As to exploitation of solar energy, WINDFOR operates only in the sector of conversion plants based on the photovoltaic (PV) technology, namely on the properties of some semiconductor materials that can generate electric power when they are struck by the radiation of the sun.
Photovoltaic plants may have a rated power ranging from few watt to tens of megawatt. The attention of WINDFOR is mainly devoted to photovoltaic plants intended for a significant electric energy production starting from a size greater than some hundreds of kilowatt. Even considering these kinds of installation only, the photovoltaic plants already in operation or in the developing phase have fairly variegated constructive solutions depending on their kind of use, type of modules and support structures.Typically, in the photovoltaic plants the modules are positioned on a fixed structure (on the ground or roofs or sheds) with an inclination and orientation that permit to maximize the solar energy collection (they are also called “fixed –modules photovoltaic plants”); there are applications, however, in which the photovoltaic modules are positioned on structure supports with “solar tracking systems” that enables the modules to capture a greater quantity of energy.
A further typology of plants can be obtained using photovoltaic cells combined with “solar concentration”, in which the solar cells are made of materials that permit high values of solar beam concentration (around 500X, i.e. 500 times). By means of “triple junction” photovoltaic cells and operating separately on the various frequency bands of solar radiation, it has been shown in laboratory that it is possible to reach conversion efficiencies greater than 40 %. In these systems, solar beams are concentrated by special optical devices mounted on suitable solar tracking equipment.
Another classification of photovoltaic plants can be made between plants isolated from the grid (or “stand-alone plants”) and plants connected to the grid (or “grid-connected plants”). Isolated plants have an energy storage system (generally consisting of lead–acid or lithium batteries and relevant charge control and regulation devices) which is necessary to supply energy during non-generating hours. A dc/ac power converter, called inverter, converts the direct current produced by the photovoltaic generator into alternating current , as required by common electrical equipment.
In grid-connected plants, the inverter is always present, while a storage system is generally not included, since the electric energy produced, and not locally used, is fed into the grid, while during non-generating periods the local load is supplied by the grid.
Since September 2008, WINDFOR has been offering Services concerning Expected Production Evaluation, Second Opinion, Due Diligence and Technical Advice regarding photovoltaic plants with a rated power equal to or higher than 500 kW.
The technical expertise gained over the years by its experts provides a solid basis for assistance to decision-making of the Operators, regardless from the rated power of the plant and present phase of the life cycle, the amount of the investment.
The technical experience gained over the years by its experts provides a solid basis for assistance to decision-making of Operators in this renewable energy sector, regardless of the rated power of the plant and the present phase of its life cycle, as well as of the amount of the investment.
The advanced technical knowledge of the WINDFOR team then offers a valuable and crucial assistance to Operators and Owners of the photovoltaic sector in order to optimize the potential of generation of their plants.
The various Operators of the photovoltaic sector present on the international market can be classified as follows::
- Investors and Banks
- Public Bodies
- Insurance Companies
Services proposed by WINDFOR to Operators include:
- Feasibility studies
- Assessment of the environmental characteristics of the site of interest
- Energy characterization of the site of interest
- Permitting assessment (Authorization to build and Agreements)
- Technical evaluation of the plant design
- Connection to the grid
- Technical assistance during the preparation of contracts
- Qualification of Counterparties
- Technical assistance during business negotiations
- Engineering of the construction, commissioning, testing and starting phases of plants
- Engineering of the commercial operation of plants
- Plant inspections and fault analysis of plant components
- Evaluation of Plant Performance
- Technical Due Diligence on plants at every stage of development
- Forensic and contractual engineering, claim management