12.11.2020 / Solar, Company, Press, EMEA, Utility Scale 2

“More electricity at lower costs from less land”

Takis Sarris, Managing Director of juwi in Greece, and Amiram Roth-Deblon, Head of Global Business Initiatives at the juwi Group, speak about the selection of components for the biggest bifacial solar project in Europe – the Kozani solar park in Greece.

Mr. Sarris, what are the challenges for this project in terms of on-site conditions and climate aspects in Greece?

The project is challenging due to its sheer size and it’s hilly terrain. The project will be installed over an  large area of 450 hectares, as big as 840 football pitches, with steep and alternating inclinations. The subsoil is rocky, so drilling will be required for the foundation of the solar module mounting system. But with our design and the favorable climate conditions for PV in Greece we expect a very good performance. 

Mr. Sarris, which components – modules, inverters, substructure – did you choose for Kozani, and why? Have you considered also tracking systems for the site?

We have chosen bifacial modules from Jinko Solar, central inverters from Sungrow and we will shortly nominate the mounting structure supplier. We have considered tracking systems but came to the conclusion to proceed with a fixed tilt system due to the terrain.. 

Mr. Roth-Deblon, what are the advantages of bifacial solar modules in general?

Bifacial PV modules capture solar energy from the front and backside. This makes them more efficient and means we can harvest more electricity from the same plot of land. The concept is not new, but the technology has matured so much recently that bifacial is not only more efficient, but also cheaper than PV modules that only capture light from the front. A surprising fact is that there is more reflected and diffuse light than one might think. Bifacial modules can generate over 10 percent extra electricity. How much exactly depends on the reflectivity of the ground, which is called albedo, the cloudiness of the sky and of course the design of the PV power plant. At Kozani the bifacial gain, the extra electricity, is expected to be around 4 to 5 percent.

Mr. Roth-Deblon, which further progress can be expected in the solar power industry, especially in terms of costs and efficiency?

Photovoltaics has demonstrated the greatest cost reduction of any source of power.
Costs have fallen by more than 79 percent between 2010 and 2019 and continue to reduce. This is why the international renewable energy agency IRENA or the International Energy agency IEA have stated that PV has become the cheapest source of electricity already. Bifacial technology goes even further. More electricity at lower costs from less land. There are also new use cases. It becomes possible for example to install modules vertically and to generate the same amount of electricity as with south facing modules in central and northern Europe. PV modules could be installed as fences, or enable dual use with agriculture. 
In fact the pace of technology development in PV has not slowed down but is accelerating. Bifacial modules are one example, higher cell and module efficiencies, larger modules, or the increased use of trackers to capture more energy are just some examples of the exciting ongoing developments.
 
 


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