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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Solar companies are always looking for new markets in an effort to remain competitive. Monica Wilson offers some advice on how developers and contractors should navigate the legal labyrinth that will face them as they go global.
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Investors are popularly characterised as risk averse and fickle when it comes to new technologies. David Giordano, of the world’s largest asset management firm, BlackRock, tells John Parnell what has persuaded the investment community that solar is a safe bet.

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