Category: Finance and Asset Management
Historically, standard PV module warranties of 25 years have dictated the assumed lifetime of the whole PV plant and ownership structures have been designed accordingly to extract most value early in the project. However, as lifetime projections extend to 40 years, project owners and developers have evolving options for extended warranties, repowering, and more robust design practices. How project sponsors optimize for cost-effective longevity varies widely and these decisions are often made based on limited real-world data. The relatively few PV plants that are more than a decade old, in most cases, bear little resemblance to modern PV plants and equipment, forcing the industry to rely on accelerated lifetime testing, computer modeling, and carefully crafted contracts to provide assurance that plants will continue operating for decades beyond standard warranty terms.
This focus group will bring together diverse viewpoints to discuss some of the major questions relevant to extending system life, such as:
• What do investors look for to validate useful life assumptions?
• Are project sponsors taking advantage of extended warranties offered by manufacturers? Why or why not?
• Absent long periods of field testing, what evidence does the industry find compelling with respect to equipment useful life? What can vendors do to provide a compelling case?
• How do project sponsors account for changing O&M costs, such as future inverter replacements and maintaining a pipeline of suitable spare parts?
• With reporting from public agencies indicating that PV installations often fail to meet current codes and standards, what can industry do to ensure that installation quality aligns with plant longevity?
• How does the industry think about repowering PV plants and what are best practices for identifying such inflection points in a plant’s lifetime?
• What technology choices are made differently for a 40-year plant life compared to a 25-year one?
This panel will be comprised of system developers, owner/operators, utilities and manufacturers to offer unique perspectives in addressing the above questions. The target audience will include anyone invested in PV plant lifetime assumptions, which will range from system developers, financers to owner/operators.
Christine Bordonaro– Principal Engineer, Natural Power