From pv magazine, September edition
The advancement aisle of the all-around solar industry is far from linear. About the world, assorted markets are at assorted stages of maturation: from Italy’s and Germany’s aerial levels of filigree assimilation and antithesis amid ground-mount and rooftop, to China’s all-inclusive solar fields and apprentice residential segment, sub-Saharan Africa’s microgrid-driven foundations, and the admiring pillars of accumulator shoring-up Australian PV growth, solar has abounding strands dangling above the globe.
Which hints not alone at the altered ante of acceptance for PV from country-to-country, but additionally solar’s adaptability, no amount the landscape, climate, political will, or abridgement thereof. And there are beneath spaces aural solar absolutely as adjustable and ample as the bartering and automated (C&I) space.
C&I arrays are rarely apparent as the ‘bread and er’ of solar. Aback the layperson thinks of PV they acceptable brainstorm a beautiful domiciliary with glassy solar panels adorning the rooftop. Equally, aback a blooming activity apostle or government official talks of solar, they usually arm-twist images of all-inclusive ground-mounted arrays that accept adapted bouncing landscapes.
It is aural the beneath alluring ‘bits in between’ that C&I operates: the blah branch rooftops adapted by PV; the animal collapsed facades of 1970s academy barrio layered with solar panels; amaranthine appointment buildings, bridges, greenhouses and garages – filled-in, tacked-on, topped-off.
But while C&I solutions may be apparent as the functional-then-forgotten affiliate of the solar family, for committed installers and developers, the C&I amplitude can generally be the best agitative of them all.
The sky’s the limit
As solar development, bore and BOS costs abide to tumble, so too does the akin of banking abutment offered by governments. This accustomed bazaar change has led to the acceleration of larger-and-larger unsubsidized solar PV installations – predominantly in the C&I amplitude breadth ability acquirement agreements (PPAs) with clandestine companies are alpha to accomplish added banking sense.
Indeed, in some of the added complete solar markets of Europe, an absence of government arrest is actively accustomed by some solar installers, says Tom Lloyd, sales and business administrator for British renewable activity developer RenEnergy. “A abridgement of government action in the UK’s solar breadth is allowance to affirm a added acceptable and market-driven industry, one in which the C&I breadth will thrive. Returns on advance and activity IRR in C&I is already absolute competitive; you aloof charge a aerial akin of self-consumption or a abiding PPA.”
A prime archetype of this bazaar change is apparent in one of RenEnergy’s best contempo C&I installations: a 1 MW ground-mounted arrangement for Cranfield University in the English canton of Bedfordshire. The best absorbing aspect of this solar plant – which was congenital with a aught net-export acceding and so is 100% self-consumption – is the not-insignificant actuality that Cranfield University shares its breadth with Cranfield Airfield. This airish a set of altered challenges for the developer.
“Cranfield Aerodrome is an old Apple War Two (WWII) air abject that forms allotment of the university,” Lloyd said. “This aloft a few abstruse challenges. There are of advance solar arrays installed a airfields the apple over, but added generally than not they are either bombastic airfields or amid in asleep amplitude a to the airfield. At Cranfield, the airspace is active, so there were considerations that bare to be fabricated apropos the acme of the array. This meant hardly altering the arena anatomy in adjustment to appear beneath a best acme and abstain any arrest with the radio tower.”
Another basic angle of the body was to ensure aing aircraft were not impacted by any blaze from the array, so an anti-glare appraisal was conducted. “This meant we had to accommodate assertive belief to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) apropos the types of solar modules we were installing. The supplier, Hanwha Q Cells, which is a abiding accomplice of RenEnergy, were admiring in demonstrating that the modules installed – the Q.PLUS-G4.3 multicrystalline module – had anesthetized all accordant CAA acquiescence measures.
But above ensuring that the arrangement was the adapted acme and did not amaze the pilots, RenEnergy had addition claiming on its hands. “Given that the aerodrome is an old WWII air base, there was the abeyant for unexploded authorization at the site,” reveals Lloyd. “We had to be acquainted that the breadth could accommodate alive shells from the anti-aircraft accoutrements that acclimated to be stationed there, or alike unexploded bombs that may accept been broadcast around.”
An Unexploded Authorization Analysis (UXO) was appropriately conducted by a third-party specialist, and this bound the breadth in which RenEnergy could install the arrangement and fit the all-important cabling. “These limitations meant we autonomous for a four-panel mural configuration, because we still capital to fit as abundant bearing accommodation as accessible into the accessible space,” Lloyd explains. “The UXO analysis after-effects dictated the amplitude we were able to assignment in, and we could additionally not appropriate too carefully to the runway.” This meant ensuring high-power apparatus were called throughout, and it additionally meant that the point of affiliation was placed 2 km from the site. “There is a cogent high-voltage cable active amid the arrangement and the 11 kV arena capital onsite. From this point of view, the 1 MW accession is one of the bigger behind-the-meter projects in the UK,” Lloyd stresses.
Having been completed in March this year, RenEnergy and Cranfield University empiric a three-month beginning period, during which the armpit consistently hit 100% of its achievement ratio. “The university is captivated because the bulb is assuming bigger than they accepted it to.” Not alone does the arrangement acquiesce the university to account its carbon and abate its electricity bills, but it is additionally an educational and analysis tool. “Cranfield University is a arch engineering and physics activity analysis institute, so academics actuality able to accept onsite admission to the bulb and the abstracts makes it a absolute fit.”
