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Advances in Utility-Scale PV Plants: Key Lessons Learned: Mahesh Morjaria, Ph.D.

Monday, February 26, 2018 at 1:25pm

Physical Sciences Building, 120
245 East Avenue

Advances in Utility-Scale PV Plants: Key Lessons Learned

Mahesh Morjaria, Ph.D.
VP, PV Systems, First Solar.

Abstract

Global PV solar generation has grown rapidly from an installed base of only 150MW in 2000 to over 390 GW by the end of 2017. Due to rapid solar generation cost reductions, it is expected to continue to grow to over ~870GW installed base by 2022. Rapid PV module cost reduction along with advances in utility-scale PV plant design and balance of system (BOS) components have played a significant role in making utility-scale solar generation more cost-effective than conventional generation.

The capability of utility-scale PV plants to address grid reliability and stability concerns is yet another enabler that is critical to integrate large amount of PV generation into the electric power grid. PV plants with “grid-friendly” features such as voltage regulation, active power controls, and ramp rate controls have already alleviated these reliability concerns. The viability of PV plants to provide important ancillary services to the grid was recently demonstrated in a pioneering test conducted by First Solar with NREL and CAISO on a 300MW utility-scale PV plant.  The results showed that the PV plant can certainly provide ancillary services to the grid like conventional generation, and in some cases, can even out-perform them. Some of these critical innovations that have made this significant PV growth possible will be discussed in this seminar.

Bio

Dr. Mahesh Morjaria is the Vice President, PV Systems Development at First Solar in Tempe, Arizona where he leads the R&D effort in PV systems technologies for utility-scale solar plants. Over the past seven years, he has established himself as a leading expert in the area of solar generation and in addressing key challenges associated with integrating utility-scale solar plants into the power grid. Dr. Morjaria previously worked at GE for over twenty years where he held various leadership positions including a significant role in expanding the wind energy business. He brings more than 35 years of advanced technology, and product development. He is the author of numerous industry leading papers and patents in the area of solar, wind generation & grid integration. His academic credits include B.Tech from IIT Bombay and M.S. & Ph.D. from Cornell University.

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