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The Solar Software Industry

At end of work that resulted in corporate website Free Tools section, Sopelia’s R&D area went work to analyze Solar Software sector in depth.

Around 70 professional software companies were classified in 4 categories:

1) Solar thermal systems configuration

2) Solar photovoltaic systems configuration

3) Monitoring applications

4) Complementary applications

Resultado de imagen de solar software

Here are the conclusions.

Software for solar thermal systems configuration supply is very small. Its total share is only 9%.

Software for solar photovoltaic systems configuration offer, with a 43% participation, is the most extensive; followed by monitoring applications, whose total participation is 26%.

Finally, complementary applications offer (which includes facilities design, project management and financial evaluation software) participates with 22%.

The largest solar software vendors’ concentration is in California.

This is the result of two factors: it is the USA state with further renewable energies development promotion policies and the most developed place in information technology sector.

In North American market, are offered applications that cover the entire distributed generation PV systems value chain.

Software for: potential customers identification, customer relationship management (CRM), proposal generation and system design, investment financial risk management, operation and energy management.

Providers located outside United States focus almost exclusively on large-scale solar systems.

Something that caught our attention with force is the little or null response capacity of many suppliers.

The only communication ways is a web form or a phone that does not work and after 2 months of survey, we didn´t get answer to our questions in 22% of companies.

This is an aspect to consider when buying software, since technical support is a key factor in this product.

Solar Software sector will open Strategic Partners section of this blog in 2018.

Resultado de imagen de strategic partners

This new section will include suppliers who have incorporated the Latin American market into their business plans and who have assigned resources to provide reliable products and good customer service.

In Solar Software sector, the news is not very encouraging.

Despite being one of the regions with highest potential and currently with the highest levels of renewable energy investment, very few companies have focused on Latin American market.

The vast majority have not updated their solutions to adapt to this market and do not have the operational capacity to provide adequate after-sales service.

Companies that take the initiative will acquire a dominant position in the region.

All you need is Sun. All you need is Sopelia.

Haití Solar PV

Although slow, Haiti’s economic and social recovery appears to have begun and to give a strong boost to renewable energy sources, particularly photovoltaics, has been a wise decision.

First important signal has come through a humanitarian organization, whose mission is to modernize health in the world, which has opened with the Haitian Ministry of Health, the world’s largest solar powered hospital.

Facilities receive the contribution of 1,800 photovoltaic modules installed in the roof that enable medical attention of more than 60,000 people.

Resultado de imagen de hospital solar haití

Second signal is called Klere Ayiti or Light Up Haití.

It is a joint project between a money transfer company and Arc Finance, in which also collaborates the Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

It´s a service through which people can buy and send photovoltaic kits to their relatives on the island.

Each solar kit includes 2 or 3 LED lights, solar module charger, and various plugs with which cell phones can also be charged.

The lights can be used as flashlights or hanging from the ceiling and kits cost US $ 140 and US $ 180, respectively.

The project organizers chose the kit model from 25 different manufacturers evaluated over a period of 2 years.

It´s a product that gives families the possibility of having light at night, something we take for granted in developed world and that implies a radical progress for these people.

Resultado de imagen de light up haití

Third signal materialized in February 2016 in the mythical Champ de Mars square in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, where the Presidential Palace is located.

The square has since then a lithium-ion energy storage system powered by 110 kW of solar modules to provide light and Wi-fi in this public area.

Resultado de imagen de energía solar haití

Fourth signal is called the “Triumphe” project and is the first photovoltaic plant in Haiti.

The system has an installed capacity of 100 kW configured so that contribution coincides with the daily demand of 200 kWh.

The ‘Triumphe’ project will assess the potential of similar applications to support renewable energy in Haiti.

Project was launched thanks to Haitian Government and World Bank Energy Office financing and is a symbol in renewable energy generation.

But above all it represents Haiti’s continuous efforts to recover from 2010 earthquake that destroyed a large strip of the capital and its environs, which affected around 3 million people.

Renewable energy systems such as Triumphe represent a sustainable means to address persistent poverty and lack of basic public services in the country, including energy access, water and support for socio-economic development tools such as wireless internet access.

Resultado de imagen de solar fotovoltaica haití

Haiti, with a population of 10,123,787 inhabitants and a poverty rate of 77%, is considered one of the poorest countries in the world.

All you need is Sun. All you need is Sopelia.

Green Projects Financing(II)

It is usual to encounter renewable energy projects that are promoted in the network or come to our hands, often in careful presentations form.

But, what requirements must a project meet to have potential ?

