Analysis | September 2011
Solar Energy:EPC challenges and potential
Solar engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts require designing the right size of solar panels, batteries, inverters, wiring, controllers and frames which can be connected together to give the right result. The design for each project is different and purely based on site requirements and thus needs extensive knowledge and experience in this industry to execute. There is a need for the right team with knowledgeable and experienced technicians who calculate and run simulations of various designs in the solar industry and deliver the best designs.
Construction of a solar project involves not only adherence to plan, but also matching government standards for solar installations, which is not normally known to common contractors. Each project is governed by the guidelines of the Ministry of Non-Renewable Energy (MNRE) and state government rules for solar projects, which is not only essential for subsidies but also for clearance of the plan.
Solar projects include a lot of components of various industries which need to be balanced with each other leading to higher efficiency. Designing is the initial but most critical step where technical and commercial needs are understood and an optimal design is made keeping in view technical as well as commercial objectives.
Solar panels, batteries, inverters, controllers, frames and wiring are key components and each of these have to be sourced from various industries. There is no one stop-shop or source for all these components. Sourcing the right product from a vast list of vendors and as per the cost required is a very important part of any EPC project and the quality of installation depends upon the procurement strength of the company.
The author Sharat Kumar is MD, Surya Shakti Energy Resources (SSER). Views are personal.