The Challenges to Developing PV Power Plants

There are 6,500 megawatts (MW) of PV project development currently in process across the United States.  Clearly the PV industry is poised for strong growth but the hurdles for PV project developers are numerous, and many of these MW

solar energy, solar project development, photovoltaics

How long before this technician could go to work?

may not be implemented. These hurdles include extensive permitting regulations which vary widely at the local, regional and national levels, interconnection standards that vary across thousands of utility companies, and locating new transmission lines for large projects to name a few. A good example of the challenges and complexity for PV project developers can be found here.

A recent article regarding new transmission lines for a large solar farm in Colorado for the utility company Xcel Energy highlights one of these challenges. With an objection to the new 140 mile transmission line by one landowner, PV project developers are now unable to secure project financing until this issue is cleared up. This could take months or years. This type of project roadblock can happen as a result of any number of matters that must be checked off by developers.

While German PV project developers work under a national set of standards and can implement projects in as little as 6 months, their American counterparts face a cornucopia of various technical and installations standards, permitting requirements, and environmental requirements, which can result in a year or more of wrangling before most large projects can simply break ground.

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