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Utility-Scale Solar Power Plant Fundamentals and
Solar Supply Chain Essentials

January 18-19,20-21 2022 | Online

Sponsored by EUCI

Click Here to register (Utility Scale: $1295; Supply Chain: $1195; Both: $2295)

Two Courses: Utility-Scale Solar Power Plant Fundamentals and Solar Supply Chain Essentials

Utility-Scale Solar Power Plant Fundamentals

Utility-scale solar power plants now constitute the largest number of facilities under development in the power sector.  Industry experts confirm that trend will hold and even accelerate as the demand for renewable energy resources escalates. Thus, the pool is expanding of project developers, investors and utilities who must understand how to plan, develop, and interconnect these plants to the existing electric grid.

This course is designed to familiarize attendees with the key elements of planning solar power plant resources as well as design and development elements, including an understanding of component function and selection, site selection, and operational optimization. A broad review of development and capital cost deployment, coupled with energy production modeling techniques, will provide course participants with the basics of cost-of-energy analysis and how design decisions can impact overall plant economics. Solar industry practitioners will also review procurement best practices, along with design and equipment procurement considerations to reduce risk for asset owners.

Learning Outcomes  

Attendees at this course will:  

  • Discuss the fundamentals of solar utility-scale generation and its distinctive requirements on transmission and distribution systems  
  • Review fundamental design and system integration requirements of utility-scale and large-scale commercial solar projects  
  • Assess cost estimating and EPC considerations
  • Evaluate independent engineer’s (IE) role and functions
  • Examine energy modeling fundamentals
  • Analyze design optimization considerations
  • Evaluate risk assessment, risk allocation, and performance guarantees
  • Describe third-party installation review, testing and commissioning
  • Identify procurement considerations
  • Assess resource planning for solar and technological advances
  • Define core financial modeling elements



9:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. Central Time

9:00 – 9:15 a.m. :: Overview and Introductions

9:15 – 10:45 a.m. :: Solar Building Blocks

  • History of solar technologies and industry overview
  • Line diagram of PV plant
  • Photovoltaic solar modules
  • DC electrical – string and conductor sizing, protection
  • Inverters types and design considerations
  • AC collection and system protection
  • Transformers
  • Power plant control (SCADA) and monitoring
  • Other BOS components
  • PV math – data sheet on components

10:45 – 11:00 a.m. :: Morning Break

11:00 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. :: Power Plant Design & Engineering Component Evaluation/ Specification/Optimization

  • Site studies
  • DC design
  • AC and medium voltage collection
  • High voltage and interconnect
  • SCADA and instrumentation
  • Spacing design
  • GIS
  • Inverter loading and tradeoffs
  • Row spacing and tradeoffs
  • Metrics and myths for evaluating optimal plant designs – lowest cost of energy and AC capacity factors
  • Procurement considerations
  • Evaluating storage

12:45 – 1:30 p.m. :: Lunch Break

1:30 – 3:00 p.m. :: Owner’s Engineer, Testing and Commissioning

This presentation will address the elements of an independent (owner’s) engineer’s role and the related concept of commissioning and how they should be executed:

  • Development phase support
  • Permitting phase support
  • Interconnection request support
  • EPC request for proposal (RFP) support
  • Construction/commissioning support
  • Support during operations
  • Verify applicable equipment and systems are installed according to the contract documents, manufacturer’s recommendations and industry accepted minimum standards
  • Verify contractors perform adequate operation checkout
  • Verify, document proper performance of equipment, systems
  • Verify that the operations and maintenance (O&M) documentation left on-site is complete
  • Verify owner’s operating personnel are adequately trained

3:00 – 3:15 p.m. :: Afternoon Break

3:15 – 4:45 p.m. :: Cost Estimating and EPC Considerations

  • Site screening – what makes a cheap solar site?
    • Terrain and soil conditions
    • Hydrological impacts
    • Environmental mitigation
    • Labor and site access
    • Interconnection location
  • Site surveys to reduce site risk
  • Construction permitting
  • Costs associated with the power system
    • Civil works and site preparation
    • Modules and DC collection
    • Inverters and AC collection
    • HV and sub-station
    • Other balance of system/plant costs
  • “Soft” costs
  • Supplier considerations
  • Module warranty and degradation
  • Quality, reliability and testing protocols
  • Role of third-party certifications
  • Inspection services

4:45 p.m. :: Program Adjourns for Day


9:00 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. Central Time

9:00 – 10:00 a.m. :: Energy Modeling Fundamentals

  • Overview of available modeling tools
  • Evaluating weather data
  • Module mounting and shading
  • Overview of modeling losses
  • Mechanics of generating an accurate energy model
  • Energy tests, capacity tests, and performance guarantees
  • Review of energy production inputs
  • Overview of operational costs

10:00 – 11:00 a.m. :: Risk Assessment, Risk Allocation, Performance Guarantees

  • Risk assessment and identification
    • Best practices
    • Natural hazards
    • Contingent exposures
  • Risk allocation
    • Developer
    • EPC contractor
    • Vendor and supplier
    • Interconnection
    • Customer
    • Lender and equity finance
  • Insurance market
  • Bonds, surety and guarantees

