Europe has one of the largest and oldest fleets of solar plants in the world, and the share of solar in the European energy mix is only expected to grow, in line with the EU’s Green Deal ambitions. Quality installation and long-term care of existing and new assets is key to meeting performance expectations and serving the continent’s energy demands.
Lifecycle quality assurance of solar power plants comprises Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC); Operation and Maintenace (O&M); and asset management. EPC and O&M are key to the technical and economic performance of Solar PV plants, whilst asset management focuses on professionalising the commercial and financial management of a solar investment.
EPC, O&M and asset management are standalone segments within the solar industry. However, it is widely recognised that high-quality services across all three areas can provide serious benefits to solar PV projects, including decreasing the Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCOE) and Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA) prices, leading to a greater return on investment (ROI).
Quality assurance throughout a project’s lifecycle can save money.
Varying views of quality assurance throughout Europe are a block to the solar indutry’s growth.
SolarPower Europe’s Lifecycle Quality workstream looks to raise service quality across all phases in the life of solar assets.
High-quality care extends the life and performance of solar PV plants.
The Lifecycle Quality workstream
The Lifecycle Quality workstream
SolarPower Europe’s Lifecycle Quality workstream looks to raise service quality across all phases in the life of solar assets. By pooling knowledge and experience from over 200 industry experts, the workstream devises best practices and recommendations for quality assurance that form the bedrock of any project.
The workstream was initially conceived to address discrepancies in the quality of services provided by different O&M contractors. However, with the rapid professionalisation of solar investors and the globalisation of solar investment portfolios, the asset management section of the workstream was added in 2019. Finally, in 2020 the first edition of the EPC Best Practice Guidelines was produced to highlight synergies and encourage understanding among the different lifecycle phases.
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"Our industry is maturing, our sites are aging. These days we need more than the sun shining to keep the lights on in a solar power plant. "
Our major accomplishments
Lifecycle Quality accomplishments
The members of SolarPower Europe’s Lifecycle Quality workstream regularly produce a series of best practice guidelines spanning O&M, asset management, and EPC. To highlight the synergies and draw out the fundamentals of great quality management, the workstream members collaborated to create the Lifecycle Quality Best Practice Guidelines in 2021. The workstream is also responsible for the creation of the Solar Best Practices Mark (www.solarbestpractices.com), a system of self-certification based on the recommendations in the guidelines. In more recent years, members have also collaborated with external renewable energy experts to create best practice guidelines for Mexico, Tunisia, India, South Africa and more.