Utility Services

Utility-scale solar refers to large solar installations designed to feed power directly onto the electric grid. These huge solar installations are built by developers who sign long-term contracts called power purchase agreements (PPA) with the utility companies in their areas. The power is sold at wholesale prices and sent along transmission lines to be distributed to customers.
This is different from distributed solar, which is also called “behind the meter solar,” because the electricity it generates is first used onsite by the owner, and only the excess energy is sent to the grid and counted by the customer’s electricity meter.

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Key takeaways

  • Utility-scale solar is the use of large solar power plants to produce electricity at a mass scale.
  • There are two main types of utility-scale solar: solar PV (‘solar panels’), the tech used in most solar power plants, and concentrated solar power.
  • Installing a solar plant cost between €0.77 & €0.89 cents / watt of installed capacity as of Q1 2021.

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Wind is a source of energy which is non-polluting and renewable, wind turbines create power without using fossil fuels.

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Source of energy which is non-polluting and renewable, wind turbines create power without using fossil fuels.

Utility-scale solar describes large solar power plants that produce electricity for the utility grid. The utility grid, in turn, distributes the electricity to end consumers. The solar energy generated by solar power plants is sold to utility companies and other large power consumers via power purchase agreements.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) considers a power plant to be ‘utility scale’ if its total generation capacity is 1 megawatt (MW) or greater. There are currently over 10,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) plants that meet this definition.

The EIA estimates that solar is now the leading source of new electricity generation.

While many solar power plants use the same technology as home solar systems – solar photovoltaics – they operate at a far larger scale, allowing them to generate power at an even lower cost.

Most large-scale solar plants employ technology that’s very similar to that used by residential systems; you’ll probably find little technical difference between a solar panel used on a solar farm and one atop a typical home setup. Of course, solar farms operate on a scale that is several orders of magnitude greater, which allows them to drive down per-unit costs through economies of scale.

Solar panels play a significant role in transforming how we generate and consume energy across various sectors, including water, gas, and electricity. Here’s how solar panels intersect with each of these utilities:

Electricity:

Solar panels are most commonly associated with electricity generation. Photovoltaic (PV) cells within solar panels convert sunlight into electricity. Homes and businesses with rooftop solar installations can generate their own electricity, reducing reliance on the grid and often contributing excess power back to it through net metering. Large-scale solar farms also feed electricity directly into the grid, providing clean energy to utilities and communities.

Water Heating:

Solar thermal systems, distinct from solar PV, use sunlight to heat water directly. Solar water heaters consist of collectors that absorb sunlight and transfer the heat to a fluid, which then heats water for domestic use or space heating. This technology is particularly efficient in sunny regions and is widely used in residential, commercial, and industrial settings. Solar water heating systems help reduce the energy demand for heating water through conventional methods.

Gas (Thermal Applications):

While solar energy is not directly harnessed for gas production, there are applications where solar thermal energy can indirectly contribute to gas-related processes. Concentrated solar power (CSP) systems use mirrors or lenses to focus sunlight, creating high temperatures that can be employed for various purposes, including thermal processes in industrial applications. Such applications can potentially reduce the need for conventional heating methods that use natural gas.

Energy Storage:

Solar panels, especially when combined with energy storage systems like batteries, contribute to the overall reliability of energy supply. Excess electricity generated during the day by solar panels can be stored for later use. This has implications for smoothing out the intermittency of solar power, ensuring a more consistent energy supply, and supporting grid stability.

Hybrid Systems:

Hybrid energy systems combine solar power with other energy sources, such as gas or other renewables, to create a more balanced and reliable energy supply. These systems often involve intelligent control mechanisms to optimize the use of each energy source based on availability, cost, and demand.

Electrical Service

Installation

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Testing

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Commissioning

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Maintenance

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Installations

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Elevate your renewable energy solutions with our rigorous Quality Management services. We prioritize excellence in every aspect of your project, implementing robust quality control measures. From materials to installations, our meticulous approach ensures that your renewable energy system meets the highest standards, providing long-lasting, efficient, and sustainable results.

Testing and Commissioning

Ensure the optimal performance of your renewable energy system with our comprehensive Testing and Commissioning services. Our experienced team conducts rigorous assessments, fine-tuning every component to guarantee peak efficiency.