This document contains a SWOT analysis of 10 MW solar power plant designing project and basic procedures to take before implementing a such power plant design project. Application structures are also included in the document.
Solar Power Station
ProjectAnalysis Report for Power Plant of 10MW capacity
Rusiru Sanjaya 2016-08-19 SunPower Systems (PVT) LTD.
SWOT analysis of the Power Plant
Project Implementation Process…………….…………………………………………….6
Pre-feasibility report and statutory approval……………………………………..…7
Financial Aspects of the project…………… ………………………………………………10
P a g e | 1
At the moment according to the energy consultants, Sri Lanka is heading to an energy
crisis during early 2020s. Though the country has policies to get rid of fossil fuel generated
energy by 2030, there are stillprojects which are proposed and about to implement, that burn
fossil fuels to generate energy. But now the world trend has gone far more away than this
condition. Now most of foreign countries are implementing thousands of projects to
introduce renewable energy to their power systems whereas some countries have already
produce their total power required for the consumers using renewable energy. Due to
burning fossil fuels, global warming and environmental effects have increased day by day. At
this rate of CO2 emission to the air, sooner the earth will become place which is not suitable
for human to live anymore.
As responsible citizens and businessmen in the country, we should lead this country
to find environmental friendly power solutions to compete with the energy crisis. Among
these renewable energy solutions, Solar Power systems have become most important and
favourite energy source. Most of the foreign countries have implemented large scale of solar
power systems projects because using solar insolation, it could be easily obtain large amount
of energy with zero environmental pollution, for zero cost except for the installations and
zero noises.And this would not be a solution just for two three years, but itcan provide energy
free of charge as our Sun willprovide solarenergy for another thousands of years. So investing
on solar energy will be much better decision for the energy solutions.
This report will be focused on describing and analyse the strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities, treats as wellas guide on project implementation process,governing and ruling
bodies relevant to these kind of projects and also the sequence of process which has to be
done. And also brief financial analysis on the 10MW solar power plant is also included in this
P a g e | 2
Geographically, Sri Lanka is located near the equator which is the ideal position for a
country finding energy solution by solar energy because of the high sun irradiations.
Thus it would be really good decision to invest for solar power plant in this country as
the payback period is minimum compared to the other countries which are located in
away from the equator.
As our company has done few other large scale solar projects, we have many
experiences regarding the maintenance problems and problems which would arise
after the installation of the system. Therefore prior steps can be taken to avoid those
issues happening in this kind of a project and it’llminimize or eliminatepotential losses
that company would incur by this project.
As we have done so many other projects including moderately large scale projects
(200kW, 400kW), our company has engineers and technicians with full of experiences.
So there is no considerable issues regarding the technical skills required to operate
10MW solar power plant.
Having all the experience obtaining by solar installation done so far, our company has
good knowledge of the quality of our products and also currently we are importing
components in best and reputed brands in the world. So durability and reliability of
our instruments and components is not an issue at all for this kind of a long term
According to solarinstallations done so far around the country, our company has good
idea about the weather conditions around the country with experiences from installed
systems’ outputs behaviours during past years. So choosing suitable and best
geographical locations for the system becomes easy task.
By implementing a Solar Power Plant, we can contribute to reduce CO2 emission to
atmosphere in millions of tons for each year. So that effects such as global warming
can be minimized.
P a g e | 3
All the projects we have done so far are below the 1MW capacity. But we are looking
about 10MW system in this project. Thus we may suffer out of numbers of engineers
and technicians to maintain such large system in once.
If this project going to be implemented, large amount of money has to be invested
undoubtedly. Our company may not have that much of money to implement this
project. If our capitalstrength is not sufficientfor a project likethis,it will be disastrous
if it’s unable to complete the project because there is no return on investment until
the project has successfully done.
If grid becomes unstable or go offline when during the operation of the power plant,
the generated energy will no more be transferred to the grid and hence that energy
will be lost due to lack technologies in large scale storage system. Hence lack of
storages become weakness point.
Sri Lanka being an island, salty atmosphere may cause badly to the systemlifetime as
its components become corroded sooner.
As Sri Lanka is a tropical country, panels’ temperature become increased due to hot
atmosphere and hence the efficiency of the panel get reduced.
