Scientists Have Discovered 3 Species of Solar Power Plants in 2019

The most important solar project of the year was developed by 8minute Solar Energy, the Eland Solar Power Plant totaling 400MWac / 600 MWdc plus 300MW/1,200MWh of energy storage. The facility is going to sell its electricity to two separate California buyers at just under 4¢/kWh

December 26, 2019. By News Bureau

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In July of this year, a project in Connecticut got over with a DC to AC ratio, the ratio of total solar panel wattage to solar inverter capacity of 1.8 to 1. This value shows that large developers have fully grasped and are deploying, a strategy that takes full advantage of cheap solar panels to gain greater use.

A plant like this will offer a more consistent amount of electricity delivered to the power grid starting much earlier and ending much later. It will provide a greater amount of electricity during the low sun wintertime periods. These extra solar panels, beyond the 1.3:1 ratio, cost about 60¢/Wdc to install far cheaper than standard system pricing, as per an analysis by Fluence.

The most important solar project of the year was developed by 8minute Solar Energy, the Eland Solar Power Plant totalling 400MWac / 600 MWdc plus 300MW/1,200MWh of energy storage. The facility is going to sell its electricity to two separate California buyers at just under 4¢/kWh. The plant was the first large solar plus storage facility that could arguably be considered a true power plant.

As per CEO Tom Buttgenbach, the real kicker of this facility, and the reason there is a “?” after the 600 MWdc above, is the capacity factor that approaches 60%. This value is far above the peaks of AC capacity factors found in the 35% range per recent research. There are a few reasons this plant can provide a value like this:

  • The plant is located in the Mojave Desert with some of the world’s best sunlight
  • Single axis trackers “widen the shoulders” and up production overall by 15-30%
  • DC coupled energy storage captures and later on delivers the clipped electricity
  • And last, but with a question mark as the actual values aren’t known, it is probable that bifacial solar modules and/or an oversize DC to AC ratio are pumping out extra electricity for those batteries to grab.

The third facility is one that provides its solar electricity only at night. Engie was awarded a project in Guam that couples 50MWdc of solar power with 50MW / 300MWh of energy storage. The AC size of the power plant was released. Suggesting an inverter sizing of about 42MWac and a relatively normal DC to AC ratio of 1.16:1, the project is going to provide its electricity for up to seven hours into the evening. The project will deliver 85 GWh of electricity per year, approximately 5% of the island’s annual 1,600GWh needs. 

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