Letter from Marcel Suri
Amid the global disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic – and the wide-ranging impacts it has had throughout the solar supply chain, from manufacturing, to project development, to operations and maintenance (O&M) – one thing has become clear: Solar power is essential.
This has been confirmed not only by the categorisation of solar technicians as ‘essential workers’ in many key markets, but also by the essential role solar generation continues to play in power grids worldwide.
In China, during the peak of the epidemic in January and February, solar – with its zero marginal cost – saw production rise by 12% year-on-year. This happened despite overall electricity demand falling, and all other forms of energy production dropping away.
Today, solar may still have some limitations to address before it can be considered fully ‘dispatchable’, but, unlike conventional power, it is not reliant on ongoing fuel purchases, and its O&M requirements are relatively light. This means that it offers a level of technical stability that other power sources cannot – and this is particularly evident during this time of crisis.
However, we also know that solar is not immune to performance challenges. Widespread resource shortfalls such as we have seen over the past three years in the United States illustrate the vulnerability of portfolios to variability of weather exacerbated by changing climate, while we continue to see projects fall short of long-term production estimates.
These are challenges that can and must be tackled through investment in high quality data and energy evaluation software. As the role of solar as an essential part of the global energy mix continues to grow, we must ensure that projects are built, financed and operated responsibly, using the most accurate solar resource data and forecasting tools.
This will ensure that solar remains a stable platform, even amidst widespread market volatility.
At Solargis, we are committed to providing the solar and meteo data and tools the market needs to ensure long-term, profitable solar development and operation. During this period of disruption, we are continuing to provide an uninterrupted service to our customers, and we remain fully available to answer any queries you may have.