Optimizing Utility-Scale PV

Iacharya offers Optimizing Utility-Scale PV services.


  1. Optimization
    1. "an act, process, or methodology of making something as fully perfect, functional, or effective as possible." - Merriam-Webster
  2. Focus on owner/investor objectives
  3. How to measure optimization?
    1. Minimize capital expense?
    2. Minimize risk?
    3. Minimize LCOE?
    4. Maximize energy yield?
    5. Maximize TOD energy yield?
    6. Maximize project IRR?

Two Main Considerations/Components

Optimize the entire deal

  1. Technical considerations
    1. Minimize losses
    2. Maximize yields
    3. Iterate with real-time pricing
  2. Commercial terms
    1. How deal is structured
    2. Where risk is assigned
    3. Securities and liquidated damages
    4. Payment terms
    5. Schedule

Optimization Requires Iteration

EPC's unique role

  1. Constant feedback loop
  2. Ability to measure effects of iteration to maximize design, installation, etc.

Engineering Solutions with Real-Time Pricing

Match solutions to objectives:

  1. Tracker vs. fixed?
  2. Crystalline vs. thin film?
  3. Tilt and azimuth for Time of Day (TOD)?
  4. DC/AC ratio?
  5. High-efficiency vs. medium efficiency?
  6. 1000 volt vs. 600 volts?
  7. Distributed inverter vs. centralized inverter?
  8. Skid vs. stick build?
  9. AC/DC wire sizing for losses?
  10. Transformation losses?
  11. Discrete monitoring vs. centralized monitoring?
  12. DB cable?
  13. Aluminum vs. copper?
  14. Redundancy/maintainability considerations?
  15. Collector system voltage?
  16. Land utilization, ground treatment?
  17. Security considerations?

An Optimal Solution: Owner/Developer Responsibilities

  1. Identify project constraints
    1. Budget
    2. Minimum energy yield
    3. AC capacity or rated output
  2. Identify clear commercial terms early
  3. Fix key variables for comparison
  4. Identify evaluation metrics
    1. LCOE
    2. IRR
    3. CapEx

An Optimal Solution:EPC Responsibilities

  1. Provide transparency for design/build delivery
  2. Supply break-out pricing for commercial terms
  3. Clearly identify assumptions/exclusions/clarifications
  4. Provide menu of additive/deductive alternatives
  5. Over-communicate!

Optimization of DC:AC Ratio

  1. Example:Utility-scale, fixed-tilt, crystalline with LCOE as optimization metric
  2. Consideration:Increased energy yield vs. increased module and BOP costs

Energy Output vs. Hours

(by Scenario)

Energy Output vs. Hours

(by Scenario and DC/AC Ratio)

Future Considerations

Once you optimize a plant, consider:

  1. Reliability
  2. Maintainability
  3. Operability