January 27, 2014

Solar Power Glossary

The solar energy industry is replete with unique terms, abbreviations and acronyms. In order to assist you in deepening your understanding of solar power, here is a list of terms you are likely to encounter in our materials.

Glossary of Terms

EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) — The tasks of designing an installation, procuring the necessary materials and constructing the project, undertaken by an engineering contractor.

ESIA (Environmental and Social Impact Assessment) — A report detailing the potential impacts and consequences of a proposed project on the local community and environment.

Feed-in Tariff — A government policy mechanism designed to encourage investment in renewable energies by providing renewable energy generators with long term contracts which pay a cost based priced for the energy that they provide.

Grid Parity — Grid parity is achieved when for a given area at a certain time of day, the cost of an alternative technology for electricity production matches the existing average for the area at that time. Grid parity is considered to be the point at which an energy source becomes a contender for widespread development without subsidies or government support.

Insolation — A portmanteau of the phrase “Incoming Solar Radiation”, it is a measure of the amount of solar radiation energy received on a given surface area over a given time. It is usually recorded in units of megajoules per square meter (MJ/m2) or watt-hours per square meter (Wh/m2). Insolation is also often referred to as solar irradiation.

IPP (Independent Power Producer) — An entity which is not a public utility, but which owns facilities to generate electrical power for sale to utilities and end users.

Local Off-Taker — A regional entity which agrees to purchase a producer’s future production. In the case of energy generation, a local off-taker would agree to purchase energy generated in the future from a power plant in the region.

MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) — A bilateral or multilateral agreement between two or more parties expressing a convergence of will between the parties without implying a legal commitment. It is generally accepted to be a more formal alternative to a gentlemen’s agreement.

National Grid — An interconnected network for delivering electricity from suppliers to consumers throughout a nation via transmission lines and cables.

Net Metering — A service provided to an electricity consumer wherein any electricity generated by that consumer and distributed to the local grid is used to offset the costs of electric energy provided to the consumer during the applicable billing period.

PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) — A contract between an electricity generator and an electricity purchaser, defining all of the commercial terms for the sale of electricity between the two parties.

PV (Photovoltaics) — A method of generating electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct current electricity.

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