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The Importance of Revamping and Repowering Your Solar Plant

With the current energy crisis causing huge impact across the world, repowering and revamping aging utility-scale solar projects has never been as important as it is today, as we try and find more sustainable ways to generate energy domestically.

This is not only a topical issue in the UK market, but also on a global scale, with numerous assets now exceeding 20 years in age and some major manufacturers for modules exiting the market. Future-proofing ageing solar farms, therefore, has become a key point of consideration for asset owners and Operations and Maintenance providers alike.

Demand for renewable electricity from new solar plants is increasing but as older PV plants begin to age, it is important to consider how to maintain the longevity of these assets.

Plants built 10 or more years ago with early-stage technologies can face technical and operational issues. There is often a lower-than-expected energy yield, and profits may be lost without knowing. Revamping and Repowering of PV assets is therefore a topic that is gaining more and more interest.  

By implementing latest generation technology to modernise and optimise older PV plants there is potential to boost energy yield by up to 40% and increase overall performance that will significantly improve return on investment on these assets. 

Repowering vs Revamping: what’s the difference?

Revamping returns an ageing solar plant to its original capacity.

Repowering goes one better and actually improves on the original asset’s capacity.

Revamping is the replacement of defective or underperforming components such as inverters or PV modules for modern components, whilst keeping the original TIC (Total Installed Capacity). This will improve energy production and provide up to 30% more efficient use of the land area. 

Repowering on the other hand may alter the TIC by increasing the asset’s capacity or refer to additional power that can be added following revamping. In both cases, the project will benefit from modern technology for increased lifespan.  

Achieving either outcome might mean:

  • Replacing obsolete components like inverters and PV modules
  • Improving grid connection and redistributing the system
  • Replacing balance of system (BOS) components
  • Adjusting support structures
  • Changing the system’s electrical configuration
  • Adding retrofit technologies (like coatings designed for pre-2013 uncoated modules)
  • Installing new software platforms

What are the benefits of Repowering or Revamping a PV plant?

Repowering or revamping your PV installations is the key both to unlocking their long-term earning potential and prolonging their service life. These benefits can include:

Maintaining performance: Replacing old, worn equipment cuts failure rates and business downtime. It can also increase the asset’s lifespan.

Sourcing critical components: Some legacy manufacturers have left the market, invalidating warranties and making important spare parts harder or more expensive to find.

Embracing new technology: Recent advancements make today’s PV tech far more efficient than legacy systems, often with a smaller physical footprint and renewed warranties.

Lowering costs: Today’s PV technology is significantly more cost-effective. Replacing legacy equipment represents long-term savings, as well as easier compliance with evolving regulations.

Accessing new features: As well as extra capacity, new PV tech could add features like string-level monitoring. Huawei, for example, offers a smart IV curve function to reduce intervention costs and speed up analysis

Complete service approach across PV plant project lifecycle at BayWa r.e:

  • Development: grid connection, planning permission, OFGEM application, lease extension or change of terms.
  • EPC management: for overall PV plant and individual components such as PV modules, inverter, transformer, switchgear, cables, junction boxes and panels, communication, CCTV, cybersecurity etc.
  • Engineering: electrical, mechanical, civil, and structural design study for improvement and optimisation, utilising latest best practice and technology such as battery energy storage systems (BESS).
  • Procurement: supported by BayWa r.e. group, special agreement with suppliers for fast delivery, training, and services.
  • Construction: qualified team of site technician and engineers for installation, testing, and commissioning.
  • Risk Management: ISO certified with robust quality management system (QMS) and highest standard of health and safety assurance. Insurance covering third party liability and managing all stakeholders.
  • Waste Management: dismantling defective/outdated PV modules; Transportation, storage, and packaging of components; and managing PV module recycling.
  • Delivery: as-built drawings, updated manuals, and training for successful handover to O&M provider.

Find out more about Repowering & Revamping at BayWa r.e. here.

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