From the irradiation point explain why Ivanpah power generating performance lower than expected

Polaris solar PV net news: Ivanpah solar thermal plants, encountered from the approval to run the birds of threatened Desert tortoise habitat, plant burns and political disputes on the loan guarantee scheme and a series of troubles, but it seems that’s not enough, power plant developers now have to face the problem of how to solve the power plant generating capacity less than expected.

Ivanpah plant by plant half stake in NRG energy company is responsible for operating, BrightSource and Google together hold power on the other half.

Since August and put into operation in January this year, the total size of Tower-type solar thermal power station 392MW capacity far below the expected level. For some people, this fact enough to begin to suspect that the limitations of the technology used by the power station, at the same time they also believe the project will be the United States Government investment in clean energy and a failure.

However, there is one obvious reason can explain why the Ivanpah plant is not ideal, it is this: bad weather.

Finland Vaisala resource assessment services (assessment company last year bought resources 3TIER) product manager GwendalynBender said: “Developer BrightSource Ivanpah project in the planning stages of the project are well aware that weather a bad year to be very large impact on the plant’s performance. Early in 2009, they invite us to do a long-term study, based on satellite data through field measurements to study more than 10 years of records. Therefore, they were actually doing the due diligence, study the DNI may change, and these variables are fully considered in the plan. So while they are disappointed by the poor weather this year, but for the power plant wasn’t surprised by lower-than-expected performance. ”

BrightSource says, not just bad weather, there are some problems with early devices also affected the overall utilization of power generation equipment, overall plant as originally planned after 4 years of commissioning and modification to achieve a fully functioning. But it does because this summer to lower the DNI value makes power plant performance even worse.

Vaisala company can provide resources for wind and solar project developer change statistics. Analyst statistics this year when the company’s solar radiation resource data, found United States West sunny days this year for solar radiation data with very large fluctuations compared to previous years.

According to the picture below you can see that in Southern California and Nevada the irradiation levels this year compared with the average over the past 15 years of data have a very large deviation. Ivanpah project is located in Southern California near the Nevada border, happened to be in the blue part of the map.

While the energy of wind and solar power is free, but if the weather may give developers a great deal of economic loss. Ivanpah project because of poor weather this year was lower than expected and the developers have suffered huge economic losses.

At present, the plant owners are taking advantage of power subsidies from the Treasury to repay the original project funding from the United States Energy Department loans obtained. Meanwhile, they also have to burn more natural gas to make up for the shortage of electric power output.

Vaisala company wrote in its 2014 solar irradiance data analysis report: “industry data shows that fluctuations in solar radiation intensity because every drop 5% in the summer, will give solar thermal or photovoltaic power plant developers or operators of 1%-1.5% in revenue losses, therefore solar energy industries for the comprehensive and long-term weather data collection need to be very strong. ”

Bender says: “10% of the DNI was below average summer 2014, not only because of the weather, but also due to the presence of wild fire. CSP plant’s persistently low productivity in July this year and continue into August. ”

This picture below shows us the United States this summer, solar radiation intensity fluctuations compared with the average in previous years.

Bender said: “a lot of developers do not analyze long-term changes in solar radiation data, so when they have encountered major problems, often unprepared. When a single year when the weather is very bad, they would have been very surprised, didn’t know what was happening. ”

NRG, and Google and BrightSource Ivanpah plant may be the initial manifestation is not satisfied. But look at all the statistics for more than ten years for solar radiation data, they will understand the potential for dramatic changes in the intensity of solar radiation are present.

Bender says: “most solar project developers to assess local resources when possible with just one year of solar radiation data base. In order to reduce the assessment errors due to changes in radiation intensity, most of the decline in solar project development Chamber of Commerce assumes that data 2% estimates a minimum value. But in 2014 in California or Nevada solar radiation intensity fluctuations in data to show that the changes in solar radiation data can be even more exaggerated.

Detailed and precise solar radiation data on optical-thermal power generation project development is critical to the feasibility study and economic analysis, which is to ensure the scientific design of solar-thermal power stations and key influencing factors of financing feasibility and necessary prerequisite for solar-thermal power project development. However Bender that coin has two sides, if developers because the weather data model considering the limited too many potential sources of risk, so they are likely to abandon the project because of financing security development.

Original title: from the irradiation point explain why Ivanpah power generating performance lower than expected

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