Utility Dive: Software’s value to banks in an expanding solar industry

Solar Plant Arround the Trees

As published in Utility Dive, Oct. 23, 2019

In many ways, the future of the solar industry is on full display in Lamar County, Mississippi. It’s in this largely rural area west of Hattiesburg that the 52-megawatt (AC) MS Solar 3 project was constructed and began producing enough clean energy to power over 11,000 homes in 2017.

Developed and constructed by Miami-based Origis Energy — which has developed over 100 projects totaling more than 1-gigawatt worldwide — MS Solar 3 is a reflection of the dramatic and rapid evolution of solar around the world. Gone are the days when large, utility-scale projects only made economic sense in states where electricity prices were high, state incentives generous, and flat desert land abundant (think California and Australia).

Price declines and significant improvements in technology have combined with increased financing sophistication to make large solar projects economically attractive in states like Mississippi, where sites are typically rolling and subject to shading issues. An important tool Origis had to navigate the challenges in Lamar County was to deploy Nextracker’s TrueCapture™ software, which can help project developers and owners operate their power plants in a way that maximizes production in hilly terrain and diffuse conditions.

“When you have complicated sites with variable terrain or structures which cause row-to-row seasonally variable structural shading, it is critical to have a system which is intelligent enough to optimize the plant on not just an individual tracker basis but which also contemplates the impacts from row-to-row across multiple trackers,” said Michael Eyman, Managing Director for Origis Services, an Austin, Texas-based wholly owned subsidiary of Origis Energy that provides operations and maintenance (O&M) and asset management services to a project portfolio of over 500 megawatts. Eyman credits TrueCapture (more about how it works in a moment) and Nextracker’s staff for improving electricity production and financial performance for the owners of MS Solar 3.

Read the full article from Utility Dive, here.