And also due to high relative humidity, solar irradiations may be reduced in some
P a g e | 4
In around 2020s, Sri Lanka will be facing a huge power crisis as at the moment the
demand for the power in Sri Lanka is increasing rapidly. There are no any additional
power plants in near future to be run to meet this demand. So the government will
have to lookup renewable energy sources as it can be implement very quickly
compared to the other large scalepower plants. So in this scenario, Solar Power Plants
are the best solution and this creates many benefits to the firms who runs solar power
The fossil fuel reserves in the world become over during next decades. So the only
solution for power crisis is become renewable energy and thus Solar energy for
countries near the equator.
Now many firms are manufacturing solar panels and other products. Thus competency
among these firms become very high. Due to that price of the solar products become
less. This ensure to build the plant with quality products for minimum costs.
It is well known that the efficiency of the PV panels are very low. But many R&A
projects are ongoing to maximize the efficiency of the solar panels. This will be a great
opportunity in the future improvements of the systems.
Comparison to other power generating systems, solar power plants have less
operation and maintenance manpower required.
A solar power plant will be running a very long time compared to other power
In environmental perspective, solar power plants generates clean energy without
emitting any gas. This leads to maximum environmental clean development.
P a g e | 5
It is obvious that after completing the project, if the solarinsolation failedto reach the
system properly due to some long term bad weather or clouds, there are no other
option except to bear the losses occurring initial capital cost and maintenance. So
weather would be uncontrollable threat for the project in the future.
If the grid becomes unstable of the country or if the power cuts going to happen very
frequently, then power generated by our system won’t exported during that time. If
there is no other auxiliary system for storing that energy, it will cause huge losses to
the plant as that energy is wasted. So considering the grid stability of the country
should be very important.
Nowadays as many companies are tending to install sola power systems and thus
there may be lack of employees who are well trained about the solar systems because
of the higher job demand for the employees such as technicians and engineers.
When this project is implementing, company would have to look after its past
customers’ service to maintain its usual customer relationships as well as the project
which is going to implementing in future. If customers feel that they are not supplied
with the service which they deserved from the company, they will definitely be a huge
threat to the company.
Villagers in this area may not willing to accept this kind of project in their area due to
varies reasons. So we have to consider villager’s concerns also because without their
support project won’t be able to implement and it’ll be great threat to the project.
P a g e | 6
Project Implementation process
1. Selecting a suitable site – According to the sola insolation and other requirements,
suitable area in the country should be selected.
2. Pre-feasibility study and financial analysis of the project –Before starting a renewable
energy project, it should be done a feasibilitystudy according to the regulations of SEA
and a Financial feasibility of basic inputs like land, labour, solar insolation, solar PV
systems etc. with the output which can obtain by the system.
3. Statutory Approvals and obtaining an Energy Permit – To implement the project,
company should obtain relevant statutory approvals from regulatory bodies. If the
project is approved by them, an energy permit will be granted by these authorities to
continue generating energy and sell it to the national grid.
4. Getting into power purchase agreement – A power purchase agreement is signed
between CEB and the company to get into an agreement which CEB buys the
electricity from the company.
5. Financing to solar project – This is usually very high investment because tools and
components used in a solar system are very expensive. And further there are more
other expenses that would incur during the implementation of the project. So it is
necessary to have a clear vision in financing the project.
6. Acquire the Land – If the project becomes financially feasible, then the Land space
should be leased or bought first.
7. Basic technological design of the system – The layout of the basic technological design
of solar power systemis prepared by the engineers and technicians having experience
in the field.
8. Testing and connecting to Grid – After the system is tested for the correct working
conditions, power plant is connected to the Grid to export energy in order to sellthem
9. Operating and Maintenance – A typical solar PV panel has 25 – 30 lifetime and an
inverter has 10 – 15 years lifetime. To expand their lifetime, it should be well
maintained and cleaned the components of the system.
P a g e | 7
Pre-feasibility Report and Statutory Approval
Sustainable Energy Authority (SEA) is the main legal body to manage and control over the
renewable energy sources in Sri Lanka. All the instructions and permissions will be given by
Sustainable Energy Authority regarding a renewable energy project is to be implemented. If
the proposed project is more than 10MW capacity, then acquiring a generation license from
CEB will be necessary as well. Since this project is of 10MW capacity, there is no need of
acquiring a generation license of CEB. Before applying a formal application to the SEA for
renewable energy project, recourses are provided in the On-Grid Renewable Energy Projects
Regulation 2009 to verify the availability of the suitable NRE site for development. And then
a formal application need to be prepared to submit to the SEA as prescribed in Section 16(2)
of the On-Grid Renewable Energy Projects Regulation 2011 and this application should be
accompanied with a Pre-feasibility study report. When the application is being submitting, a
non-refundable application fees should be paid to SEA.
