Presentation Description: The process of developing solar power projects often neglects potential construction and mechanical tolerance problems, lost production, and significant amounts of steel or grading to get a site operational. Sites can be delayed or incur significant financial loss due to re-design/configuration even after construction has begun. In response to these challenges, KiloNewton has developed SolarSpace, a suite of GIS-based tools/software that optimizes the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for solar projects from prospecting to construction to mitigate unforeseen problems, optimize power production, and minimize grading and equipment costs. SolarSpace includes two modules: Site Suitability and Project Micrositing and Optimization. Site Suitability quantifies critical terrain-based costs and benefits before conceptual site design to include terrain losses, grading, mechanical installation and production tolerances. Project Micrositing and Optimization employs site-specific terrain analyses to maximize a project’s production while minimizing soft costs. Using high-quality terrain data, ideal planes of array are developed as inputs into grading volume estimates and construction-ready grading plans. Tracker planes of array are then optimized to minimize production losses due to terrain row-by-row and/or mechanical block. Results have shown that SolarSpace can improve generation on complex sites by up to 5% and optimize layouts to reduce costs by up to 5%, lowering the cost of electricity by 10%+ and average site costs by up to 20%. EPC’s and operations and maintenance providers can use the method to optimize sites during construction and after by up to 8%.
Upon completion, participant will be able to identify potential sources of lost production and increased costs for solar tracker projects.
Upon completion, participant will be able to approach project development more holistically and tackle potential development problems before they become issues in site design.
Upon completion, participant will be able to describe solutions to terrain-based problems in solar tracker development.