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Author Archives: Rick Ivins

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Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Connector Mismatch

PV connector mismatch is one of the most common solar project deficiencies. In our work as an Owner’s Engineer, Pure Power identifies mismatch connectors on roughly 25% of our clients’ projects. While PV connector mismatch is a persistent and...

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3rd Party Drawing Reviews Reduce Risk

Long before a system completes construction and starts its 25+ year generation life, it all starts with the design.  The design is a multiplying force where a small mistake can cause big problems and introduce risk throughout the life of the system.

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3G Wireless Network Obsolescence and Its Impact on Solar

By the end of 2019, Verizon will obsolete its coverage on legacy 3G networks. ATT will follow suit by 2021. The time to implement a replacement plan is now.

Why is this important for owners and financiers?

Connectivity to a site is the lifeline for...

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Understanding Microgrid Due Diligence

In the United States, energy storage capacity has now surpassed two gigawatt hours. Year over year, this capacity is increasing by nearly 50%, according to Consulting-Specifying Engineer Magazine. This is enough energy to power more than 1.6 million...

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5 Important Duties of a Solar Owners Engineer

According to Statista, global solar photovoltaic capacity has increased from roughly 5 gigawatts in 2005 to approximately 509.3 gigawatts in 2018. This is largely due to its widening global acceptance as well as the increasing recognition of solar...

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What Is Photovoltaic Solar Energy and How Does it Work?

Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to find solar panels installed by a solar independent engineer on the roof of both residential and commercial buildings. These solar panels comprise small cells referred to as photovoltaic cells. These cells are the...

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Expect the Unexpected: The Impacts of Grid Congestion on Solar Development

As the installed capacity of solar PV systems in the US continues to scale and more geographic regions of the country achieve high penetration rates of renewables, grid congestion is becoming a high priority consideration for many large-scale...

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Lessons from the Early Adopters

Pure Power has provided clients with professional services for more than a decade, including electrical, structural, and mechanical engineering, energy modeling, project development support, and PV plant performance analysis and reporting. The...

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Developing Bankable Solar and Energy Storage Projects

To fund solar and energy storage projects, developers must first clear a lender’s bankability hurdle. In this context, bankability is directly related to investor confidence and the perceived risk associated with project returns. Due diligence...

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Solar Asset Acquisition: Optimizing the Value of Third-Party Engineering Services During and After Construction

For IPPs that acquire solar assets after projects are developed and designedrather than during development or design stagesthere are relatively fewer opportunities to fix design problems or engage in value engineering. Nevertheless, it remains...

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Solar Asset Acquisition: Optimizing the Value of Third-Party Engineering Services During Development and Design

Independent power producers (IPPs) have different business models for solar asset acquisition. Some IPPs actively engage in development activities, such as site selection and preliminary design studies. Other IPPs look to acquire PV power systems...

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Independent Engineering Versus Owner’s Engineering

When companies do not have in-house engineering—or when an independent third-party perspective is required—outsourcing is common practice. This typically involves engaging an independent engineer (IE) or an owner’s engineer (OE) for professional...

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Best Practices Versus Code Compliance

Technical due diligence is essential to solar project success in commercial, industrial and utility applications. Large PV power systems are capital-intensive expenditures with a service life of 30 years or more. If these assets do not operate...

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Importance of Accurate As-Built Drawings

As an Owners Engineer, Pure Power often supports clients by making strategic decisions about how best to repair, re-power, or optimize the performance of operational solar assets. In this role, our team of experts and engineers often relies on...

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Climate-Specific Design – Risk vs Value Engineering

Mother Nature provides an unlimited source of clean energy from the sun. However, she also has a dark side that can wreak havoc on your array. As your Owners Engineer, Pure Power ensures the assets you build and acquire are designed for all the...

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Optimizing I-V Curve Tracing Activities

Through our work as an Owner’s Engineer, Pure Power has extensive experience evaluating, inspecting, and commissioning PV power systems. While I-V curve tracing is an essential tool in these efforts, it is not necessarily the best tool for every...

