merchant projects are already in place in Chile and various parts of the US. However, as lawyers from Chadbourne explain, financing them is not a straightforward business.

Solar securitisation – growing global opportunities

By Raymond Hudson, Solar segment director, DNV GL

Securitisation is emerging as a promising new source of finance for the solar industry. Raymond Hudson looks at its potential for future growth and some of the considerations for developers looking to go down the securitisation route.

Reducing risk in the secondary solar market

By Emanuele Tacchino, Alectris

Emanuele Tacchino outlines the lessons learned from the major solar secondary markets for helping investors utilise due diligence expertise to hedge risk and increase the long-term profitability of their asset acquisitions.

Innovative PPAs: Small print, big impact

By John Parnell, Deputy Head of Content

New solar fiance | Innovation in the solar industry is not limited to labs and fabs, with some creative financial engineering increasingly proving its worth. John Parnell looks at how power purchase agreement innovation can bridge the gap between cost-competitive and ‘nearly’ cost-competitive solar.

Warranty claims management from an IE perspective

By Bill Shisler, TUV Rheinland PTL; Matthias Heinze, TUV Rheinland PTL

Warranties | PV module manufacturers, O&M companies, owners, insurance companies and financial stakeholders employ independent engineers (IEs) to conduct plant surveys at critical milestones, such as impending plant warranty expiration (e.g. EPC warranty), or on a periodic basis. The result of the plant survey is a status report that identifies improvement potential and, in the case of specific failures or failure indicators, their corresponding root causes. Mitigating actions are mediated by the IE with all the involved stakeholders. Bill Shisler and Matthias Heinze of TUV Rheinland describe a procedure and a sample case for identifying and investigating the performance and possible safety shortcomings of PV modules, triggered by an impending asset sale.

Why Islamic finance and solar are a natural fit

By John Parnell, Deputy Head of Content

Future solar finance | Ahead of the Solar Finance & Investment Asia Conference in Singapore, Dr M. Rusydi of SGI Mitabu tells John Parnell how solar could tap into the potentially enormous investment opportunities offered by Islamic finance.

Whose waste is it anyway?

By Sara Ver-Bruggen, Freelance Journalist

PV waste | Europe is leading the way in efforts to regulate the disposal and recycling of old or discarded PV modules. Sara Ver-Bruggen investigates the extent to which the industry is complying with the rules and whether PV markets in other parts of the world are likely to follow Europe’s lead.

The land of rising risk?

By Fred Martin; Nick Morley

A significant part of the risk management process associated with large-scale solar PV installations is ‘technical due diligence’, which seeks to define and minimise all technical risks associated with the project. Fred Martin and Nick Morley of TÜV Rheinland explore due diligence challenges for PV power plants in Japan.

All about PV power plants: Challenges for technical bankability

By Boris Farnung; Björn Müller; Klaus Kiefer; Peter Bostock; John Sedgwick

More than ever, the global PV market provides attractive new investment opportunities, but the elements driving such rapid expansion also increase the risk of solar financial assets failing to meet long-term fiscal and performance goals. Boris Farnung, Björn Müller and Klaus Kiefer of Fraunhofer ISE, and Peter Bostock and John Sedgwick of VDE Americas explore major quality-assurance measures and the challenges today for achieving bankability of utility-scale PV plants.

The stamp of quality

By Ben Willis

Last year First Solar revealed that its 50MW Macho Springs project in New Mexico had become the first to receive a ‘Quality Tested’ certification from VDE and Fraunhofer ISE, as described on the previous pages. Ben Willis asks Azmat Siddiqi, First Solar’s senior vice president of quality and reliability, and John Sedgwick, president of VDE Americas Quality, what the accolade means.

Reliable models for PV power plant performance testing

By Evan Riley

PV power plants require proportionally more up-front capital investment to develop and build than their fossil fuel counterparts. Modelling the lifetime performance of a PV power plant is therefore a critical exercise in proving a project’s bankability and securing finance to cover that cost. However, inaccuracies and uncertainties in modelling techniques create risk in the structuring of project finance. Evan Riley of Black & Veatch explores methods for improving the reliability of performance models and how then can be used to demonstrate that a PV facility will meet expectations.