11:00 – 11:15 a.m. :: Morning Break

11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. :: Procurement Considerations

  • Supplier considerations
  • Module warranty and degradation
  • Quality, reliability and testing protocols
  • Role of third-party certifications
  • Inspection services
  • Crafting the RFP solicitation
  • Responding to RFP solicitations

12:15 – 1:00 p.m. :: Lunch Break   

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. :: Solar + Storage

  • Drivers
  • Configurations
    • AC coupled
    • DC coupled
  • Site considerations
  • Equipment considerations
    • Components
    • Technologies
    • Electronics
    • Package solutions
  • Solar + storage design and planning sequence
    • Chicken
    • Egg
    • Breakfast

2:30 – 2:45 p.m. :: Afternoon Break 

2:45 – 4:15 p.m. :: Thinking with the End in Mind: Linking PV Plant Design Considerations to O&M

This segment explores linkages between key decisions made during the initial design phase and their impact on life cycle operations and maintenance (O&M) costs to better inform “thinking with the end in mind.” Given the accelerating investment in solar PV by electric utilities — and their emphasis towards holistic costs over the life of the plant, as compared to maximizing return on upfront capital expenditures — this is an increasingly important aspect in optimizing solar power plant design.   Yet, sound advice is not always followed.  Therefore, the discussion will also consider the consequences on an operating basis of how to deal with plant condition and performance issues when the design and development team didn’t/doesn’t follow O&M team guidance.  And, it will examine how the O&M team can effectively communicate its preferences to the design and development team in a fashion that can may circumvent the internal minefields that sometimes be-devil inconvenient truths. 

4:15 p.m. :: Course Adjournment


Solar Supply Chain Essentials: Challenges & Paths Forward

January 20-21, 2022 | Online

Just as the solar project development pipeline was on pace to deliver a flood of projects following a mild setback in 2020, its bright prospects in upcoming months are being shaded by gathering supply chain clouds.

This course will shine light on key elements of the solar project development supply chain, what the pressures are, how they may impact the timing as well as delivery of projects, and some possible counter-measures to lessen the impact on project development outcomes.

Learning Outcomes  

Attendees at this course will:  

  • Discuss solar supply chain drivers
  • Review market, other economic conditions, and externalities that affect the supply chain
  • Assess domestic and international government policies, incentives and disincentives that are distorting the supply chain
  • Evaluate the availability and supply chain conditions associated with specific solar project components
  • Identify supply chain challenges’ impact on contracting costs, LCOE, construction milestones and in-service dates
  • Analyze consequences of supply chain disruptions on industry build-out trajectory
  • Identify procurement considerations in vetting sources for equipment and suppliers
  • Examine strategies for minimizing project development delays due to supply chain disruptions



9:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. Central Time

9:20 – 10:45 a.m. :: Examination of Solar Supply Chain Drivers

  • Decarbonization
  • Raw material availability
  • LCOE
  • Supplier relationship(s) and financial strength
  • Risk management
  • Domestic supply chain

Market Conditions and Externalities that Affect the Supply Chain

  • Global demand for product
  • Fair trade interpretations
  • Social equity policies
  • Extreme weather events
  • China power supply rationing and outages due in part to coal import dispute w/Australia
  • Component detention (WRO)
  • Transportation logistics

10:45 – 11:00 a.m. :: Morning Break

11:00 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. :: Government Policies, Incentives & Disincentives

  • Economies
    • S.
    • China
    • Other
  • Tax, tariff, trade and other financial measures
  • Social equity dimensions

12:45 – 1:30 p.m. :: Lunch Break

1:30 – 3:00 p.m. :: Evaluating Specific Component Supply Chains

  • Modules
  • Mounting and racking systems
  • Storage
  • Electronics and related equipment

3:00 – 3:15 p.m. :: Afternoon Break

3:15 – 4:45 p.m. :: Identifying Supply Chain Challenges’ Impact on…

  • Contracting costs and LCOE
  • Existing contracts and PPAs
  • Prospective contracts and PPAs
  • Construction milestones and in-service dates
  • Spare parts and inventory

4:45 pm :: Program Adjourns for Day


9:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Central Time

9:00 – 10:30 a.m. :: Sizing Up Consequences of Supply Chain Disruptions on…

  • Industry build-out trajectory
  • De-carbonization goal attainment
  • Development of domestic supply chain
  • Cost predictability and containment
  • OEMs, Developers, Suppliers

Vetting Sources for Equipment and Suppliers

10:30 – 10:45 a.m. :: Morning Break

10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. :: Strategies for Minimizing Project Development Delays Due to Supply Chain Disruptions

  • Mapping and auditing
  • Delivery
  • Contracts
  • Supplier disputes and relationship(s)
  • Financial strength
  • Sourcing channels
  • Sudden and rapid price escalation

12:15 p.m. :: Course Adjournment