Year 2016 was a record year for the solar industry. A total of 76.6 GW (mostly in the utility-scale segment) was installed and connected to the grid. That is a 50% yearly growth over the 51.2 GW installed in 2015 and the third highest rate recorded since 2010. In 2016, global solar power capacity exceeded 300 GW. It is expected the total global installed PV capacity to exceed 400 GW in 2018, 500 GW in 2019, 600 GW in 2020 and 700 GW in 2021. Developing a utility-scale PV power plant needs to perform a thorough feasibility analysis and a precise basic engineering study due to the high investment required (c.a. 1 €/w, i.e. 100 MM€ for a 100 MW plant) and hence, the serious financial risk associated with a new solar farm. Many aspects must be taken into account to make an accurate assessment of the new PV plant: sun irradiation, meteorological variables, elevations, slopes, shades, efficiency of panels, layouts, inverters, type of grid connection, electrical substation features, cabling, etc. Until now, solar developers and engineering companies made this work manually spending a great deal of men/hours of engineers and draftsmen, with the help of in-house developed tools (normally based on excel sheets). The ever growing PV utility-scale solar industry is urgently demanding new tools to create much more automated, fast, accurate and reliable feasibility analysis and design studies. The goal is to optimise and fasten the process, reduce the investment risk associated with these large projects and make easier the work to engineers and developers. pvDesign is a software as a service (SaaS) cloud based tool that allows to automate the utility-scale PV power plant feasibility analysis and design process making it much faster (max 1h), accurate and reliable (errors reduction from 10% down to 3.5%). pvDesign free trial Beta version is being tested by more than 30 companies in more than 15 countries. Since March 2017, 5 companies have already purchased pvDesign.
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