Utility-Scale Solar Power Plant Fundamentals

Utility-Scale Solar Power Plant Fundamentals

Design Optimization, Planning, Procurement & Development

January 18-19, 2022 | Online :: Central Time

“Awesome course! I will use the information I learned today going forward throughout my career.” Business Developer, Engie Canada

“This course is a great way to introduce yourself to the ways the utility industry are incorporating solar power into their service territories and how the plants are designed on large scales.” Sub-station Engineer, Sargent and Lundy

“Having a basic understanding of solar and having an electrical power industry background, this course delivered the right amount of detail and really took my knowledge to the next level.”  Solar Power Operations & Maintenance Engineer, Southern Company

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

 

Agenda

Tuesday, January 18, 2022 : Central Time

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Log In and Welcome

12:45 – 1:30 p.m.
Lunch Break

9:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Course Timing

 

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

 

Wednesday, January 19, 2022 : Central Time

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Log In and Welcome

12:15 – 1:00 p.m.
Lunch Break

9:00 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Course Timing

 

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

Instructors

Matt Brinkman, Solar Business Unit and Regional Practice Manager, Burns & McDonnell

Matthew Brinkman is the Solar Business Unit and Regional Practice Manager at Burns & McDonnell.  In that capacity, he supports the company’s solar project managers and technical teams.  His team has worked on some of the largest and most lauded solar projects in the nation, including serving as the Owner’s Engineer on the largest solar thermal plant in the world (392 MW Ivanpah) and the largest solar PV project in the United States (580 MW Solar Star).   Mr Brinkman started his career at Burns & McDonnell in 1994 as a civil engineering co-op while attending North Dakota State University. In 2004, he permanently transferred to Phoenix, Arizona, and moved into a project manager role. In 2006, he was asked to start the Energy Global Practice in the Phoenix office, which has grown to the largest Energy presence in all Burns & McDonnell regional offices.  In 2008, he set up the solar business unit.  In 2013, Mr. Brinkman was named a member of Burns & McDonnell’s Principal Group, a senior-level leadership group within the company.  Among the industry recognitions he has received is an appointment by Governor Janet Brewer to serve on the Arizona governor’s Solar Advisory Task Force. 


Torrey Graf, Senior Electrical Engineer – Solar Group, Burns & McDonnell

Torrey Graf is a senior electrical engineer in the Solar Group at Burns & McDonnell. responsibilities include providing electrical design, value engineering analysis, construction monitoring, commissioning/performance field engineer and energy production modeling for energy, government, municipal, and various other projects. Mr. Graf has developed an understanding of solar inverters for the PV market – both for established and emergent technologies – as well as a deep expertise in the operation of PV power generation and their systems.


Carol Stark, Managing Director & US Renewable Energy Practice Leader, Aon

Carol Stark is Managing Director and US Renewable Energy Practice Leader at Aon.  She joined the firm in 2016 and has been selected to lead several important initiatives, including its Energy Transition Initiative designed to drive exceptional solutions that support clients to meet the challenges of the rapidly developing renewable energy landscape.  Ms. Stark is a 25-year veteran of the insurance industry, with prior affiliations at four other risk product organizations.  She earned an MBA degree from Kellogg School of Management and a law degree from John Marshall Law School.  In 2021 she was designated a Renewable Energy Power Broker by Risk & Insurance magazine.


Lynsey Tibbs, Solar Operations Project Manager, Southern Power Company

Lynsey Tibbs is solar operations project manager at Southern Power Company in Birmingham, AL.  In that capacity, she is responsible for managing more than 400MW of installed solar.  Her 14 years’ experience as an energy sector engineer has deeply versed Ms Tibbs in project and contractor management, having overseen $200M of solar installations.  Besides her role in solar project implementation, she also has served the company as a solar operations project engineer and forecast analyst.

Online Delivery

We will be using Microsoft Teams to facilitate your participation in the upcoming event. You do not need to have an existing Teams account in order to participate in the broadcast – the course will play in your browser and you will have the option of using a microphone to speak with the room and ask questions, or type any questions in via the chat window and our on-site representative will relay your question to the instructor.

  • IMPORTANT NOTE: After November 30 you will not be able to join a Teams meeting using Internet Explorer 11. Microsoft recommends downloading and installing the Teams app if possible. You may also use the Edge browser or Chrome.
  • You will receive a meeting invitation will include a link to join the meeting.
  • Separate meeting invitations will be sent for the morning and afternoon sessions of the course.
    • You will need to join the appropriate meeting at the appropriate time.
  • If you are using a microphone, please ensure that it is muted until such time as you need to ask a question.
  • The remote meeting connection will be open approximately 30 minutes before the start of the course. We encourage you to connect as early as possible in case you experience any unforeseen problems.

Register

Please Note: This event is being conducted entirely online. All attendees will connect and attend from their computer, one connection per purchase. For details please see our FAQ

If you are unable to attend at the scheduled date and time, we make recordings available to all registrants for three business days after the event

Event Standard RateAttendees
Single Connection - Utility-Scale Solar Power Plant FundamentalsUS $ 1295.00
Pack of 5 connectionsUS $ 5,180.00
Pack of 10 ConnectionsUS $ 9,065.00
Pack of 20 ConnectionsUS $ 15,540.00
Call us at 303.770.8800 if you have any specific questions on the volume discounts
* all other discounts do not apply to license packs

This event has the following related events:

Solar Supply Chain Essentials: Challenges & Paths ForwardUS $ 1195.00
Pack of 5 connectionsUS $ 4,780.00
Pack of 10 ConnectionsUS $ 8,365.00
Pack of 20 ConnectionsUS $ 14,340.00

By registering I indicate I agree with EUCI's privacy policy and understand I may receive emailed reports, articles, event invitations and other information related to products and services from EUCI and any of our business partners. I understand I may unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link included in emails.

Take advantage of these discounts!

  • Attend the Course and Solar Supply Chain Essentials: Challenges & Paths Forward and pay US $ 2,295.00 per attendee (save US $ 195.00 each)

Cancellation Policy

Your registration may be transferred to a member of your organization up to 24 hours in advance of the event. Cancellations must be received on or before December 17, 2021 in order to be refunded and will be subject to a US $195.00 processing fee per registrant. No refunds will be made after this date. Cancellations received after this date will create a credit of the tuition (less processing fee) good toward any other EUCI event. This credit will be good for six months from the cancellation date. In the event of non-attendance, all registration fees will be forfeited. In case of conference cancellation, EUCIs liability is limited to refund of the event registration fee only. For more information regarding administrative policies, such as complaints and refunds, please contact our offices at 303-770-8800

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CEUs

Credits

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EUCI has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).  In obtaining this accreditation, EUCI has demonstrated that it  complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is recognized internationally as a standard of good practice. As a result of their Authorized Provider status, EUCI is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.

EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 1.3 CEUs for this course.

Instructional Methods

PowerPoint presentations and test cases will be used to present course information.

Requirements for Successful Completion of Program

Participants must log in each day and be in attendance for the entirety of the course to be eligible for continuing education credit.

Upon successful completion of this event, program participants interested in receiving CPE credits will receive a certificate of completion.

Course CPE Credits: 15.0
There is no prerequisite for this Course.
Program field of study: Specialized Knowledge
Program Level: Beginner/Intermediate
Delivery Method: Group-Live presented online due to COVID-19
Advanced Preparation: None

CpeEUCI is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit.

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