Category Archives: Solar

Inverter Sizing and Production Curtailments

Design engineering of solar power system includes inverter sizing.  Optimal inverter sizing must consider how much DC power will be produced by the solar array and how much AC power the inverter is able to output (its power rating).  Appropriate sizing will typically allow DC production greater than the AC power rating.  This article explains why inverter clipping or production curtailments help to maximize total power output

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Pumped Storage – Al Hattawi Dam, Dubai

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) will build the  first hydroelectric power station in the GCC.  DEWA will build a 250-MW pumped storage facility powered by solar PV.

HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA, announced the project.  HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai was also present.  

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Predicting Technology Progress and Solar Growth

Technology progress is a key to solar growth and pricing.  By extension, the ability to model technology progress is essential to understanding future energy supply and demand.

Solar innovation is widespread. Examples include  solar cell efficiency, module manufacturing, and learning innovations with solar system installation and operation. Solar pricing and growth are also supported by innovations in enabling technology, such as battery storage, smart grids and electric vehicles.

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Inverters – Central, String and Micro

A solar inverter is a key component in a grid-tied solar power system.  There are 3 types of grid tied inverters – central, string and micro inverters.  This article defines how an inverter works and compares the advantages and disadvantages of each inverter type.

What is an inverter?

An inverter converts the direct current (DC) from a generator into alternating current (AC) for grid and appliance use.

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SpatialPoints in R: Large Data Case Study

A common task in spatial data analysis is  extracting SpatialPoints inside a set of polygons or buffer zones.  Analysts can use standard GIS or map tools to extract a set of points within an area of interest using manual “point-and-click” routines. This method is easy, but will probably prove impractical, especially in cases involving big data.  The alternative is to train a machine to automatically extract the points in a polygon or buffer zone.  This post achieves that task and presents a case-study with R code.

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Cost Breakdown Structures for Solar PV Projects

Modules, inverters and balance of system costs define the total installed cost of a solar PV system.

The three cost components are very simple in nature.  In practice, total cost is defined using a detailed cost breakdown structure.  The structure must also be applied consistently across projects and over time.  The result can be improved cost modeling and management.

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The Renewable Energy “Duck Curve”

The California grid operator (CAISO) has a high of share of  renewable energy.  CAISO has adopted a mascot that sums up the challenge: the duck curve.

The chart at left presents the duck curve.  It shows net power load during the day.  CAISO defines net power as the difference between forecast load and expected power production.  In certain times, net load curves have a “belly” in the middle of the afternoon given a surge in solar power production.  The chart then shows a rapid ramp-up in net load – as much as 13 to 15 GWh – as solar production declines and demand accelerates in the early evening.

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Solar Energy in Qatar: The Business Case

Qatar_Solar_LCOEThe economics for solar energy in Qatar are challenged by some of the lowest natural gas prices on Earth, combined with a local and subsidized electricity tariff with retail power prices of $0 to $27.40/MWh, commercial prices of $24.66 to  $41.10/MWh, and industrial power prices of $19.18/MWh.

Notwisthstanding, there is still a solid business case for solar energy in Qatar given the rapid decline in capital costs since 2009, and the ability to generate revenues from displaced domestic gas demand that results following the introduction of renewable energy capacity.

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Super Cheap Solar Power for Dubai

DEWAplotThe Dubai Electricity and & Water Authority (DEWA) just completed a tender for 100 MW of solar PV, and the delivered power system price is an amazingly low $0.059 / kWh.

Typically, the leveled cost of energy for solar PV is between $0.085 – $0.11 / kWh for GCC countries given solar irradiance, use of high efficiency panels, and cost competitive engineering. The low end of this range is best suited for vertically integrated OEMs with EPC services, or IPPs with scale in equipment purchasing who buy modules close to the cost of goods sold.  But IPPs with low construction costs are making their mark.

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Wind and Solar Capacity to Pass Nuclear

Nuclear, Wind, and Solar Capacity

Sources: IAEA, EIA, Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Wind and solar capacity are expanding  rapidly and each is well on track to pass nuclear power capacity.  Advocates of nuclear energy have long been predicting its renaissance, but the installation of nuclear capacity appears to be stalled with little to no change in recent years.  Wind energy, by contrast, will have more capacity installed than nuclear by 2015 and solar energy capacity is likely to pass nuclear prior to 2020.   

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Glare from Solar PV Modules

PV_array_glareA common question concerning the safety of photovoltaic (PV) power systems is the impact of reflected sunlight.  PV modules have the potential to impact neighboring structures or activities, notably aviation.  It is important to know where the reflected light will go and what the intensity of the light will be at any point in time.

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Inverters and Inverter Manufacturers

InverterCosts

Inverter Cost Components; GTM Research

Inverters are key components in any photovoltaic (PV) power system.  Inverters convert direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC).  They control power factor (e.g. reactive power) and ensure power output quality aligns with downstream equipment specs.  And finally, they play an essential role in the protection, operation and communication philosophy of the solar power plant.

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Aerosol Animation

Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) defines the degree to which aerosols prevent the transmission of sunlight by absorption or scattering.  AOD is measured using an integrated extinction coefficient over a vertical column of air.  The extinction coefficient can be used to analyze solar extinction and the performance of solar power systems as a function of location and time.

GOCART

Posted in Animation, Data, Dust, Meteorology, Modeling, Qatar RE, R Data Import, R Graphics, Resource Assessment, Saudi Arabia, Solar, Spatial Analysis | Leave a comment

New Solar Technology – LCOE Roadmap Qatar

NREL_Best_Research-Cell_EfficienciesBloomberg has released May 2014 PV Spot Prices with current module costs (COGS), margins and sales prices.  This data is extended to profile the levelized cost of  energy (LCOE) for solar PV technology, and is combined with new solar efficiency data to define the LCOE roadmap for solar energy in Qatar going forward.

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Solar PV and Gas Displacement in Qatar

GasDisplacementA critical component of the economics of solar PV in Qatar is the ability to translate solar power production into local gas  market efficiencies and displacement of natural gas demand.  More important: the ability to extend gas displacement into higher LNG exports AND to link the export cash flows to the income statement of the solar power systems.  The result can be solar PV projects that are economically feasibility in the absence of government grants, production subsidies or tax incentives.  Meanwhile, project cash flows tied to natural gas exports can be 20% to 400% greater than cash flows from power sales, depending on the domestic power tariff in force and the gas marketing strategy used.  

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