The “sine qua non” requirement is to provide supporting documentation that proves:

1) Land rights

2) Solar / wind resource measurements

3) Grid connection point provision

4) Environmental permit obtaining

5) Electric market agent registration

Resultado de imagen de ready to build solar projects

Once completed, project is classified as RTA (Ready to Auction / Agreement) and it is worthwhile to move on to next stage: profitability analysis.

The most significant variable in this part of the analysis is the PPA (Purchase Price Agreement).

That is, the agreed purchase price for the renewable energy that project will generate.

This price can be set in:

– An auction, usually public

– A private parties agreement, usually with an electricity distribution company whose corporate clients demand energy from renewable sources voluntarily or legally required.

After this second phase, project is classified as RTB (Ready to Build).

Resultado de imagen de evaluación de proyectos

Funding is now necessary to make it happen.

The information needed to begin the application process is:

1* Documentation proving project ownership

2* Business plan detailing repayment coming from funds flow generated by project itself operation. That is, by the sale of the energy generated

3* Information demonstrating that project is “bankable” and for this the most important are Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) terms and the offtaker

4* Information about project risks allocation as there are many risks that funder is not willing to assume. For example, that project has all permits required by local legislation, with all environmental approvals, with a proven EPC builder, etc.

5* In relation to PPA, a relevant issue is force majeure definition. Hail, for example, should be considered as a force majeure cause since it is very relevant in some regions.

Sopelia collaborates in complete process. From “sine qua non” conditions fulfillment to financing.

On June 3rd, 2017, Sopelia has become Representative Fiduciary Agent for Latin America of a major Abu Dhabi Investment Fund.

This Investment Fund collects and manages a multimillion-dollar portfolio of local, regional and international investments, which wishes to reinvest in projects financing to third investors, project owners and business facilitators in general at an annual interest rate of 3%.

These must be long-term investment projects that can generate an acceptable ROI during funding period.

Funding amounts range from a minimum of U$D 1 million to a maximum of U$D 10.9 billion.

We invite all renewable energy projects owners to send us their initiatives for our previous evaluation.

All you need is Sun. All you need is Sopelia.

Argentinean Deja Vú

When we were still celebrating RenovAr Program renewable energy MW auction success, in Dr, Jekyll and Mr. Hyde best style, Argentina goes up Delorian again and returns … to the past!

Government has announced millions of investments, including disbursements in nuclear and thermal generation.

Yes, you read well … nuclear.

Most of disbursements are geared to generation based on gas and other fuels.

Again, you read well … gas and other fuels.

The so-called 21 Resolution created very attractive conditions for private companies, so investments of up to US$ 3 billion are planned to install 2990 MW, of which bulk should be ready this year.

The reward for private capital has to be very high to invest in a high risk country.

But why such a hurry?

It happens that renewable energy projects, which are expected to disburse US$ 3.5 billion to install 2423 MW, are mostly not ready until 2018 and will be completed only in 2019.

In addition, some renewable energy projects could be delayed because of difficulties in financing accessing.

And since there are not many private companies that are encouraged, it is State that will also invest and manage.

We already know how this story ends.

Resultado de imagen de deja vú

Apocalypse horseman banished from practically all developed economies, nuclear energy, is welcomed with open arms in Argentina.

Near Atucha I central (Buenos Aires province) will be built Carem 25, the first nuclear central entirely designed and built in the country.

This project had been announced by previous administration on February 8th, 2014, but as in many other cases, it was announced and practically nothing was done.

On the other hand, before end of July government will inform in which site of San Matías Gulf (Río Negro province) another nuclear power generating plant will be installed.

Municipalities of Viedma, San Antonio Oeste and Sierra Grande, which make up the Gulf, were declared non-nuclear zones by respective ordinances approval.

Local representatives have already protested against nuclear plant installation and have requested that same investment be made but in renewable energies.

If materialized, it would put at risk the rich marine biodiversity of a protected natural area.

It will also be invested in a uranium processing plant in Formosa province.

Resultado de imagen de atucha i

When at global level there is a commitment to a change in energy matrix towards renewable energies greater participation, distributed generation promotion and nuclear energy abandonment; Argentina does the opposite in pursuit of its desperate investments search at any price.

The values and principles outlined in RenovAr Program are trampled by the electoral agenda and a short-term vision.

It is a story that repeats itself no matter what political party is in government.

It will be very difficult to overcome the obscene swindle of Río Turbio coalfield perpetrated by previous government, but these announcements represent a step back in the configuration of a modern and sustainable national energy matrix.

All you need is Sun. All you need is Sopelia.

Surfing The Third Wave

Distributed energy generation is the true energy revolution.

It is an unstoppable process, no matter how governments and large electricity companies strive to maintain a centralized and obsolete energy matrix.

Are we completing the Third Humanity Development Wave?

Probably yes.

