Agenda topics 2018

Day 1: November 7th

8:20-8:25 Welcome

Adam Minkley, Conference Director, New Energy Update

8:25-8:30 Chairman's opening remarks

Andy Walker, Senior Research Fellow, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

8:30-9:00 PV O&M Markets Overview
  • What is the real impact of the latest import tariffs on solar panels? How does this impact implementation of new projects and what is being done on the supply side to mitigate its impact?
  • What is the impact of China’s reduction of installation base on product pricing and availability today and in the near term?
  • Will PV plus storage (PVS) be common for utility-scale projects in three years?
  • What impacts will PVS introduce to the U.S. PV market?

Dr. Xiaoting Wang, Energy specialist, Bloomberg New Energy Finance

9:00-9:20 Lifecycle project risk mitigation: Insurer's lessons from 2018
  • Receive several Interesting PV Plant losses from the past year, applicable to O&M providers.
  • Hear key lessons learned from the wildfires and windstorms in 2017, including takeaways for owners and O&M providers

Sam Walsh, SVP - Senior Underwriter, GCube Insurance Services

9:20-10:20 Panel: The road to industry maturity and standardization
  • The PV industry is facing a challenge on its road to industry maturity. As plant costs fall, some O&M costs are increasing: O&M lifecycle costs can be miscalculated due to under-dressed issues of reliability and environmental impacts.
  • Discover how the PV industry has changed in the last 40 years, where it is now and what steps must be taken for it to become a mature industry?
  • Find out about the development of PV O&M reliability and availability standards and what lessons can be applied form other utility-backed technologies.
  • Learn how improved reliability and availability standards will lead to greater control over faults, failures, and labour costs.

Moderator: John Balfour, President, High Performance PV
Chris Frantz, VP Asset Management, Cypress Creek Renewables
Sumanth V Lokanath, Senior Manager - Systems Reliability, First Solar
Sam Walsh, SVP - Senior Underwriter, GCube Insurance Services
Roger Hill, Principal, Roger R Hill, LLC

11:00-11:25 Scaling up: The Asset Manager's Perspective
  • Learn how to grow your asset management team as you scale.
  • Understand what type of team you need to own and financially manage your PV assets.
  • Learn how to change your vendor strategy as you grow.

Randy Corey, COO, sPower

11:25-11:50 Community Solar Asset Management - Challenges and Strategies
  • How to onboard and manage community solar customers?
  • What is the best approach to managing utilities?
  • How to minimize inefficiencies in new community solar markets?

Laura Stern, President, Nautilus Solar

11:50-12:15 Post-Acquisition Lessons Learned
  • Understand the major equipment decisions, SCADA and engineering choices that need to be considered when acquiring/developing a solar plant
  • Learn how early decisions can vastly improve the long-term success of a project.
  • Receive key lessons on how to manage plant challenges post-construction

Lynsey Tibbs, Senior Engineer - Solar Project Implementation, Southern Power Company

12:15-13:00 Panel: O&M Cost Models - how improved accuracy lowers LCOE
  • Discover how to put more certainty on predicted O&M lifecycle costs by reviewing O&M lifecycle cost models.
  • What are the O&M cost variables associated with different hardware components and how does spare parts requirements, obsolescence and compatibility issues factor into the calculations?
  • How do you reduce cost for each component, so you can project a more favourable value?
  • Equipment reliability - What industry processes can be implemented to address assumptions about components and system reliability requirements?

Moderator: Amanda Bybee, CEO, Amicus O&M Cooperative
Jenya Meydbray, VP of Solar Technology, Cypress Creek Renewables
Patty Liao, Manager, Operations & Strategic Sourcing, Recurrent Energy
Kaushik Roy Choudhury, Senior Research Scientist, Dupont
Ryan Desharnais, Head of Engineering, DNV GL Labs

14:15-14:40 How to Implement the Optimal Maintenance Cycle
  • Explore how to reduce operational costs responsibly while maintaining full site performance and risk visibility
  • Learn how to leverage advanced data analytics to move to a condition-based approach to DC maintenance
  • Identify project reliability trends from 15 GW of data

Rob Andrews, CEO, Heliolytics

14:40-15:25 Panel: How to reduce your average technician per megawatt
  • Audience survey question: How many technicians per MW are different utilities using?
  • What O&M staffing models work best for manned VS unmanned utility-scale sites?
  • Receive examples of how to decrease labour and increase efficiency for manned and unmanned sites.
  • How many MW can 1-3 staff handle on their own at a manned site?
  • What are the advancements in the technology of resets to reduce man hours on site?

