Sunlight Energy is an innovative company that will bring clean, renewable technologies to Ecuador. Our plan is to build a unique hybrid system that will use solar, Eolic, geothermal and hydraulic power to provide electricity to meet the growing needs of industry, commerce and communities.
Sunlight Energy Enterprises Inc. plans to build its first hybrid power plant in Imbabura, Ecuador. The mission we have set ourselves to do is to introduce a new advanced hybrid system using renewable technologies. The founder of the company is about to submit patents on three different systems and designs that will revolutionize renewable power plants; there is no power plant in the world that has implemented the vision of Sunlight Energy Enterprises Inc.
The first phase of our power plant will be to build a solar pyramid to be capable of producing energy of at least 20MW as part of our hybrid system as we built the other parts of the system, such as geothermal, wind, hydro and solar energy. The most important reason to use a hybrid system is to be able to achieve full production of renewable energy, to the point of being able to have production 24 hours a day, and use 100% renewable resources, which is an advantage over any other renewable power plant that uses a single method. Most solar powered plants usually generate only 15 % to 25 % of the energy at best, and in some cases they barely reach 15%, such as wind and solar farms. While following our plan costs are reduced in the production of electricity, because all renewable sources are being used, reducing the risk to investment and maximizing profits. On the other hand losses are reduced if there is damage or need to repair and regular maintenance of one of the components of the plant. In a hybrid system is not necessary to paralyze the operation of the entire system, only the turbine or generator that needs to be repaired would be paralyzed. This ensures that the plant can always be producing electricity.
Sunlight Energy is in the process of obtaining patents for this hybrid system for electricity production. The company will offer six products and services which will bring continued progress to the company. These services and products will be announced when such patents are already finished. We intent to lead the way for the use of American made products and to increase exports to Ecuador.
One of the products that we are developing is the “automated electrical control box”. A system that can be easily programmed to turn off most power breakers in the house and to keep the most important power breakers in the house on. This product will allow consumers to set the hours of peak usage and the hours in which there is only basic service to save energy, to provide service for the refrigerator only and the alarm system. Shutting down the rest of the electric service to a house could truly save billions of dollars a year in electricity consumption.
There is also the possibility of replicating and building similar energy centers of production of electrical energy in six different locations in Latin America, Sunlight Energy is confident that our concept can be applied successfully. The initial plan is to sell electric power to 2,000 customers. Then after two years of operation we are hoping to serve 10,000 customers. Eventually Sunlight Energy will be capable of providing electricity to at least 100,000 people in Imbabura, Ecuador with clean energy.
Products and Services
One of the factors that are detrimental to investment in renewable energy is the low production of wind farms and solar facilities. Usually only 20 % to 25 %, in most cases in Ecuador the production has been about 20%, when conditions are ideal and it’s due to poor engineering, low quality solar panels and bad maintenance. The same occurs on wind based energy plants. The main reason is of course because there are only twelve hours a day you can take advantage of solar energy systems. This energy is stored in batteries and distributed through an inverter to AC power according to demand. The incredible advantage we will have is the constant production of geothermal and hydraulic energy; while at the same time we are confident that solar and wind production will be one of the highest in the world due to the unique geographical position. Ecuador is located at the highest point on earth and therefore the highest solar heat.
Solar and wind power will provide from 45% to about 50 % of energy of our plant. At the same time that there is the important consideration that solar and wind energy suffers from no sun days due to cloudy and rainy days, its production is considerably lower at those times. Fortunately geothermal and hydroelectric power can operate and produce all the time. Thus our hybrid systems have several advantages:
• They complement each other, when the solar or wind system does not work the production of solar energy is stored for download in peak hours or when other systems need repair.
• You can keep producing electricity at 100 % of the time and the extra capacity to store peak hours.
• There is no loss of production for maintenance of one of the systems.
• Proper management of harnessing all renewable resources of the sun together, avoiding loss of production.
• The cost of construction, turbines and machinery is reduced when facilities support each other.
The clearest example is the use of geothermal energy. Although the technology actually uses a steam turbine, there is no need to build a plant to process coal, garbage, diesel or any fuel. The power of earth itself does the work. Our system retrieves absolutely free renewable energy (wind, sun, geothermal and hydraulic power that will be produced in the process of converting the steam to water and pumping it back into the geothermal system. Avoiding enormous production costs other systems require due to the constant need to purchase materials such as coal or fuels. In Nuclear power the dangers in countries and seismic areas and nuclear waste make them completely impossible in most countries in South America. Not so with geothermal, hydro, wind or solar plants.
Operation and Development
The great advances in technology have improved designs and the power outcome of solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal turbines and hydraulic power, but we have also patented new technology that will make our company take a giant step in harnessing renewable energy to maximize the use of renewable resources. It is the most innovative way to use a geothermal resource combined with solar, wind and hydraulic processes of electricity generation.
Sunlight Energy Enterprises, which envisages the generation of 120MW of solar power by 2016, and a total of 400MW of total electric energy production once we combine wind, solar, geothermal and hydraulic power by the year 2018. Sunlight Energy will give a big impetus to the solar energy market and renewable energy in Ecuador. To accomplish this, we must encourage the central government of Ecuador to take all necessary steps to boost both grid and off-grid solar segments. By December 2015, we are hoping to be granted permission to generate at least 5 MW of electric energy on our first solar pyramid, adding up to a total of 120 MW of grid connected solar PV power by the end of three years. An additional 280 MW of renewable energy will come from our Eolic, hydraulic and geothermal plant.
