Solar Power

Online example shown below, based on 5 x 3-4 hour sessions.

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Course objectives – is this for you?

This course is intended for those seeking a time-effective, wide-ranging and independent perspective on solar power.

You will leave with a clearly explained, business-focused summary of solar PV technology and its cost determinants, utilising learnings taken from a global perspective. You want to gain a good understanding of the key factors in the solar power business from an integrated, multidisciplinary and commercial viewpoint, including: resource assessment, technology trends, economic competitiveness, channels-to-market, financing influences and risk, project development processes and best practices.


Session 1: What makes a solar power plant?

Solar farm components and performance

  • Reviewing the infrastructure that makes up a utility-scale solar power project

  • An up-to-date review of PV technologies and performance

  • System losses: the key sources and the impacts on energy output

  • Identifying key areas of project underperformance and output risk

  • Considerations in capacity and project sizing, including the inverter and the grid

New technology and solar power plant trends

  • New and emerging trends, from module to balance of system components

  • Solutions and systems to optimise performance, operations and maintenance

  • Adding battery storage to solar power plants: where and how?

  • Floating solar

  • Hybrid renewable power projects

Session 2: Solar resource assessment & project design

The importance of understanding the solar energy resource

  • A business person’s guide to solar data gathering, terminology and variability

  • Quantifying the energy (and revenue) available in contrasting locations

  • Initial resource prospecting: illustrated using online tools and calculators

  • The processes in undertaking a bankable solar resource assessment

  • Identifying the key business case uncertainties in solar resource assessment

From solar resource to energy output (and revenue generation)

  • Exploring solar ‘variability’: its timescales and revenue implications

  • Quantifying the impacts of solar module orientation and tracking

  • Revisiting power plant design and considerations such as capacity and storage

  • How market factors are driving alternative module layout trends

  • Illustrative exercise: calculating the expected outputs from a solar array

Session 3: Solar power ‘on the ground’: project development and delivery

Processes, milestones and location choice

  • Development, Construction & Operations: timelines, processes and risks.

  • Key planning and permitting issues, including local content

  • Stakeholder identification and management (illustrated example)

  • Resource and site assessment, including grid access

  • Environmental impact assessment

Key contracts and risk transfer

  • The Requirements for bankability and financial close

  • Off-takers and power purchase agreements (PPAs)

  • Turnkey construction and EPC (engineering, construction & procurement)

  • Grid interconnection

  • Operations and maintenance (O&M) and service provision

  • Illustrated with contract and template examples

Session 4: Selling solar power

Selling utility-scale solar electricity: the growing channel-to-market options

  • Policy, pricing, risk and the business case

  • Auctions and tenders: comparing examples from international markets

  • Direct sales: corporate buyers and PPAs

  • Electricity markets (‘merchant’ sales)

  • Multi-channel and mixed revenue stream business approaches

Understanding the changing value of solar electricity

  • Key policy and subsidy drivers and trends (including the differences between ‘subsidy’ and ‘support’)

  • Curtailment, negative prices and the myth of “free solar electricity”

  • Value cannibalisation risks at increasing levels of solar power penetration

  • Capturing capacity-based revenues from solar power projects (including contracting examples)

  • New business models for solar power project, including participation in virtual power plants (VPPs)

Session 5: The economics and financing of solar power projects

Project financial analysis

  • Quantifying the key financial variables (costs, revenues, risks and returns)

  • Reviewing the cash flow and risk/return variables behind a successful solar power project business case (Excel model illustration)

  • Key uncertainties around costs and revenues (and sensitivity analysis)

  • The sources and costs of finance (and their impact on energy price competitiveness)

  • Arriving at a bid price in a competitive auction

Examining key trends and future resilience from a financial perspective

  • The economics of integrating solar + storage: balancing costs, risks and revenues

  • New technologies, project flexibility and bankability (factors to achieve it)

  • How project development processes reduce financial risk

  • Assessing the future prospects for solar power: high growth, low profits?

  • A checklist for undertaking opportunity and risk analysis for solar power projects

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