Moderator: Wayne Atkinson, Customer Service Manager, Mortenson
Robert Morse, O&M Director, Western Region, Engie
Sven Rothfuss, Head of Global O&M Service Performance. Global Service Operations, SMA America
Neil Bautista, Director of Services, BayWa r.e.
Bernard Dufour, Asset Manager, EDF Renewable Energy

16:00-16:25 Data, Digitization and Disruption
  • How is the PV industry responding to operational challenges around the world and what role will digital technology play in resolving them?
  • How data and digitization is shaping company strategy across the PV industry?
  • How can owners realize the full potential of digital technology available become data-driven organisations?
  • Data collection long-term trends.

Steve Hanawalt, Executive Vice President and Co-Founder, Power Factors

16:25-16:50 Leveraging Advanced Analytics to Maximize Asset Performance and Operational Efficiency
  • Automate and integrate advanced analytics to allow small teams to finesse growing portfolios beyond basic performance levels.
  • Discover how revenue loss breakdown leads to prioritized field action, increased ROI, and improved financial estimation.
  • Review case studies on analytics-to-action-to-gain, for use by industry participants (O&M, Asset Manager, Owner, Financial Backers)

Gina Binnard, Team Leader-Performance Engineering and Analytics, Envision Energy

16:50-17:30 Panel: Plant Performance Vs Guaranteed Performance
  • Evaluate the accuracy of your inherited performance models and data against actual performance data.
  • Learn how to identify underperformance issues, from tracking anomalies and monitoring production issues to tweaking the system to increase performance.
  • What are the KPI's that are used in performance models and how do you calculate them? And how do you standardize that calculation to better understand how performance carries across different assets?
  • How can technology be used in different ways to be more effective both as a performance engineering team but also as a company?
  • What is the impact of climate change on plant performance and guarantees?

Moderator: Andy Walker, Senior Research Fellow, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Steve Hanawalt, Executive Vice President and Co-Founder, Power Factors
Brandon Durham, VP of Performance Engineering, Carolina Solar Services
Gina Binnard, Team Leader-Performance Engineering and Analytics, Envision Energy

2018 Conference Slides

Day 2: November 8th

8:20-8:30 Chairman’s Introduction
8:30-8:50 Cyber Security: The Business Case
  • Develop and execute a tactical plan to protect your assets against cyber threats and the ongoing iterative process: monitor, assess, respond, improve
  • Realize the latest cyber security threats that could impact your business and learn how to develop a mature security posture to mitigate risks
  • Identify vulnerabilities to solar plants and the grid, including gaps in network management or network security

John Franzino, Director of GridSecurity, Grid Subject Matter Experts

8:50-9:10 Cost Effective Vegetation Control and Soil Erosion Strategies
  • Effective lower cost vegetation control
  • Local natural vegetation species
  • Grazing solutions
  • Understand soil erosion issues prevalent across the US and possible solutions for managing it.
  • What front-end civil design changes can be to prevent soil erosion in the future.

Lynsey Tibbs, Senior Engineer - Solar Project Implementation, Southern Power Company

9:10-9:30 Best Practices for Rooftop Solar O&M
  • Defining & controlling the primary cost drivers of a distributed rooftop solar fleet.
  • Implementing an effective & efficient O&M strategy to optimize fleet performance.
  • Evaluating the major pitfalls in rooftop solar and how they can be defeated.
  • Forecasting the future of DG O&M programs for existing & new-home systems.

