Solar Energy Projects : Why do they Fail?Solar Energy could be used to generate Power through direct conversion of Sunlight by use of Photo Voltaic cells, commonly known as PV Solar. The other way is by the use of heat energy of the Sun to generate steam for running power turbines, commonly known as CSP or Concentrated Solar Power.
|Fig. 1 Global Cumulative PV Installation (in MW)|
Despite good number of Solar installations and a very good experience there are a number of Solar Projects fail. The failure cannot be necessarily attributed to Technology aspects alone but also to financial and other aspects. Read on to know more including a few Case-studies.
(Did you check out - Solar CAPEX vs OPEX / RESCO comparative analysis)
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|Fig.2 Degrading output for a wrongly chosen PV Solar Technology for a |
5 MW PV Solar Power Project
|Fig. 3 Micro-cracks visible through Electro-Luminence (EL) |
tests and not to a naked eye
|Fig. 4 Hot Spots in PV Array revealed through Thermography|
[Others are reading - Solar Energy : OPEX / RESCO vs CAPEX - which is the right one for you?]
It becomes difficult to refinance such projects due to the quality of components used and at times the drafting of the agreement. It is thus imperative to consider all the financing options (there are various options and not just BOOT and EPC) which should be considered before execution of the project.
Even for a OPEX or a 3rd party financed project it is necessary to evaluate all possible factors and draft the PPA accordingly. This is important as the PPA is for 15 to 20 years and the rooftop / ground of the off-taker is blocked for that period. The cost of opportunity needs to be incorporated with all future eventualities.
In the utility scale projects, which are basically multi-MW projects the State drives the PPA conditions primarily about payment security, transfer of ownership, tariff escalation etc.
[Have you read Solar Energy FAQs?]
In the rooftop space there are many more aspects especially related to net-metering. Many of the States (viz. Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh etc.) have adopted Net-metering policy. Under this policy a PV Solar power generator could export excess power to the grid. Each State has defined the tariff, banking period, rollover period etc. inline with the State requirements. However it is necessary to understand the policy aspects in detail so as to avoid any issues.
A case in point is a developer which installed a small rooftop Solar project of 20 kW under the net-metering scheme in Maharashtra. The reason they opted for Net-metering scheme was the operating process plant (a small remote plant) was not operational over the weekends (Saturday and Sunday). In view of this the excess power would have been fed to the grid. However they failed to realize that the policy only allows 40% of rated transformer capacity under net-metering. Owing to this nearly 10 kW of power generated goes waste every weekend. Annually this would translate into a wastage of INR 80,000 over an investment of INR 13,00,000. The payback has become longer than anticipated.
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Enerco Energy Solutions LLP is one of the most experienced Solar Energy Consulting Companies with a Consulting & Advisory experience including TOP 10 Indian Companies as Clients. We offer the maximum number of Financing options possible for a Solar Energy Power Project.