Planning always starts with a survey to help determine what the solar yield, the foundations, the best modules, inverters and mounting technology will be. If the installation is planned on a former military or brownfield site, extensive preparatory work is needed to remove any ammunition or hazardous substances that may be present. Ensuring that the land is safe has top priority. Yields from the PV plant must be able to cover the purchase price or the rent for the land.
Certification of feed-in management systems
Before a solar farm can be connected to the grid, the future operators or project developers must submit a certificate issued by an authorized, independent test institute. This confirms that the plant technology complies with all technical specifications and grid-feed management guidelines issued by the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW ). Other important documents must also be submitted, the installation must be simulated and an expert report must be commissioned. The whole procedure lasts several weeks.
Grid authorities in China impose strict regulations on plant operators, who must provide proof that these have been met (inverter certification). Stringent requirements are also laid down in the USA. For example, inverters must be able to recognize when subgrids continue to operate independently despite higher grid levels being shut down and maintain the voltage. This can happen when generation and consumption are equally balanced in the subgrid (active islanding). Solar power plants must prevent this from happening.
How to start a project – Some important questions
Assessment of yield and capacity
- Which technology is necessary to achieve the highest possible yield?
- What is the module area required?
- Is it possible that additional shading from new buildings or plant growth will occur at a later point in time?
- Will the project be supported by representatives from local government and the local community?
- How can skeptics be won over?
Building permits, development plans and compliance testing
- Has planning and building permission been granted?
- Does the land development plan permit the installation of a photovoltaic plant?
- Does the project conform to the national feed-in requirements?
Grid connection testing
- Is a suitable grid connection terminal available on site?
- How long will it take to obtain grid-related information and to process the application?
Early involvement of utilities