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Using Aerial Imaging in Lieu of Boots on the Ground

The strategic and efficient use of resources for PV system commissioning and operations and maintenance (O&M) are critical to optimizing solar PV power system revenue and profitability. Through our work as an Owner’s Engineer, Pure Power has...

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When to use PVsyst, HelioScope, and SAM

At Pure Power, our project managers and engineers use photovoltaic simulation software developed by PVsyst, Folsom Labs, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). By having access to and experience with multiple complementary tools, we...

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What is Technical Debt?

Technical Debt is the cost to the system owner as a result of prior decisions made to save time or money during the engineering, procurement, or installation of a solar project.

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Technical Due Diligence for Solar Purchase and/or Acquisitions

Pure Power has been helping our client’s de-risk in their assets with our Independent Engineering (IE) & Owner’s Agent services. We cover the complex technical aspects of due diligence, while you focus on the financial and management side of the...

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The Cost of Quality – A Solar IE’s perspective

There is a well-known business adage called the “Cost of Quality”. This is a sliding scale that says, the closer to completion a project gets, the more expensive it is to fix quality issues.

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Under-Performance – Part 2: Soiling, Snow, & Shade

Modules can underperform for a variety of environmental and non-environmental factors.  With good design and operation practices we can mitigate non-environmental factors. However, we cannot control the environment. We can only predict its behavior,...

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Under-Performance – Part 1: The Sun’s Potential

Modules can underperform for a variety of environmental and non-environmental factors.  With good design and operation practices we can mitigate non-environmental factors. However, we cannot control the environment. We can only predict its behavior,...

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The Importance of Torque for PV System Longevity

Torque is a commonly used term in Solar PV system inspection, which refers to the act of tightening a mechanical fastener. The fastener can cover a wide array of details, not limited to attaching structural members, electrical connection and weather...

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Conduct Due Diligence In-House or Hire a Specialist?

Conducting technical due diligence before a purchase/acquisition is essential for reducing risk and operating expense.

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Buyers Need an Owner’s Engineer in this Sellers’ Market

Pure Power has been helping buyers de-risk in their asset acquisition with our Owner’s representative and Independent Engineering services. We specialize in the technical due diligence and operation, allowing you to focus on the financial and...

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Spring Time for Preventive Maintenance

Spring cleaning also applies to solar! After harsh exposure to winter’s snow, ice, and rain, systems benefit from routine inspection and maintenance. This ensures performance will be optimal as the season progresses.

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ASTM E2848 Capacity Test for Beginners

 

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Acquiring Existing Photovoltaic Systems

A Photovoltaic (PV) System may change hands multiple times over its 20+ year operational lifespan. The buyer and seller in each transaction may view the same project or portfolio from very different perspectives. Simply put, the seller will...

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Understanding Bifacial Gain in PV Power Plants

Unlike conventional PV modules that convert only front-side irradiance into electrical power, bifacial modules convert both front- and back-side irradiance into electricity. While the additional rear-side irradiance improves plant performance in...

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Pro Tips for Passing a PV System Capacity Test

The basic goal of ASTM E2848, “Standard Test Method for Reporting Photovoltaic Non-Concentrator System Performance,” is to compare the ratio of a PV power plant’s actual in-field performance to its expected performance based on a system model. The...

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Outsourced versus In-House Solar Engineering Services

Roughly 80% of Pure Power’s customers have some level of internal engineering capabilities. Judging a book by its cover, this vast majority may seem counterintuitive. After all, why would engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors...

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Solar Carport Optimization - Part 2 of 2

Carports and canopies are the most expensive type of racking or PV module support structure. Therefore, its critical to optimize equipment selection and value engineer these projects.

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Solar Carport Optimization - Part 1 of 2

Carports and canopies are the most expensive type of racking or PV module support structure. Therefore, its critical to optimize equipment selection and value engineer these projects.

