Title: Utility-Scale Solar Photovoltaic Power Plants. A Project Developer’s Guide

Language: English

Type: Document

Nature: Guidelines

Published: January 1, 2015

Region: Global

Country: Global / Non-Specific

Sector: Energy and Power

Topic: Climate-Smart

Keywords: Knowledge Lab, Solar power, Renewable Energy


Document Summary:

This document contains relevant information for stakeholders interested in solar project investments.

Document Details:

This guide covers the key building blocks to developing a successful utility-scale solar power project (the threshold for “utility-scale” depends on the market, but generally at least 5 MW). Most lessons learned in this segment of the solar industry are drawn from experiences in developed markets. However, this guide makes an effort to anticipate and address the concerns of projects in emerging economies. In doing so, the guidebook covers the key three themes:

  1. Optimum power plant design: A key project development challenge is to design a PV power plant that is optimally balanced in terms of cost and performance for a specific site.

  2. Project implementation: Achieving project completion on time and within budget with a power plant that operates efficiently and reliably, and generates the expected energy and revenue, is another key concern for developers. Key aspects of project implementation include: permits and licensing, selection and contracting of the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) company, power plant construction, and operations and maintenance (O&M).

  3. Commercial and financing aspects: PV regulatory frameworks and specific types of incentives/support mechanisms for the development of PV projects, such as preferential tariffs and other direct and indirect financial supports, have an important impact on the financial viability of the project, as they affect the revenue stream. Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) specify the terms under which the off-taker purchases the power produced by the PV plant; this is the most important document to obtain financing.

Updated: April 12, 2022