Early Stage Plant Design and Energy Assessment


Early-stage assessments of wind and solar projects can serve several goals:

  • Guide technology selection – which wind turbines or solar technologies are likely to be most suitable?
  • Gauge developable potential – How many megawatts of wind or solar plant could be built on the site, given the technology, terrain, land cover, transmission access, and plausible environmental and other constraints?
  • Support permitting and community acceptance – preliminary plant designs can support photo visualizations, noise studies, and other analyses to advance permitting and promote community acceptance.
  • Support financial models and early-stage financing – what is the likely net energy production at various levels of confidence? Such information feeds the financial models that attract investors and lenders and help determine whether a project is feasible.

How it works

Thanks to its software and resource mapping capabilities, UL has an edge in producing realistic plant designs and accurate energy estimates even at sites lacking sufficient on-site resource measurements.

Our engineers guide the technology selection, identifying options and delineating their advantages and disadvantages.

Then, in a typical study, we use our high-resolution wind or solar resource maps and data and other GIS data layers such as terrain elevation, land cover types, rivers and water bodies, roads, transmission lines, to define the approximate number of turbines or size of the solar array that can be accommodated on the project site.

Working with your team, we will then develop a preliminary plant layout with appropriate minimum turbine or module spacing, respecting project boundaries, property boundaries, and setback distances from dwellings, roads and boundaries. In the final stage, we run a model to estimate production and typical losses.