Alvin Toffler calls First Wave the one that arose with agricultural revolution (from year 8000 BC until XVII century).

Hunting and fishing stage is overcome, and agriculture is born; emerging new structures such as commerce and first villages.

Second Wave emerges during XIX century, with Industrial Revolution in which steam engine and printing press replaced manual labor.

Huge urban centers form; mass production concept is born; physical transport are intensified thanks to railroad, car and steamboat; natural resources begin to exploit as energy or raw material source; producer and consumer concepts are born.

Third Wave encompasses changes that world is living in last 50 years, which break paradigms that Second Wave imposed on us.

This Wave is at its peak and we surf more and more on it disarticulating structures through decentralization, demassification and personalization.

Resultado de imagen de la ola del sol

In Sopelia, we firmly believe that citizen empowerment through distributed generation is the means to achieve energy sovereignty at individual and national levels.

That is why we want to share this article published in a Spanish newspaper last Sunday, July 9th.

It puts name and surname to protagonists of a situation that until recently would have seemed to us of science fiction and that hopefully is more and more habitual.

In Germany Also Electricity Can Be Sharing.

All you need is Sun. All you need is Sopelia.

The Solar Battery

Without batteries, off-grid PV systems (except some cases such as water pumping) would be meaningless, because their functionality depends on electrical energy storage.

The battery is an electrochemical device that transforms chemical energy into electrical energy, whose presence is necessary because solar modules only generate energy when light hits them.

In addition, sometimes battery provides an instantaneous power higher than that of modules (eg: for starting motors) and provides stable and constant voltage regardless of light incidence.

The battery determines modules operating voltage. Therefore a safety margin is required which will mean a small loss (about 10%) with respect to maximum power that module could provide at higher voltages.

There is no ideal battery. The choice is a compromise between economy and suitability starting from a minimum quality that provides reliability and long life to the system.

In a battery, we have to take into account 3 technical considerations:

1º The discharge capacity

It is the maximum amount of electrical energy that can be supplied from its full charge to its complete discharge. Measurement unit is the amp hour.

The loading and unloading ratio and the battery and environment temperature are factors that can make vary its capacity.

Resultado de imagen de capacidad batería solar

2º The discharge depth

In renewable energy systems, only deep discharge batteries are used (we refer to capacity percentage that is used in a cycle of loading and unloading).

Deep discharge batteries have an average discharge of 25%, and can reach 90%.

Resultado de imagen de capacidad batería solar

3” Cycles of a battery

It is the time from complete charge to discharge.

Battery life is measured in number of cycles it can handle.

Resultado de imagen de capacidad batería solar

Auto-discharge should also be considered as an additional consumption that daily demands a certain percentage of stored energy.

As damaging as excessive discharge is for a battery to too much load. Way to prevent this is by introducing a charge controller.

Every time battery is recharged, does not completely regenerate, resulting in a degradation that will determine battery life.

If discharge depths are respected and maintenance is correct, battery service life should be approximately 10 years.

For PV systems, batteries used are:

1. Lead-Acid: Characterized by their low cost and maintenance they require (need to be in a cool place and periodically check electrolyte amount).

Lead-antimony are the most used in medium and large systems and lead-calcium are mainly used in small systems.

There are also 2 types of sealed lead-acid batteries: Gelled (incorporating an electrolyte gel type) and Absorbed Electrolyte (electrolyte is absorbed into a microporous glass fiber or a polymer fiber web).

These batteries don´t require maintenance in water aggregate form nor develop gases, but both require less deep discharges during their service life.

Resultado de imagen de batería solar de plomo - ácido

2. Nickel-cadmium: offer better performance, but have a higher price.

The electrolyte they use is an alkaline, have a low self-discharge coefficient, good performance at extreme temperatures and the discharge they support is around 90% of their rated capacity.

They are recommended for isolated or dangerous access places.

They can´t be tested with same reliability as lead acid. Therefore, if it is necessary to control charge state, they aren´t the best option.

Resultado de imagen de batería solar de níquel - cadmio

3. Lithium: they take up little space, they weigh less, they do not emit gases, they can be put anywhere, loading time is the fastest, total discharges can be made without affecting their useful life in a relevant way.

What is the disadvantage? Its very high price.

The manufacturer who can optimize them will have found the solar sector Holy Grail.

Resultado de imagen de batería solar de litio

This is an extract of contents included in Technical-Commercial Photovoltaic Solar Energy Manual and Sopelia e-learning training.

All you need is Sun. All you need is Sopelia.

Haití Solar Thermal

Devices that capture solar thermal energy range from collectors placed on the roofs to parabolic dishes or solar towers used in large systems that concentrate sunlight, produce heat and generate electricity.

