The sun is sending every day light energy of approximately of 1.000 - 1.200 kWh/mē to the earth. Depending on the location and its specific conditions the irradiation varies.
Detailed irradiation information for Europe and Africa you can find at
You will also find there, further information on how this
energy can be translated into a possible output (yield) of a
general PV system.
To project the yield of a specific PV system, you need to
know the location (irradiation, weather data, environment),
the materials (modules, inverter, etc.), the elevation and
direction the PV modules are mounted, limiting factors like
shadows, cable length, miss match of the electrical
installation and other details of the system. Best to
calculate the system yield is to use one of the widely
available software tools or, even better, have a look at
other systems in the area.
In Europe the main instrument to encourage the implementation
of solar energy systems are governmental incentives including
feed-in-tariff (FIT) structures. In the US you will mostly find
individual negotiated power purchasing agreements (PPA).
Commercial large scale solar systems are installed by either
a general contractor in cooperation with an engineering company
or by an EPC company (engineering, procurement, commissioning)
depending on the scope of services they are providing.
Operations & Maintenance services are most vital for
achieving the financial outcome as these services are ensuring
the operational excellence of the system and guarantee a high
uptime of the generation system.
CEF is a legal structure to make, among others, utility scale
solar systems available for groups of independent investors and
limit their exposure.
As the financial returns of a solar power system is depending
on a lot of factors (yield, uptime, funding structure,
operational cost, etc.) these systems are not yielding a
constant equal return. Therefore the returns are calculated
based on the concept of
Internal Rates of Return.
To increase the leverage of an investment in solar power
systems the projects are funded by a specific equity-debt
structure. Usually the requirements for debt are between 10 and
40%, depending on the projected returns, technical and legal
conditions, quality and references of supplier and availability
of financial instruments.
Based on the projected yield and the actually outcome of the operation the return of an investment in a solar power system can be determined. As with all investments there is a balance of return vs. risk to be considered. In general the investment in a solar power system is considered as a low risk investment as long as vital legal, technical and operational criteria's are met. Therefore the return is as well comparably low. The available funds for standard public investors are projecting an IRR of 7 to 12 % depending on the geography, financial leverage, term of the investment and local risk considerations.