By Steve Hanawalt, Founding Partner, Power Factors, LLC
To achieve project cash flow expectations, it is necessary to operate, maintain and optimize the performance of a PV power asset to meet or exceed the pro forma operating assumptions. To assume as given the achievement of these model assumptions is both naive and risky. Experience in operating the largest fleet of solar PV power plants in the world has demonstrated that project financial hurdle rates can be missed by as much as 25% if the plant is not well maintained and its performance is not optimized. Conversely, an optimized PV asset can generate cash flows 2–10% higher than expected if the optimization approach described in this paper is implemented.