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Energética India | September / October 2015

UDAY DOSHI FOUNDER OF EXCELSIOR ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS Quality Engineering, an act that needs to be converted into a habit for constructing excellence The Solar Industry is growing forward steadily on three strong pillars of quality, technique and skilled intellectuals. But the importance of these basic pillars is being compromised due to budgeting constraints and general monetary benefits. Today, the world unanimously vouches that energy needs to be used wisely and sparingly. Our ever- increasing needs have forced us to explore unconventional sources of energy - the best one being the sun. Increasingly, man is learning how to harness this important resource and use it to replace traditional energy sources for our future security. Renewable energy projects of varied scales are seen all around us. Past few years have been very favourable for India. Unprecedented backing from the government & heavy investments has led to the construction of varied scales of solar projects. This sudden boost has brought all industries across verticals; domestic & international, to invest in solar projects. Furthermore, falling of PPA rates to almost one-third of the price has resulted in fierce competition & aggressive bidding. This has led to the shift in mind-set of investors. Their focus is on awarding the contract to the lowest bidder so that they can match their aggressive PPA bids – in turn compromising the quality of project engineering. Moreover, investors try to gain maximum benefit by ensuring that the power plants are constructed on a strict deadline. Companies have even started completing construction of power plants within a year of gaining approval. These deadlines create tremendous pressure on designers and engineers who toil together to complete the project without catering to details. Cost cutting is carried out by hiring inexperienced engineers and contractors who lack the expertise to undertake major projects. Thus, the focus moves from quality engineering to superficial engineering, thereby missing out on crucial pre- requisites that are integral to the process of power generation. The result then is poor execution, production at low capacity; and in few cases compromising the engineering capabilities which could lead to a safety hazard for both, manpower and equipment. Spain shares a similar concern. Currently, several of their solar plants are facing issues due to low performance or in some cases, zero performance. We will soon reach the stage that Spain is at, unless necessary precautions are taken in time. Considering this, soon there will be a rise in demand for companies providing services like retrofitting and O&M for under-performing plants. But is this kind of scenario feasible and sustainable? In reality, there are a few problems arising out of these issues. One of the major concerns being land acquisition–the locals have an upper hand at bargaining for land due to which companies are forced to opt for plots that are easily negotiated upon sometimes with unfavourable terrain and connectivity, instead of selecting on the basis of radiation data. The intensity of solar irradiance and temperature are important factors in the operation of PV systems and can play an important role in the efficiency and power quality response of the system. The local communities residing in remote locations often demand that only local contractors should be employed for execution work. However, in most cases they lack experience and skill required to comply with the standards. The IS code is disregarded thanks to the absence of a credible third party auditor. To ensure that profits can be earned from the venture, monetary savings are thus made by reducing investment at various stages of the project. A proper module mounting structure, optimization of tilt angle, appropriate location of a sub-station, clear understanding of flooding tendencies, cooling of inverter rooms are important factors that can help avoid loss of power. Quality engineering goes hand in hand with superior technology to achieve this. But, due to tight budget constraints, these minor but integral factors are being neglected. Solar projects need a large amount of data to be SOLAR POWER 32 energética INDIA · SEP | OCT15


Energética India | September / October 2015
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