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Why Energy Storage Is More Difficult to Scale than Solar PV

As interest in stationary energy storage grows, it is tempting to assume that energy storage systems (ESS) in general—and battery energy storage systems (BESS) in particular—will follow a similar growth curve as solar photovoltaics (PV). In this...

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Free Voltage Drop

This is a follow up to the article 1500V Design Recommendations for 1500V String inverters, where we only briefly mentioned "Free Voltage Drop" and wanted to dive in a little deeper here.

When we value engineer a large solar project, we can take...

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Design Recommendations for 1500-Volt String Inverters

At Pure Power Engineering, our engineers work closely with project originators, developers and EPC firms to reduce the upfront capital costs of construction without sacrificing long-term operating costs. Given the dynamic nature of solar...

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Can Pure Power do it again in 2020?

How does Pure Power keep its stellar reputation year after year?  Simple… our team stays together and gains more experience every year.

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NJ and CA Adopt NEC 2017 (and the new rapid shutdown rules)

NEC 2017 brings with it some advantages and disadvantages. The new rapid shutdown rules that require MLPE are the biggest change (that is an advantage for safety, but disadvantage for project costs).

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Recruiting Referral $1,000 Awards!

Pure Power is looking to add more A-Players to our team. However, they are few and far between, so we need your help! If you refer us to a candidate and we hire them, we will send you a $1,000 Amazon gift card!

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The Solution to Your Clients’ Concerns About Walmart & Tesla

Developers of solar projects are facing the question…what are you doing to prevent the issues Walmart encountered?

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Intro to Relays #3 – What does SEL stand for?

Protective Relays are an advanced area of electrical engineering and contracting that can be intimidating, but they don’t have to be! This series of 3 articles will introduce basic relaying to the non-engineers in the solar and energy storage...

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Intro to Relays #2 - ANSI/IEEE Relay Numbers

Protective Relays are an advanced area of electrical engineering and contracting that can be intimidating, but they don’t have to be! This series of 3 articles will introduce basic relaying to the non-engineers in the solar and energy storage...

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Intro to Relays #1 - What are Relays, CTs & PTs?

Protective Relays are an advanced area of electrical engineering and contracting that can be intimidating, but they don’t have to be! This series of 3 articles will introduce basic relaying to the non-engineers in the solar and energy storage...

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Top 3 Mistakes Developers Let Their Installers Make

We often see the 3 mistakes below being made on many solar projects. These mistakes have an effect on the long term operation, quality, and safety of the system. Perhaps since they don’t have an immediate effect on project closeout, it's not on the...

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Nationwide Designs and Plan Sets for Commercial & Utility Scale Solar

With 21 engineers between our NJ, CO, and CA offices, we have unmatched bandwidth to design your solar & energy storage projects fast. What does that mean for your project? Quick turnaround time from quality engineers means you can complete your...

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Urgent: Rapid Shutdown Increases Project Costs Starting Jan 1, 2019

This is a simplified version of my previous article on the new Rapid Shutdown codes taking effect on January 1, 2019. For those interested in the technical details of the code, refer to 2017 NEC 690.12 Rapid Shutdown – Important Changes.

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2017 NEC 690.12 Rapid Shutdown – Important Changes

The 2017 National Electric Code (NEC) dramatically changes the requirements for "Rapid Shutdown of PV Systems on Buildings." Half of the states already adopted NEC 2017 and several more will in the next few months (such as NJ and CT), so you can’t...

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Reduce Costs with Aluminum Conductors on Solar Projects

Its common knowledge that Aluminum (Al) conductors cost less than Copper (Cu). But how big is the difference in price? The answer may shock you.

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2014 NEC 690.12 Rapid Shutdown - More on Conductor Length

Our first article 2014 NEC 690.12 Rapid Shutdown for String Inverters on Flat Roofs we explained the basics of implementing a rapid shutdown system using string inverters on a roof.  In that article, we gave a simple example of a single array.

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