Kent R. Williams, VP Asset Management, Vivint Solar

10:00-10:45 Panel: Choosing a Cost-Effective O&M Service Model
  • Pros and cons of different O&M service models, such as full-service, multi-contract and self-service
  • Understand the decision-making process based on size and characteristics of your solar portfolio, security, risk, cost, service quality and response time

Moderator: Ian MacRobbie, VP, Operations, Liberty Power
Randy Corey, COO, sPower
Amanda Bybee, CEO, Amicus O&M Cooperative
Jack Hachmann, Director, Operations, WGL Energy

10:45-11:05 Sourcing, training, and retaining talent
  • Sourcing- Hiring Technicians from the industry VS. Recruiting the right people through a vetting process to build and grow the industry Technician base.
  • Training- Core curriculum needs to be defined by the industry professionals to create growth in the industry and career paths for technicians.
  • Retention- Building a career path that allows for growth within the industry and their company.

Ian Steele, Solar Division Manager, World Wind Solar

11:05-11:25 How to Manage your Ageing Fleet
  • Duke Renewables Footprint
  • Evaluating OEM Extended Warranty Options
  • Sourcing Strategies
  • Repower Strategies
  • Maintenance Practices: Proactive/Predictive vs Reactive

Jeff Wehner, Director, Operations, Duke Energy Renewables

11:25-11:55 Repowering plan- When & how efficient?
  • What is repowering and What it means to the bottom line?
  • Learn how to plan and implement a repowering project, minimizing project downtime, cost and risk.
  • What to do, When to do it, What to Expect.

Moderator: John Balfour, President, High Performance PV
Thorsten Hoefer, Product Manager Utility Repowering, SMA America
Jeff Wehner, Director, Operations, Duke Energy Renewables

11:55-12:15 Best Practices for Solar O&M
  • Performance Data from open System Performance and Reliability Clearinghouse (oSPARC)
  • PV O&M Cost Model (estimate of annual cost and reserve account)
  • Analysis of the different effect of Performance Ratio and Availability on Life Cycle Cost

Andy Walker, Senior Research Fellow, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

13:15-13:35 O&M Models for PV+ Storage Projects
  • Overall PV warranty, plant performance, SCADA, availability and maintenance are managed by separate entities, whereas in storage they are bundled together into one O&M package.
  • Discuss the different O&M models available to owners for PV + Storage projects.
Leigh Zanone, Director, Operations and Asset Management, 8-minutenergy
13:35-14:20 Panel: Solar PV + Storage - Cost, Design and O&M Considerations
  • What are the relative benefits to an owner for each style of O&M model and how does a developer merge the different styles in a PV + Storage system?
  • Cost considerations: What do real Battery O&M cost models look like?
  • Battery Storage O&M - what are the cost profiles associated with lifecycle maintenance of batteries?
  • Design considerations: What considerations are necessary to support storage addition for new and existing systems?
  • What additional O&M cost will battery storage bring to a project?

Moderator: Matthew Barnes, Chief Financial Officer, Grid Subject Matter Experts
Leigh Zanone, Director, Operations and Asset Management, 8-minutenergy
Hector “Jerry” Galarte, General Superintendent, Imperial Irrigation District
Chris Frantz, VP Asset Management, Cypress Creek Renewables

14:20-14:40 Leveraging Data Science and Machine Learning to Characterize PV O&M Issues
  • O&M issues and frequencies are influenced by both physical (e.g., climate conditions) and social factors (e.g., PM and CM)
  • Leverage advancements in machine learning to develop a data-driven complex model
  • Data systems as part of a continuous improvement process

Thushara Gunda, Senior Member of Technical Staff, Sandia National Laboratories


If you are interested in 4th Solar PV Operations USA 2018 please contact us:

Adam Minkley

Adam Minkley

Project Director
New Energy Update
+44 (0) 207 375 7239 (Global)

Tobias Crow

Tobias Crow

Business Development Manager
New Energy Update
+44 (0) 207 422 4358 (Global)

Solar PV Operations USA 2018 Sponsors & Exhibitors:

Silver Sponsors

  • Envision
  • Heliolytics


  • Also Energy
  • DuPont
  • Measure
  • Mortenson


  • AMPT
  • Atonometrics
  • Phoenix
  • SOLV

Media Partners

  • AltEnergyMag
  • energy acuity
  • GreenJournal
  • GreenMatch
  • Renewables-Now
  • renews