Utility-Scale Solar Power Plant Fundamentals

Utility-Scale Solar Power Plant Fundamentals

Design Optimization, Planning, Procurement & Development

August 23-24, 2022 | Denver, CO

“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

“Provided an excellent amount of information and tools to evaluate and plan PV resources.” Senior Systems Analyst, Entergy

“My second EUCI event that I experienced deep technical training and in-depth content.” CEO, True South Renewables Inc

“This course expanded greatly on the basic knowledge I already had for the design process of solar fields.” Assistant Project Manager, McCarthy Building Co

“This course was a helpful tool to fill in some of the blanks in my knowledge of solar power plant design.” Estimator, McCarthy Building Co

“Very fluid course – topics are relevant, yet diverse.” Manager, Brookfield Renewable

“Presenters conveyed strong subject matter expertise.” Director – Generation & Optimization, Brookfield Renewable

“Well organized conference that provided basic and advanced information.” Project Manager, Entergy

“I thought the session was very good and on task to help me learn more about utility-grade solar.” Senior Energy Conservation Specialist, Florida Public Utilities

“Great intro course to the industry!” Senior Electrical Engineer, Acciona Energy

“Great program! Highly recommended!” Technical Director, ICF

“Very beneficial for people in the renewable energy industry, regardless of experience level.” Solar Development, E.ON North America

“Very informative. Well worth the two days of time spent. Years of experience taught in a few hours.” Engineer II, Hawaiian Electric

“Informative, well-experienced speakers.” Utilities Engineer, CA Public Utilities Comm’n

“Great attendee number to encourage collaboration and shared experience.’ Engineer – Generation Planning, AECC

“This course hit all the key topics to provide an individual with a good foundation in solar plant design and development. Coming from the O&M world, I was happy to hear the speakers point out the key considerations you need to make in order to ensure your building or buying a plant that can stand the test of time and be able to perform as you expect it to. I’m looking forward to using what I’ve learned here to provide better feedback and informed suggestions to my company’s generation development team.” Engineer, Southern Company

“Excellent program to provide decision-makers the right level of knowledge to ask critical questions and arrive at well-informed decisions.” Director, Bear Valley Electric Service

“Better-than-intro-level to PV EPC considerations.” Senior Project Manager, Avangrid Renewables

“Good, comprehensive overview of solar power plants. Everything is covered from technology overview, financial modeling, to O&M.” Senior Project Engineer, Indeck Energy

“EUCI offers insightful, comprehensive training that the PV industry has been in desperate need of. A great event to attend for a wide range of experience levels.” E&C Manager, Sonnedix

“I knew very little coming into this event, but am walking away with very valuable knowledge, which I believe will benefit my colleagues and company. Great speakers!” Business Support Analyst, Entergy Services

“Excellent opportunity to meet fellow engineers in solar.” Field Applications Engineer, SolarEdge

“Knowledgeable industry experts that convey course materials at a level most useful to attendees.” Engineer, Georgia Transmission Corp

“This course offers a good knowledge base for pursuing solar projects.” Metering and Sustainable Electricity Manager, Saskatoon Light & Power

“Great course for anyone who wants to learn more about this ever-changing industry!” Assistant Director – Hydropower, Colorado River Commission of Nevada

“EUCI finds really good topic presenters!” Product Management, NB Power

“Excellent content for large scale solar installation education.” Manager, AMPT

“Great training content and exceptional speakers.” Technical and Development Manager, Elawan Energy

“Excellent presentation by knowledgeable speakers.” Manager – Technical Services, FirstEnergy

“As a newcomer to the solar industry, the EUCI Utility-Scale Solar Power Plant Fundamentals presentations helped me better understand concepts from the function of PV cells to the larger picture of utility scale projects development and economics, a very well organized set of presentations by interesting presenters.” Assistant Engineer, Olsson

“The course provided a tremendous amount of detail and left me thinking of all the follow-up actions I can take to improve our business practices.” Manager – Power Supply, Wolverine Power Cooperative

“The speakers did a phenomenal job at presenting digestible information on complex subject matter.” Assistant Engineer, Olsson

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



Tuesday, August 23, 2022 : Mountain Time

8:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Registration and Continental Breakfast / Log In

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
  • Inverter 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, August 24, 2022 : Mountain Time

8:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Continental Breakfast / Log In

12:15 – 1:00 p.m.
Group Lunch

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 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


Jason Barmann, Energy Storage Technical & Strategic Partnerships Manager, Burns & McDonnell

Jason Barmann is Energy Storage Technical and Strategic Partnerships Manager at Burns & McDonnell Engineering in the electrical group of the Energy Division.  His responsibilities include the evaluation and design of utility scale energy storage solutions, technology development and evaluation, battery pilot project coordination, consulting services, evaluation of battery manufacturing capabilities/facilities, project management, electrical system design, equipment procurement and contract management. Mr. Barmann’s experience includes Lithium-ion, Flow, and other storage technologies.