Currently, the solar bulb meets 5% of the university campus’s activity needs, with CHP affair 60%. There is a net aught consign acceding at the site, controlled with acute software that enables automated ramping bottomward of the CHP to a minimum of 50% to acquiesce the solar arrangement to shine. “There is ambit to aggrandize the PV arrangement of course,” Lloyd adds. “That is the adorableness of C&I solar: it is a little bit like Lego. We can add added and added as the university wishes, which would gradually abate the claim for CHP. Working with Hanwha Q Cells is additionally a account for all concerned, because the aggregation was actively complex in abstruse and activity support, acceptable with bartering discussions for the end applicant and, of course, bartering the absolute solar modules – the best basic basic of the lot.”
A greener greenhouse
In Atri, in the Teramo Province of the Abruzzo arena of Italy, abounding notable farms aftermath some of the country’s finest fruit, vegetable and meat products. One accurate farm, acclaimed for its prosciutto Crudo Parma ham, aboriginal adopted solar PV in 2009, aback aback the government offered absolute acceptable FIT rates.
For seven years a 500 kWp solar arrangement pumped out PV electricity aloft the farm’s 8,000 m² greenhouse roof, until a decidedly albino winter in 2016 brought the greenhouse – and its solar array – aition down.
“On such a large, distinct rooftop, the weight of the snow on top of the arrangement accepted too much, circuitous by actual abundant rain” said Marco Panzavuota, sales and business administrator at Italian renewable activity developer Blooming Activity Services. “Because the snow had calm in the average of the rooftop, it did not melt, and eventually this acquired the anatomy to collapse.”
Faced with a accommodation to accomplish on how best to rebuild, the acreage abettor enlisted Blooming Activity Services to altercate with the allowance aggregation how to abstain a agnate fate. They absitively to body bristles smaller, abstracted greenhouses on the site, anniversary absolute its own solar array, but all affiliated to a distinct axial inverter.
This access gave the acreage added adaptability for appearance and growing altered aftermath and crops, but it meant a few engineering and authoritative challenges for the renewable activity developer. “We adjourned that accepting bristles abstracted rooftops would be safer than installing one ample arrangement on to addition 8,000 square meter greenhouse,” Panzavuota explained. “But because the agreement of the new accession were altered from the old array, we had to go aback to Italy’s activity regulator, the GSE, in adjustment to defended permission to accept the aforementioned FIT. The GSE had to accept the new appearance architecture and allocation of the array, but it was absolutely a aboveboard process.”
In abstruse terms, the new arrangement is absolutely hardly smaller – at 492 kWp – than its predecessor, but produces added in agreement of ability output. “The old arrangement acclimated 225 W solar panels from a Chinese supplier, but we rebuilt the bristles abstracted arrays application Hanwha Q Cells’ 300 W Q.PEAK-G4.1 monocrystalline modules, which gave us added flexibility,” said Panzavuota.
Solar admiral solar
Remaining in Italy, microinverter specialist Elettronica FM has afresh amorphous construction of a ample C&I solar accession that will awning its capital microinverter assembly ability in Guidizzolo, Mantova, arctic Italy.
The rooftop allocation of the arrangement will be 451.44 kWp already completed, with the advanced and abandon of the branch additionally set to be adorned in solar panels – abacus an added 95.04 kWp capacity. Every solar console installed will be adapted with Elettronica’s own microinverters, authoritative the completed arrangement one of the bigger microinverter-powered C&I installations in Europe.
“The capital allocation of the array, on the rooftop, is actuality congenital application half-cell technology from Hanwha Q Cells, the Q.PEAK DUO-G5, while the abandon and advanced of the architecture are actuality adapted with the Q.PEAK BLK 310 W modules, for their artful appeal,” said Mauro Ferrari, accepted administrator at Elettronica FM. By accumulation aerial ability modules with microinverter technology, Ferrari is assertive that this accession can authenticate how microinverters can comedy a arch role in abstraction the subsidy-free solar markets of the future.
The charge for speed
For abounding C&I customers, adopting solar PV is accidental aloft how the costs assemblage up. Although solar bore prices accept confused in contempo years – and are set to abatement alike added afterward contempo action shakeups in China and the abatement in Europe of the Minimum Import Price – added banking factors are at play. Hence, the added bound a solar arrangement can be installed and affiliated is vital.
In Germany, accustomed solar developer Kintlein & Ose GmbH afresh installed a 749 kWp solar arrangement aloft a alternation of agronomical barrio to the west of Berlin in aloof ten days. The subsidy-free activity is addition architecture block for Germany’s accretion C&I solar space – a breadth that Kintlein & Ose MD Steffen Kintlein believes has all-inclusive accommodation to not alone grow, but actively booty the advance on the nation’s activity transition.
“Germany has all-inclusive abeyant for C&I installations,” Kintlein said. “Companies in this amplitude represent a huge allotment of the nation’s electricity consumption, and a growing cardinal of firms accept already fabricated close commitments to solar activity and all-embracing initiatives, such as sourcing 100% renewable energy.” A aerial ambition absolutely for companies, absolute cities, nations, alike the absolute planet – and one that can alone be fabricated acceptable with all-around and avant-garde C&I solar support.
By Ian Clover, Administrator Corporate Communications, Hanwha Q Cells.
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