Skip to main content

pvDesign® accelerates and optimises the Design of Utility-Scale Photovoltaic plants

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - pvDesign (pvDesign® accelerates and optimises the Design of Utility-Scale Photovoltaic plants)

Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2020-08-31

Developing a utility-scale solar PV power plant requires performing a thorough feasibility analysis (FA), and a basic design and engineering study. This not only calls for the maximum degree of optimization in the PV plant design to win a tender while achieving profitability but also increases the proportion of bids to present in order to win one.
With pvDesign software platform, RatedPower is revolutionizing the analysis, design, and engineering of large PV plants: we reduce the execution time from weeks to minutes, improving reliability and decreasing the risk of investment.
The experience gained until now allows us to identify the new key modules and features that our product needs to create an all-inclusive PV solar plant feasibility analysis and design tool. We did an extensive research among our early and potential users about the upgrades that should be performed and that have been demanded by some of the top global leading PV companies. These upgrades include topographical and financial analysis tools and the design of substation facilities for PV plants.
We will also develop a new software architecture using the latest technology to improve the way we deploy our software and we will put a special focus on the Cybersecurity side in order to match the latest standards in the industry.
These functionalities have been taken into account along with a pre-commercialization plan that will set up long-term valuable customers and stakeholders relationships, and a communication and dissemination strategy to become the standard software in the global photovoltaic market.
The work performed from the beginning of the project during this period:
We made the decision to change the technology we were going to use for our backend architecture in order to make it more efficient and usable and we have deployed almost all of the endpoints needed for user screens. We also started the deployment of the frontend continuous integration flow, that allows the different backend and frontend teams to work together in a more agile way.
For our frontend we took the decision to implement a technology for building user interfaces that allows us to design a highly customized app. With the work done in this 1st period, we are proud to announce that our users will have a brand new interface that will revolutionize the way they use our product before the end of 2020.
Given that we store important data from our customers, Cybersecurity has always been an absolute priority for us. We have been working together with the URJC cyber security team to develop a complete Control Model that takes Corporate and Product Security to the highest standards in the industry.
We developed a new functionality that automatically removes structures from the layout if the slopes exceed limits imposed by the user. This is accompanied by some easy procedures that allow users to convert different files to the formats already admitted by the software.
For the financial calculation of PV plants we developed a tool that allows a flexible CAPEX and OPEX definition and LCOE calculations. This project is almost completed and ready to be available to our users once we launch our new interface.
A complete tool to automatically define the step-up substation was developed. This includes the calculation of all electrical equipment of this installation based on different standards and the generation of several reports and drawings related to it.
We developed a plan for long-term valuable customers and stakeholders relationships that included: training sessions to all of our new customers, regular feedback meetings with our current customers and a monthly newsletter to inform our most valuable stakeholders.
Since the Covid-19 situation has led to the cancellation of most business trips, we are having all our commercial meetings online, and we are enhancing our relation with potential resellers. The certification process to validate pvDesign by a third party recognized in the solar industry has also kicked off.
A plan for communication and dissemination has been defined with the following actions are ongoing: trade fairs participation, updating our website, media paid promotion, promotional material generation, and construction of an exhibition stand. Since the Covid-19 situation has led to the cancellation of most international trade shows, RatedPower has attended online events on renewable energy by giving talks and participating in panels.
The development of the mentioned new features is giving us a lot of visibility and good feedback from our clients and demos. Also, the pre-commercialization, communication, and dissemination plans and activities performed during this period gave us the resilience to go through the COVID situation with a lower commercial impact than it could have been expected given the situation we are living.
We look ahead for encouraging results during next year. As the EU is taking steps to deliver the European Green Deal and meet the ambitious 2030 climate targets, we expect more regions of the world to go in this direction. We will be the tool that provides fast and accurate engineering for the PV plants of the future.
We estimate that pvDesign currently reduces the LCOE by 5%, as it automates the equivalent of 4 weeks of work in seconds. If we were currently the world standard, the generalised 5% reduction in the cost of power generation that the industry would have seen in the 2019-2020 period would have resulted in additional 33 GW installed.
Furthermore, according to our plan, by 2022, pvDesign will cover not only the feasibility engineering analysis, but also the detailed and pre-construction engineering. We will transform around 8-12 weeks of work into seconds. This will bring to the industry a cost reduction in the energy generated by around 10-15%. We calculate that this cost reduction can boost around 60-80 GW of additional power that, otherwise, if the profitability of solar plants was lower, wouldn't be installed.