Photovoltaic (PV)-powered generation will account for more than half of the 54.5 GW of new utility-scale electric generating capacity forecasted for 2023, according to recent data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Forty-one percent of this new solar capacity will come in Texas and California, with an expected 7.7 GW and 4.2 GW of respective additions.
Solar energy has emerged as the frontrunner for the cheap, effective, renewable energy needed to drive the decarbonization transition into a net zero future. Steadily decreasing PV energy costs, increasing module efficiency, and growing corporate and institutional investments will only maintain this momentum for the future.
Despite the optimistic signs, lingering uncertainty remains. Some utility-scale solar project development or engineering, procurement, and construction (EPCs) firms might have concerns about getting projects completed and commissioned this year. Ultimately, this approach will only create unnecessary hesitancy that will limit potential.
Although these concerns have merit, an all-in-one utility solar solution, like TrinaPro, can mitigate project risks so that developers and EPCs don’t have to limit their potential and can start taking advantage of more utility-scale solar opportunities.
PV Investments Growing, but Non-Cost Challenges Remain
Massive federal climate change legislation, urgent corporate environmental, sustainability, and governance (ESG) mandates, and growing institutional investments have created a solid financial foundation to accelerate renewable energy deployment. But now that the cleantech sector has access to the money it’s needed for decades, non-cost challenges have moved to the forefront of obstacles hindering installations.
Non-cost challenges include red tape from permitting gridlock, ever-growing interconnection queues, and supply chain issues. Additionally, community issues, like land-use restrictions, skilled labor shortages, and local Not-In-My-Backyard (NIMBY) backlash, have also become significant non-cost challenges for utility-solar development.
The clogged interconnection process will be the most difficult to resolve of these challenges. Over the last ten years, just 23% of all clean energy projects in interconnection queues have successfully connected to the grid and started generation. Further complicating this problem, the time projects spent in queues before being built has nearly doubled over the past 20 years. Between 2000-2010, projects spent about 2.1 years in the interconnection queue. Since then, the waiting period has spiked to around 3.7 years, leaving about 1,400 GW of energy generation and storage capacity seeking grid connection.
Although shifting this tectonic interconnection gridlock won’t happen overnight, utility-scale project developers and EPCs can still identify ways to mitigate procurement, installation, and performance risks. Otherwise, these potential non-cost risks can cause delays that derail a project, making it unable to meet its scheduled interconnection timeline, or they can lead to labor or equipment overruns that quickly turn into real cost challenges.
Stop Paying for Solar Tracker Steel That Doesn’t Provide Value
While overcoming non-cost challenges has grown in importance, price control remains a top priority. And when it comes to a project’s bottom line, developers and EPCs need to know every component in the bill of materials will ultimately help lower levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) to improve overall project value.
However, all too often, project stakeholders will discover too late that the solar trackers they’ve installed don’t boost power gains enough to offset the initial cost of the trackers. In scenarios like this, the trackers only added an unnecessary expense to the project budget.
Instead of paying for steel that doesn’t lower LCOE or expedite ROI, developers and EPCs need to deploy a trusted solar tracker solution that not only boosts power gains but also alleviates some of the non-cost challenges mentioned above.
And that’s just what TrinaTracker accomplishes.
The TrinaTracker’s patented spherical bearing mechanism makes installation easier, which helps control labor costs. Even though TrinaTracker delivers long-term reliability with no incidence of failure during a ten-year period, its innovative spherical bearing mechanism allows for rapid repair to mitigate the risk of potential downtime. Additionally, this unique mechanism gives the TrinaTracker more flexibility to deploy in complex terrains, opening the door for developers and EPCs to be creative with land-use opportunities.
TrinaTracker has widespread compatibility with most major PV modules. But unlike other module original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), Trina Solar is the only module OEM that also makes a reliable, high-quality solar tracker.
Trina Solar maximizes PV project value by bringing these two major utility-scale solar components together under one roof. When pairing TrinaTracker and 695W+ 210mm Vertex N modules in Trina’s low-voltage, high-power system design, a utility solar project will require fewer Vertex N modules than those using panels with 182mm solar cell tech. This corresponds to reduced costs for modules, installation, and transportation.
At the same time, TrinaTracker’s SmartCloud algorithm gives operators the sitewide O&M control solution for guaranteeing improved power gains to offset the cost of the steel, lower LCOE, and boost ROI.
The One-Stop Shop to Optimize Solar Project Value
Merely using the most affordable PV modules for utility-scale solar projects won’t deliver the streamlined design, procurement, and installation phases needed to maintain a competitive edge. Ensuring solar projects remain on schedule, on budget, and “on expectation” will require strategic planning from pre-design through installation to long after commissioning.
TrinaPro, the one-stop shop utility-scale solution, provides crucial assistance for project developers and EPCs to achieve their desired results.
TrinaPro bundles the major PV components together, eliminating the need for project managers or EPCs to deal with a bevy of suppliers and distributors. Then, by bundling major components, the TrinaPro team also ensures widespread interoperability to avoid the chances of installation problems. And after commissioning, Trina’s industry-leading warranties mean owners and operators enjoy long-term confidence in their system’s performance and power generation.
Reach out to our dedicated US-based TrinaPro team to learn more about how we can help developers and manufacturers expand their utility-scale solar potential.
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