SPI Education: PPA deals, O&M strategies, MLPE value, solar+storage

solar education preview

Learning lessons from past PPA deals

Sol Systems Colin

Colin Murchie

Choose Your Own Adventure: The Road to Solar Project Development
Tuesday, Sept. 15
4 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Room: 206A

If you can describe something as an “Oregon Trail” style presentation, consider the Solar Builder team to be fans, so we encourage you to stop by “Choose Your Own Adventure: The Road to Solar Project Development” while at SPI.

“This presentation is for anyone looking to avoid the worst ‘lessons learned’ on a PPA deal, whether they are a real estate developer looking to step into PPA work or an experienced cash seller who wants to develop a financeable project without thousands in consulting fees,” says moderator Colin Murchie, director of project finance for Sol Systems.

Travel through the various stages of project development and consider a variety of scenarios when it comes to host selection, PPA negotiation, interconnection studies, locking in incentives, negotiating EPC costs and securing investment capital.

“We’ll discuss the three most common PPA contract mistakes that you wouldn’t notice on a first read, but which delay deals by months,” Murchie says.


Nail that O&M strategy to ensure project value

Peter lum

Peter Lum

Managing the Total Cost and Getting the Most Value of Solar Plant Ownership

Tuesday, Sept. 15
2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Room: 207A

All project owners, installers and operators could benefit from the expert perspectives from companies such as Sunrun, Phoenix Solar, Swinerton Renewable Energy, RES Americas and Enphase Energy during “Managing the Total Cost and Getting the Most Value of Solar Plant Ownership” on Sept 15.

“Solar system financiers, installers and project developers will benefit from learning about the impact of system operations and maintenance [O&M] on overall system cost of ownership,” says panel moderator Peter Lum, global training development for Enphase Energy. “Many residential and commercial solar assets go unmanaged and unchecked for overall performance and efficiency. Systems with low performance ratios decrease overall value to the investors of these systems.”
What are the financial implications of a poorly maintained solar generation asset? How can O&M impact the overall system ROI and IRR? Are there methodologies or tools that will ensure peak asset performance, and if so, what do these look like? What is the value of implementing a comprehensive O&M strategy?

“The panel of presenters will discuss these dynamics offering ideas and potential strategies for improved system value,” Lum says.


Adding value with microinverters and optimizers

Levent Gun Ampt

Levent Gun

Value-Adding Applications of Micro-Inverters and DC/OC Optimizers

Wednesday, Sept. 16
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Room: 207A

Competing Approaches to Lower the Cost of Large PV Plants Using “Optimized” Inverters with DC Optimizers

Wednesday, Sept. 16
1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Room: 207A

The expo floor at SPI is filled with products and services designed to drive value for a solar system, but head to the educational sessions for more in-depth information on practically applying these products and services.

During “Value-Adding Applications of Micro-Inverters and DC/OC Optimizers,” for example, Ampt CEO Levent Gun, SolarEdge general manager Peter Mathews and APsystems senior director Ryan Simpson will be discussing the traction gained in the market by microinverters and DC/OC optimizers, especially in the residential and small C&I segments. The thoughts and experiences of these execs will illustrate how this new technology has been used in large applications.

Then, in “Competing Approaches to Lower the Cost of Large PV Plants Using ‘Optimized’ Inverters with DC Optimizers,” experts will discuss how to reduce BOS costs by deploying systems using such technology. Panelists will discuss the competing approaches used by their companies and customers to achieve lowest cost, highest performing PV system designs.

The Solar+Storage equation

energy storage

Matt Roberts

“Solar+Storage – The Value of Integrating Storage with Solar”

Tuesday, Sept. 15
1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Room: 207B

The issue of course is getting the technology right and turning that concept into a reality, and doing so in an economically viable way. The barriers that the solar industry faced in its infancy — proving the technology, supplanting entrenched ways of doing things — are the same barriers ahead of the storage+solar model. Or, as Matt Roberts, executive director of the Energy Storage Association, puts it: “Who is paying for this whole thing?”

“Say you can get 3 cent kwh — incredibly cheap. Cheapest PPAs in the world right now,” he says. “I can put that online right now. Oh, you want to throw new technology in? What’s your field experience? Two years? I’m a multimillion-dollar investor that’s about to put a whole new line of business in here, and I’m expected to respond to something I’ve only seen two years of?”

As cool and potentially game-changing as solar+storage can be, traditional lending can see newer, unproven models as a hindrance. The solar industry got through its startup phase, when some deals sank and some deals flourished, and now VCs know what rates of return to expect. Battery systems will have to go through the same process.

How can solar augment storage? How does storage augment solar? And how can solar create a business case for storage technology?

For discussion on those questions and a ton more, be sure to check out “Solar+Storage – The Value of Integrating Storage with Solar,” moderated by Matt Roberts, executive director of the ESA, on Sept. 15 from 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. in room 207B. Also be sure to check out the cover story of our Sept./Oct. edition.

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