By Trina Solar US
There’s a strong possibility that we’ll look back at 2022-2023 as a major inflection point for the US solar industry. The industry has mostly recovered from the supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic, the federal government has unleashed a torrent of funding for decarbonization, and the innovative n-type PV technology has hit the market to power the renewable energy revolution.
However, to ensure future generations can look to this moment as an inflection point, utility-scale EPCs and project developers must navigate a shifting landscape and find the right solutions to deliver project success and maximized value.
The Ups and Downs of the Solar Coaster
Following a decades-long decline that saw solar achieve the lowest cost of energy (LCOE) amongst all generating sources, the price of solar power increased for the first time in 2023. Solar remains one of the most affordable sources of electricity, but utility-scale solar EPCs and developers must find new ways to offset costs.
While the common culprits of increased labor and land costs have contributed to the price bump, the rising cost of capital has also played a role. From 2020 to 2022, the federal interest rate hovered below or at 1%, allowing cheaper money to flow through the economy. However, since April 2022, the U.S. Federal Reserve has gradually raised it to the current 4.65% rate.
Against a rising interest rate, more companies and government entities are enacting ambitious Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) targets to lower or offset carbon emissions. These goals are, therefore, driving off-the-chart demand for long-term renewable energy contracts, called Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). Since PPAs underpin how most solar businesses operate, when coupled with the higher interest rate, it means higher up-front costs and LCOE.
Meanwhile, industry analysts anticipate this off-the-charts demand to reach new heights as the government releases more guidance about the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and begins implementing its funding programs and policies.
Some EPCs and developers might be scratching their heads, wondering how to find new avenues for boosting utility-scale PV project value in the face of this new solar landscape.
Mitigating Risk and Maximizing Value
Despite the current solar turbulence, EPCs and developers can take two immediate measures to mitigate risks, lower LCOE, and maximize project value: Deploy PV modules with innovative 210mm n-type i-TOPCon technology and use a smart utility solar solution.
Supplying Ultra-High PV Module Power and Efficiency with N-Type Technology
Due to the efficiency limitations of P-type PERC solar cell technology, Trina Solar recognized the potential of n-type cells and began developing n-type cell technology in 2015. By the end of 2022, Trina Solar’s 210mm n-type i-TOPCon cells and modules came into mass production successively.
The success of 210mm n-type i-TOPCon cells and modules has been a game changer for the solar industry. Trina’s Vertex N modules using n-type tech set a new standard for ultra-high power generation of up to 659W and efficiency of up to 22.4% to achieve lower LCOE.
Trina Solar has not only pioneered the development of n-type technology, but the company also continues to expand manufacturing operations and capacities to provide a sufficient supply of panels to meet this historic moment.
Trina’s new state-of-the-art 210mm polysilicon production facility recently rolled the first batch off the assembly line. Once fully operational, the factory will have 20GW of planned capacity to ensure a steady supply of much-needed solar cells.
And since Trina maintains a robust supply chain management system to ensure all materials are responsibly sourced, the company can respond quickly with any traceability requirements necessary for US regulation compliance. By providing the production capacity and quality of its n-type modules, Trina Solar guarantees worry-free delivery to alleviate solar supply issues, avoid delays, keep projects on schedule, and improve overall competitiveness for greater customer value.
In addition to ultra-high power, efficiency, and reliability, Vertex N modules are covered by industry-leading warranties to guarantee optimal performance and solar power generation for the system’s forecasted lifespan.
TrinaPro — A Complete Solar Solution
An ultra-high-power and efficiency PV module is only one variable in the equation for lowering utility-scale solar project LCOE. Gaining a competitive edge will require EPCs and developers to incorporate new ways to find savings and efficiency in the other variables of this equation, procuring bill-of-material components, site location, labor costs, installation, etc.
That’s where the TrinaPro utility-scale solution can help.
TrinaPro is the first smart utility-scale PV solution with an optimized combination of Trina Solar’s industry-leading solar modules, state-of-the-art solar tracker systems (TrinaTracker), and world-class inverters.
Partnering with the TrinaPro team means streamlined procurement that minimizes the number of suppliers and distributors that EPCs or developers deal with. The local team of industry experts ensures full component compatibility with an integrated design and construction process, enabling balanced mechanical loads and fast installations.
These benefits make TrinaPro a value-added solution that connects the right technologies and technical expertise for low-carbon, high-ROI solar PV installations. TrinaPro provides industry-high yields that meet the requirements of even the most demanding projects while delivering the lowest possible LCOE.
Click here to learn more about Vertex N and TrinaPro and our local team today.
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