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. 

Martin Gonzalez, PV Senior Electrical Engineer, Burns & McDonnell

Martin Gonzalez is a senior electrical engineer in the Solar Group at Burns & McDonnell. He has nearly two decades of experience in a variety of roles related to the design and construction of PV systems.  Mr. Gonzalez has been responsible for the design of residential, commercial, and utility-scale PV systems, in addition to various other renewable energy projects. He provides on-site support for the installation, testing, and commissioning of PV systems and PV system monitoring equipment.  He has worked on some of the largest and most lauded solar projects in the nation, including serving as the the owner’s engineer on the large, thermal solar PV project in the United States – the 580 MW Solar Star.  Mr. Gonzalez has developed a strong understanding of PV system design and operation, equipment selection, electrical installation best practices. He assists with PV system troubleshooting, testing, and maintenance, in addition to performing design reviews in an owner’s engineering role.

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, Director – Asset Management, Silicon Ranch

Lynsey Tibbs is Director of Asset Management at Silicon Ranch. She has a decade and a half experience as an engineer in the energy sector.  Skilled in power generation with a focus on solar energy, specifically managing nearly a gigawatt of installed solar.  Ms. Tibbs is versed in project and contractor management having overseen one-half billion dollars of solar installations.  Besides her role in solar project implementation, she also has served the company as a solar project engineer and forecast analyst.  Before joining the organization, she was Solar Operations Project Manager at Southern Power Company.


EUCI Conference Center

6400 S Fiddlers Green Cir.

Greenwood Village CO, 80111

The EUCI conference center is conveniently located adjacent to the Arapahoe at Village Center Light Rail Station, allowing easy access to and from DIA, Downtown, and Local Area Attractions.

Nearby Hotels

Residence Inn by Marriott Denver Tech Center
6565 South Yosemite St.
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
485 feet from event location

Wingate by Wyndham
8000 East Peakview Ave
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Phone: 303-626-2641
0.3 miles away

SpringHill Suites by Marriott Denver Tech Center
7900 E. Peakview Ave.
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
(303) 721-3321
0.6 miles from event location



Utility-Scale Solar Power Plant Fundamentals

August 23-24, 2022 | Denver, CO
Individual attendee(s) - $ 1395.00 each
- OR - I choose to attend remotely
Individual remote connections(s) - $ 1395.00 each

Volume pricing also available

Individual attendee tickets can be mixed with ticket packs for complete flexibility

Pack of 5 attendees - $ 5,580.00 (20% discount)
Pack of 10 attendees - $ 9,765.00 (30% discount)
Pack of 20 attendees - $ 16,740.00 (40% discount)

This event is related and may be of interest.

Solar Supply Chain Cost and Schedule Impacts

August 25-26, 2022 | Online
Individual attendee(s) - $ 1195.00 each

Volume pricing also available

Individual attendee tickets can be mixed with ticket packs for complete flexibility

Pack of 5 attendees - $ 4,780.00 (20% discount)
Pack of 10 attendees - $ 8,365.00 (30% discount)
Pack of 20 attendees - $ 14,340.00 (40% discount)

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 July 22, 2022 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




EUCI is accredited by the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and offers IACET CEUs for its learning events that comply with the ANSI/IACET Continuing Education and Training Standard. IACET is recognized internationally as a standard development organization and accrediting body that promotes quality of continuing education and training.

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: Basic
Delivery Method: Group Internet Based
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. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its web site: www.nasbaregistry.org

Health & Safety Guidelines

As of December 16, 2021

EUCI considers the safety of all those onsite at event name as our top priority including our attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, and event staff. In these efforts to host a safe and productive event, we pledge to follow all guidelines and mandates set by State and local authorities as well as CDC guidelines.  Please note, these guidelines and mandates may change from time to time.

On-Site Safety Practices Include:

  • Acceptable face coverings required of all Attendees at the Event who are not fully vaccinated, or for all participants where required by venue. Participants are responsible for providing their own face coverings.
  • Daily self-health screenings for all attendees
  • Reminders to socially distance when appropriate, wash your hands often, cover your cough, or sneeze and stay home if you are sick
  • Modify gathering and seating areas to allow for appropriate physical distancing
  • Attendees will have the option to indicate their comfort level for personal interaction through the use of Green/Yellow/Red stickers displayed on their conference badge.  Unless otherwise indicated with a Green sticker by both attendees, handshakes and other physical contact should be avoided
  • Provide access to appropriate first aid personnel and share local resources for pharmacy, urgent care, and hospital

 Prior to arriving at the Event, we encourage each attendee to do the following:

  • Visit the Event Website for any updates to our Health & Safety Guidelines
  • Familiarize yourself with the Event’s Onsite Terms & Conditions. Acknowledgement and acceptance will be required to pick up your badge onsite.

Event Management has the right to remove or exclude anyone from the event if they do not follow our Health & Safety policies or do not follow Health & Safety instructions set forth by the Event or venue staff.

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