We are hoping to initiate operations during 2015. For Stage I of our Mission, the minimum capacity of a single PV plant would probably be restricted to 5 MW while the maximum capacity must be eventually raised to120 MW. To tap the potential of this technology, there needs to be a combined effort on the part of the solar power players within Ecuador, in the part of our company and the local and central government. While, on one hand, the government needs to create an ecosystem to develop the segment, the players need to develop and use the right technology to ensure financial returns, while maintaining quality. It is imperative to achieve maximum results on the mission that we have set ourselves to achieve and the successful completion of the first stage, it is expected that solar PV based power plants will become an exciting business opportunity. Building a solar grid connected plant and selling such energy to ‘to the government’ as defined by the Ministry and Central Electricity Regulatory Commission under the Renewable Power Obligation (RPO) rules, is fast emerging as a good investment option. The Ministry of Renewable Energy has issued a number of guidelines around solar and solar grid power systems, which we shall follow carefully to achieve our goals so we can take this opportunity and get into the power generation business. On the other hand the government of Ecuador should seriously use this opportunity to ensure that our enterprise works for their benefit as much as we hope it will work for our corporate enterprises. However, to enter and explore this new opportunity, Sunlight Energy needs to understand and focus on some key requirements.
Components of business
Right technology mix:
As the sun shines on solar panels, they generate DC electricity. This DC current is stored for distribution and then routed into the inverter that converts it to AC electricity, the same as the conventional electricity supply. Thus, a grid connected solar plant is a combination of various components of which the most important are the photovoltaic panels. As well as the solar inverters, the transmission and distribution systems, transformers, electrical systems, chemicals used, etc. The plant should be designed for interconnection with the transmission network and ensure a useful life of at least 25 years. The key building blocks for solar power plants include the solar module (the power generating device), solar inverters (that convert the power produced into AC power), and power evacuation (that steps up the voltage to specified kV levels and injects it into the grid). So it is important that Sunlight Energy acquires the best possible equipment for this entire cycle of generating power.
Right talent to undertake solar energy projects:
Another factor that is important to run a solar power plant is to have the right manpower to execute the project. This is a major challenge in the solar sector because enough skilled hands are not available especially in Ecuador, it becomes imperative to train the right personnel to build the project and therefore we plan to carry out the installation of forty panels in the building where we will have our headquarters. A key issue in hiring candidates, they should have a good understanding of energy, in protecting the environment and understanding the economics involved in solar production. We must strive to find people who can take care of the design and engineering of the systems or for production engineers, who can oversee production as well as look after quality control measures.
The plant needs to be fully loaded:
It is very important to ensure adequate returns on investment in every part of our plant. This is possible only when the plant runs to its full capacity at all times, as a result of its good harvesting capacity throughout the time sunlight is available. We certainly have a unique opportunity in Ecuador where the sun is stronger than in most parts of the earth. This is never possible in off-grid plants, since self-use power needs vary widely and rated capacity is kept high to primarily meet peak demand. Thus, all such plants have a large portion of their peak capacity available to feed into the grid and thereby ensure the harvesting of its full capacity. Only when all such excess power is injected in a grid can more solar power be harvested.
Start with a smaller plant:
The experiences of solar power installations across the world show that smaller solar power plants are easier to maintain than bigger plants. This also helps in generating local employment. Most importantly, there is practically no financial advantage in having large plants. The cost per watt of solar power remains the same, irrespective of the size of the plant invested in. Setting up a 10 kW plant will cost 10 per cent of a 100 kW plant; and the cost of a 1 MW plant will be 10 times the cost of a 100 kW plant. This is because the basic PV panel constitutes a significant part of the plant’s cost and its power capacity is about 230 Wp to 250 Wp. One just has to add more panels to build a larger plant. Since the economies of scale do not operate to any advantage in starting with a large plant, most experts consider that smaller but more effective solar energy plants are more viable and can be set up by small and medium sized enterprises. We will use such strategy for growth and rather than starting with the large pyramid we plan to build eventually, we will start and build a small pyramid first, to achieve precisely as stated before. However, our advantage is that our design and technology will produce much more electricity than the conventional systems.
Location of the Solar Plant:
The location of or solar plant guarantees the best possible production into the national grid.
• We have analyzed the location very thoroughly. There are a number of reasons as to why we chose the location and now it is a matter of having the funding available. In fact our plant will be located at the very center of the most powerful ley lines in the world and mean increase energy fields and electric production.
• We must strive for the highest possible quality at the best possible price because all the components of the solar system are dependent on other components like solar inverters, transmission and distribution systems, etc, one needs to do thorough research in each of these areas and traveling to China, the United States, Canada and Europe to visit factories will be well worth the expense if the best system is acquired. We must also acquire at a discounted price.
• An overview of the global scenario is mandatory—different international agencies are working in this field, and may have good aid facilities either in terms of technology or money.
• We must find the best supplier, engineering, procurement and commissioning (EPC) contractors who have a good track record.
• Have the right business processes/systems in place.
• Employ and train suitable manpower. A training program must be put in place.
• Partner with reputed companies, with universities and check the profitability of their operations
• Site selection and proximity to power evacuation is also a key criteria because cost of the distribution system may reach into a substantial amount of investment.