Pre-feasibility Study report
In this study report it should be include a Summary of the Pre-feasibility study,
Certification by the accredited Consultant and Study report based on the list of
Standard format for Summary of the Pre-feasibility study
Standard format for Certification by the accredited Consultant
Standard format for Study report based on the list of contents
When preparing the pre-feasibility study report following aspects should be given focused
Land issues must be sort out( availability of the land for the project, consent of the
agency to whom the land belongs to etc.) and clear identification of ownership
P a g e | 8
Resource issues (availability of the resource for the project, conflicting uses of the
resource etc.) must be clearly understood by studying all aspects of the resources
such as seasonality and other uses (existing and future) of the resource which may
compromise the project feasibility.
Issues with respect to affected communities will have to be understood and
documented to avoid conflicts during project implementation
Making an Application
In this process proponent has to make the contact with SEA by making an application to
SEA. When applying for renewable energy project, proponent has to make an application
fee to the SEA as described below. Following main components should be included in the
a) Pre-feasibility report prepared by a Consultant accredited by SEA, with one page
b) A copy of the map of the geographical location of the proposed project
c) A brief description of the project, including the amount of power to be
d) The total estimated cost and financial model including the optimisation criteria
e) Proof of availability of adequate finances or the manner in which the required
finances for the project are to be obtained.
f) Project location, describing the relative location of the energy conversion plant
and equipment to the resource, as a further explanation of (b) above
g) A statement explaining how the Applicant intends to deliver electricity
generated by the project to the national grid, and geographical area travelled by
the power line to be constructed for that purpose.
h) A copy of the receipt obtained from the SEA, for the payment of the application
fee, which will be calculated according to the schedule given overleaf
Amount of power proposed to be
Fee to be paid on application
1000kW or part thereof LKR 100,000
Each additional 1,000kW LKR 50,000 payable on pro rata basis
P a g e | 9
In this process, proponent has to obtain formal approval from several other agencies
to proceed with the project development. The approval of DivisionalSecretary Central
Environment Authority and an assurance from CEB on purchasing energy from the
proposed project will provide a strong acceptance to the project beforehand.
Divisional Secretary’s Approval - Divisional Secretary is considered as the
representative of the Government at the grass root level who protects and
manages the state land and other natural resources. Under the 13th
Amendment to the constitution, getting the consent of the respective
Provincial Council is also compulsory.
Letter of intent – This document is issued by CEB to signify the assurance of
CEB to procure the electricity generated by the project. When applying for this
letter proponent should be made an application fee of LKR 100,000 to CEB.
Feasibility Study Phase
In this phase, the Developer makes detailed evaluation of the feasibilityof the project,
giving due consideration to the input resources and outcome of the project.
Comprehensive Feasibility Study - The Developer is required to evaluate all
factors which influence the project, ranging from weather and climate
conditions to eventualities of relocating people who may be affected by the
Environmental Examination - The Developer is required to make an
application to the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) seeking
environmental clearance. Depending on the severity of the environmental
impact of the project, the project may be required to undergo either an Initial
Environmental Examination (IEE) or a more comprehensive Environmental
Impact Assessment (EIA).
Having obtained statutory clearance to proceed, the Developer is required to secure an
Energy Permit to use the renewable energy resource, a Generation License from PUCSL to
generate electricity and sell energy to the CEB.
Energy Permit – All renewable energy resources are owned by the republic of
Sri Lanka. Hence the utilization of resources is granted through a20 year permit
P a g e | 10
system. Once all other approvals are secured by a project Developer, the PAC
grants a 20 year permit (extendable by a further 20 years after the successful
operation of the project during the initial 20 year period) to the Developer
allowing him to use the resource under several conditions. The Developer will
have to pay a fee of LKR 500,000/- (per MW of capacity) as the permit fee in
the caseof projects with capacities of 10MW or less. The Energy Permit carries
a grace period of 2 years to allow for construction activities, and the
Developers are required to complete implementation within this period.
Generation License - The project Developer, possessing an Energy Permit is
required to obtain a Generation License from the Public Utilities Commission
of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) with the enactment of the Sri Lanka Electricity Act 20 of
2009. The annual fees payable to PUCSL for the Generation License will be LKR
10,000/- per MW.
