Vancouver, British Columbia – 30th June 2022 – The Renewables Consulting Group (RCG), an ERM Group company, has been appointed as Lender’s Independent Engineer (IE) for the 20 MW East Strathmore Solar Project, located in Alberta, Canada.
The firm is currently providing technical due diligence (TDD) services and is set to continue to act as Lender’s IE to support the financing process through construction to operations.
The East Strathmore Solar Project, owned and operated by Elemental Energy, sits on approximately 140 acres of privately owned land and interconnects directly to Fortis Alberta’s distribution system, providing clean energy to local businesses, residences and farming operations. Elemental Energy, a leading Canadian renewable energy developer, maintains interests in operating and development stage wind, solar, and hydro projects throughout North America.
Jamie Houssian, Principal of Elemental Energy, said:
“Renewable energy will continue to play a meaningful part in the future of Alberta’s electricity supply as the province targets 30 percent renewable energy by 2030. With the assistance provided by the Renewables Consulting Group, the East Strathmore Solar Project is an important step in that direction.”
RCG provides top-tier market intelligence, management consulting and technical advisory services across wind, solar and energy storage technologies, serving the organizations leading the transition to a low-carbon economy.
RCG’s scope of work includes full lender’s technical advisory services including bank grade energy yield assessment, review of the design, contractual and regulatory aspects of the project, site visits and construction monitoring. The project is being led out of RCG’s Vancouver office, part of the firm’s strong local presence in North America.
Commenting on the appointment, Francis Charbonneau, Associate Director at RCG, said:
“We are proud to support Elemental Energy’s growing renewable energy portfolio in Western Canada. We’ve built a fantastic industry-leading technical advisory team in Canada over the last few years. With our deep local knowledge and technical expertise, we’re helping our clients in a pragmatic approach put more renewables on the grid while at the same helping the province meet its clean energy targets.”
日本、東京都 – 2021年6月2日 ‐再生可能エネルギー分野に特化したアドバイザリーファームであるThe Renewables Consulting Group（RCG）は、再生可能エネルギー分野のベテランである坂内真人を当社の東京オフィスのディレクターに任命しました。
Historically, solar PV modules have been monofacial, meaning that they use the light shining on just one side of the module to generate electricity. Bifacial modules use light shining on the front and reflecting on the rear of the module to generate electricity.
Monofacial modules generally have a glass front sheet and polymer backsheet, whereas most bifacial modules use glass front and back sheets, although some bifacial modules instead use a transparent polymer rear backsheet. The choice of materials affects the structural performance of the module, resistance to extreme weather events, and operational parameters such as heat dissipation, operating temperature, and long-term degradation.
The main reason to use bifacial modules is that they provide a performance increase (gain) relative to monofacial modules of the same front-side capacity. The bifacial module typically sees maximum power (W) increases of 5 to 25%. The performance increase strongly depends on the amount of light reflected onto the rear side of the module, which is governed mainly by the surface albedo (ground reflectivity). A higher albedo surface reflects more light from the ground and increases the gain of bifacial modules. Clear dirt ground may have an albedo of approximately 10-15% reflecting 10-15% of the incoming light. Some other common ground surfaces include grass at 15-25%, light gravel and sand at 25-35%, or snow at 60-80%. Performance gains are also affected by plant design parameters such as module height, row distance, inverter technology and mounting structure type.
Use of bifacial modules with a reasonable albedo ground surface and well-designed plant can result in plant yield (kWh) increases of similar magnitude to the power increase of the modules. Large increases require a highly optimized plant design and specific operational conditions.
Bifacial modules generate more power relative to a monofacial module of the same front-side capacity, therefore fewer need to be installed to achieve a specific capacity for a given power plant (for example, 100 MW). Fewer modules mean less balance-of-system (BOS) components are required, such as cables and connectors. This reduces potential points of failure, overall BOS cost, plant cost, and levelized cost of energy (LCOE).
Bifacial modules that use glass on both sides of the module, instead of glass and a polymer backsheet as found on a monofacial module, tend to show lower degradation over their operating lifetime and eliminate some module failure modes associated with polymer backsheets. This results in increased plant performance over the lifetime of the project.
As of November 2020, data from PVXChange indicates bifacial modules cost 0.31 EUR/Wp compared with high-efficiency mono modules at 0.30 EUR/Wp. This difference is around 0.01 EUR/Wp (3%). This is a significant reduction from just five years ago when the cost difference was nearer 20%. Bifacial and high-efficiency modules are expected to remain similarly priced.
Exhibit: Solar PV price module trends
Depending on the design and operational philosophy, bifacial plants can have other additional cost increases such as trackers, terrain preparation, or increased cleaning needs. However, the increase in CAPEX and OPEX are typically lower than the performance gain and subsequent financial gain experienced by a project using bifacial modules instead of monofacial modules. Simply, a lower levelized cost of energy can typically be achieved with bifacial modules.
As the price of bifacial modules has decreased, and the levelized cost of energy that can be realized becomes lower, bifacial modules have gained considerable traction in the marketplace. They have become the desirable module technology for new plants, with their deployment limited mainly by supply constraints.
Cell production lines have transitioned from producing single-digit percentage of suitable bifacial cells in 2015 to almost producing entirely bifacial-suitable cells in 2019. Bifacial technology is expected to dominate for the foreseeable future.
As mentioned previously, the performance increase of bifacial modules is strongly coupled to the albedo of the local area. However, the local albedo is often not characterised and understood as well as classical irradiation data used for monofacial plant performance forecasts. Consequently, there is a higher uncertainty associated with the yield contribution from the rear-side of the modules, and more generally with bifacial projects.
This increased uncertainty means a lender may discount the rear-side yield relative to the front-side yield, resulting in increased financing costs for a bifacial project relative to a monofacial project. Additional contractual provisions could be used to transfer risk away from the financier, such as higher contractual performance metrics, higher performance liquidated damages, or extended acceptance test and performance warranty periods. However, reducing risk for all parties will drive lower LCOE values. Better understanding of the local albedo remains an important and ongoing area of research for the industry .
Bifacial modules are increasingly dominating the solar PV industry. Project CAPEX and OPEX costs will be slightly higher, however with the correct plant design and operational conditions, bifacial modules offer increased yield and lower levelized cost of energy over the life of the plant. Increased uncertainty does remain with respect to the rear-side performance and albedo. Contractual provisions can provide some transfer of risk away from the lender, but ultimately decreased finance costs should stem from the additional understanding gained from ongoing industry efforts to research albedo and operational performance.
Photo credit: Asia Chang on Unsplash
New York and London – The Renewables Consulting Group (RCG), a sector specialist advisory firm, today announced the appointment of energy market specialist Craig Brown, who will work from RCG’s New York office as well as its London headquarters.
Offshore wind in the US is rapidly expanding and RCG has responded by adding experienced professionals who helped to build North America’s first generation of offshore wind. Prior to joining RCG, Brown was Business Development Manager for Keystone Engineering, the design engineer for the 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm, the first offshore wind farm installed in the US. With his offshore wind experience as well as his diverse energy market background, Brown will be a boon for new business development.
Before Keystone, he was Senior Research Analyst in PFC Energy’s Downstream Monitoring and Petrochemicals Group. Brown holds a BA in Economics from Drake University and a MA in International Affairs from the American University of Paris. His graduate studies focused on European oil and gas markets and energy diplomacy. He holds a visiting Researcher position at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies where he studied offshore wind, oil refining and commodity markets, natural gas conversion technologies, petrochemicals and gas-to-liquids.
Commenting on the appointment, Dan Pearson, RCG’s Chief Strategy Officer, said:
“Craig’s energy market knowledge coupled with his deep knowledge of the offshore wind sectors in Europe and US, further augments our world class team in this sector. Welcoming him into the RCG team to help us build our market knowledge further and grow our business development capabilities is very exciting for us.” – Dan Pearson, Chief Strategy Officer
Remarking on his appointment, Brown said:
“It’s an amazing opportunity to join the ranks of a dynamic and energetic company like RCG. I am thrilled to support the type of high-caliber consulting engagements that RCG is known for, and to play a role in delivering solutions to renewable energy markets across the globe. It’s an exciting time to join a company that is dedicated solely to helping countries and companies worldwide succeed in advancing renewable energy.”- Brown, New York and London
RCG is leading the development of offshore wind globally. Our expertise covers the full offshore wind value chain, from development, through construction, to asset management and decommissioning. We think of offshore wind as power at scale – technology with the potential to deliver a global energy transition.
Vancouver, Canada – The Renewables Consulting Group (RCG), a sector specialist advisory firm, today announced the appointment of technical due diligence specialist Luke Boyden to its growing Vancouver office.
North American solar installations have increased dramatically over the last few years. RCG has increased its team in response. Boyden brings a wealth of technical due diligence and project management experience. He has previously served as a technical advisor for developers, sponsors, and lenders on the acquisition, development, construction and operation of commercial and utility-scale solar PV plants and portfolios across the Americas.
Commenting on the news, Doug Pfeister, RCG’s Managing Director, Americas said:
“We are delighted that Luke has joined our growing team. He has considerable development experience leading and supporting multiple complex technical due diligence assignments. His vast technical advisory experience with developers, sponsors, and lenders on the development, construction and operation of commercial and utility-scale solar PV plants will serve our clients well.”
Remarking on his appointment, Boyden said:
“I’m excited to join the local team in Vancouver and the broader RCG group globally. I’m looking forward to supporting the recent regional wins such as BluEarth Renewables and growing the firm’s development and due diligence solar services. The team is exceptionally well-placed to assist clients with a blend of market-leading expertise and practical support.” – Luke Boyden, Vancouver.
The Vancouver office is leading the acceleration of the firm’s due diligence platform and technical services in order to realise its overall goal of providing a top-tier market intelligence, management consulting, and technical advisory service to the renewable sector and delivering long-term value for clients.
Vancouver, Canada – The Renewables Consulting Group (RCG) has been appointed as lender’s Independent Engineer (IE) for two of BluEarth Renewables’ pre-construction solar projects, located in Alberta, Canada. The firm is currently providing technical due diligence (TDD) services on the Yellow Lake and Burdett solar projects and is set to continue to act as lender’s IE to support the financing process through construction to operations.
Recently, the Royal Bank of Canada announced that was the first Canadian bank to sign a long-term renewable energy power purchase agreement (PPA) for the projects. As was previously announced, Bullfrog Power is also a corporate offtaker on the project.
Located in southeast Alberta, together the projects total nearly 40 MW and will produce enough energy to power approximately 6,400 homes annually.
RCG’s scope of work includes review of the technical, commercial and environmental aspects of the projects, including review of energy yield estimates and electrical and civil design. The project is being led out of RCG’s Vancouver office, part of the firm’s strong local presence in North America, supporting technical advisory clients.
Commenting on the appointment, RCG’s Matthew Irvine, Director – Canada, said:
“We are delighted to be working on this mandate and proud to support renewable energy development in Alberta. Alberta’s solar market is blossoming and it is fantastic to see the debt financing market active again after a challenging few years across Canada. Through our technical expertise and pragmatic approach to technical advisory, we will play a small part in bringing this generation capacity to the market” – Matthew Irvine, Director, RCG.
Details of the projects can be found on BluEarth Renewables website: https://bluearthrenewables.com/