Solar thermal devices are used in countries such as Haiti to:

* Solar water disinfection (SODIS)

By solar light and PET plastic bottles. UV rays exposure eliminates pathogens and bacteria providing a source of clean water and reducing water diseases transmission.

Resultado de imagen de sodis

* Solar Pasteurization

Using a solar cooker and water pasteurization indicators (WAPIs). Solar cooker heats the water and WAPI (small tubes / capsules with melting wax at 65 ° C, temperature with which viruses and bacteria die) indicates when it is suitable for consumption, saving fuel and reducing water diseases transmission.

Resultado de imagen de solar pasteurization

* Solar food dryer

Box with glazed lid and opening + mesh frames. Foods are placed in mesh racks and dried as the sun warms the box. Reduce use of fossil fuels, pollution and post-harvest losses.

Resultado de imagen de solar food dryer

* Solar kitchen

Heat trap boxes, curved concentrators and cooker panel. A device (mirror or reflective metal) concentrates light and heat inside a small cooking area. Reduce reliance on traditional fuels such as wood or coal and reduce indoor pollution.

Resultado de imagen de cocina solar

* Solar water heater

Solar thermal collector + water storage tank. Collector heats the fluid passing through it and heat is stored in the tank. Reduces reliance on traditional fuels; reduces carbon emissions and local pollution.

Resultado de imagen de solar water heater

Constant earthquakes cause many people in Haiti to live outdoor and in very bad conditions.

As they say, “here the sun never fails us.”

However, charcoal is life and scourge of Haitians. Without it, they don´t eat.

97% of the country is deforested. Each person consumes the equivalent of 500 kilograms of wood a year and an average family leaves half of their profits in firewood purchase.

Erosion is the big problem. People cut trees to survive; there is no other way to living.

This country needs a permanent solidarity commitment from international community.

An example of this is solar cooker project for Mont-Organisé.

Devices are based on solar concentration: they generate thermal energy from sunlight that passes through a lens. Energy is stored in a thermal “battery” that maintains heat for 20 hours, and therefore allows cooking at night.

Materials chosen to make the kitchens are sustainable, biodegradable and the device obviously does not need fuel.

Project is developed in collaboration with Italian Microcredit Agency, Federico II Naples University Agrarian Department, Tesla IA SRL and PACNE NGO.

In addition to financing, solar energy expansion to poor people requires a mix of scientific improvements, policy initiatives and collective action to combat climate change and energy access lack.

All you need is Sun. All you need is Sopelia.

Green Projects Financing

Many renewable energy projects have all the permits and have made the necessary (technical and economic) assessments that clearly demonstrate their great potential and cost-effectiveness.

Why aren´t they carried out ?

Simply because they don´t find the financing these kind of long term projects need.

Which projects can access affordable financing immediately ?

They are called RTB (Ready to Build), which basically count on:

* Technical and economic study
* Environmental impact assessment
* Grid connection point assigned
* PPA signed or electricity sales price fixed.

Resultado de imagen de financiación de proyectos verdes

To arrive at this categorization, initial kick is to make a terrain on which project is intended to develop evaluation respect to following variables:

– Unevenness
– Renewable resource availability
– Kms distance to paved transport routes
– Kms distance to electrical substation.

From this first analysis it is decided whether or not it is worthwhile to elaborate the project.

On June 3rd, 2017, Sopelia has become Representative Fiduciary Agent for Latin America of a major Abu Dhabi Investment Fund.

This Investment Fund collects and manages a multimillion-dollar portfolio of local, regional and international investments, which wishes to reinvest in projects financing to third investors, project owners and business facilitators in general at an annual interest rate of 3%.

These must be long-term investment projects that can generate an acceptable ROI during funding period.

Funding amounts range from a minimum of U$D 1 million to a maximum of U$D 10.9 billion.

The financing access process is very easy and transparent, with a direct relationship with investor once project qualifies established criteria.

We invite all renewable energy projects owners to send us their initiatives for our previous review.

After this preliminary stage, Investment Fund Board of Directors will analyze the project to determine if it is within the scope of our financing.

Resultado de imagen de evaluación de proyectos

Subsequently, a group of consultants will conduct a reevaluation and evaluation (due diligence).

This is the most important step in financing considering process.

The due diligence defines the terms and conditions to approve the financing and these conditions will be the basis of agreement that will be signed by Investment Fund and project owner.

As soon as due diligence process is completed, the Investment Fund will officially make a financing offer to project owner in very clear and precise terms.

Once terms have been established to grant the loan and if terms and conditions are declared acceptable by project owner, he is invited to sign the financing agreement to officially confirm Investment Fund’s project contribution.

All you need is Sun. All you need is Sopelia.