Power Purchase Agreement - All projects having capacities of 10MW or less
have to be taken under the Standardised Power Purchase Agreement (SPPA),
reached between the CEBand the power producer. The time tested agreement
is supported by tariffs offered to various technologies and are subject to
revisions based on project cost escalations, at appropriate intervals. The SPPA
is valid for a period of 20 years from the date of commercial operation.
Financial Aspects of the project
After obtaining the statutory permissions, company should manage the financial
resources to implement the project. Even though the project is in statutory clearance
procedures, company can handle financing resources because no sooner the required
approvals will be given for the project by the relevant parties if the necessary documents
and requirements are provided accordingly.
Financing methods should be decided based on the capital strength of the company and
required mount of investment to the project. Company has to decide whether the capital
strength of the company to implement this project is strong or else to obtain debt from
external parties. To decide these things, company has to do a proper analysis on all
expenditures on this project.
P a g e | 11
Let’s assume the solar irradiation of the site is 1kW/m2 and PV panel with the dimensions
1639*983 mm2 and efficiency of 16%. Then required panel area to generate 10MW
system capacity is as follows,
Therefore at least 5.053*105 m2 land area is required to establish the system. Thus
number of panels required is,
If a panel cost is around Rs.20, 000 then cost of the panels = 38,793*20,000
= 775.86 million rupees
If 1MW inverters are used, then required number of inverters = 10
Cost of each inverter = 2.5 million rupees
Then cost for the inverters = 25 million rupees
Then the total cost for the PV panels and Inverters = 800 million rupees
In additional to the above cost, there are many other costs associated with this projects such
as installation costs, transportation costs, system mounting costs, costs for developments of
infrastructures etc. Therefor total amount required for a 10MW project may be around 1.5 to
2.0 billion rupees.
Ceylon Electricity Board offers Three-Tier Tariff method which describes how the rates are
calculated.Accordingto theirtariffs,SolarPowerPlant will be offereda flat tariff of Rs. 23.10 / kWh
(non-escalable for20 years).Therefore requiredenergytobe generatedtorecoverthe cost incurred
for thisprojectcan be calculatedasfollowsbyassumingthe costis1.5 billionrupeesfor the project.
By considering average Sun time is 5 hours and energy generating in this sun hours is 10MW,
we can calculate the approximate payback period.
10 × 106
1 × 103 × 0.16
= 62,500 𝑚2
𝑃𝑎𝑛𝑒𝑙 𝑛𝑜𝑠 =
1639 × 983 × 10−6
= 38,793 𝑛𝑜𝑠
𝑅𝑒𝑞𝑢𝑖𝑟𝑒𝑑 𝑒𝑛𝑒𝑟𝑔𝑦 𝑡𝑜 𝑟𝑒𝑐𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑠𝑡 =
𝑅𝑠.1.5 × 109
= 6.494 × 107 𝑘𝑊ℎ = 2.34 × 1011 𝑘𝐽
𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑝𝑎𝑦𝑏𝑎𝑐𝑘 𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑜𝑑 𝑖𝑠 𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑥𝑖𝑚𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑙𝑦 =
2.34 × 1011 𝑘𝐽
10 × 5 × 3600 × 103 𝑘𝐽
= 1299 𝑑𝑎𝑦𝑠(≈ 3.6𝑦𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑠)
P a g e | 12
Above payback period is calculated without considering any interest rates. If interest rates
are considered, above payback period will be increased. For an instance let’s assume an
interest rate of 15% of financing method to be used. Then the actual payback period can be
calculated as follows.
𝑚𝑎𝑥𝑖𝑚𝑢𝑚 𝑟𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑛𝑢𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑐𝑎𝑛 𝑏𝑒 𝑜𝑏𝑡𝑎𝑖𝑛 𝑏𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑦𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑚 𝑝𝑒𝑟 𝑚𝑜𝑛𝑡ℎ
= 5 × 104 𝑘𝑊ℎ × 𝑅𝑠.23.1/𝑘𝑊ℎ × 30
= 𝑅𝑠 3.465 × 107
𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑝𝑎𝑦𝑏𝑎𝑐𝑘 𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑜𝑑 𝑖𝑠 𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑥𝑖𝑚𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑙𝑦 = 1920 𝑑𝑎𝑦𝑠(≈ 5.3 𝑦𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑠)