Client: Hydro Québec
Location: Montreal, Quebec
J.L. Richards & Associates Limited (JLR) was retained by Hydro Québec (HQ) to provide advisory services to HQ throughout the development phase of two utility-scale solar photovoltaics (PV) facilities. These projects were the first two large-scale PV projects to be developed by HQ and within the province of Quebec. Therefore, the projects were trailblazers for the development of appropriate project management and regulatory processes within Quebec.
JLR provided advisory services and insights into many topics and facets relating to development of the solar projects, from inception through to operations and maintenance. The JLR team provided advice on project development strategies, contractual structures, scheduling approaches, environmental approvals, and electrical connection approvals needed for solar facilities. JLR assisted HQ to find solutions that ensured a dependable and successful project without an onerous level of process. This assistance involved careful consideration of how processes were undertaken in other jurisdictions and their application within the province of Quebec and its existing regulatory structure.
In relation to PV design, JLR undertook a comprehensive technical study to evaluate and optimize PV system design parameters (fixed racking and trackers, high efficiency, and bifacial modules, row pitch, tilt, and DC-to-AC ratio) against a collection of project goals. These goals included optimization of the PV facilities’ time of generation in relation to HQ grid’s hourly and seasonal profiles, as well as mitigation of snow losses, maximization of generation, and optimization of levelized cost of energy. The PV electrical system design examined the conformance of string and central inverters to connection requirements, including consideration of the trends towards higher DC voltage levels in large facilities.
The services JLR provided also included support for the development of tendering documents for: geotechnical investigations; preliminary site design; engineering-procurement-construction contractor; and owner’s engineer during construction. As part of the review of the tender documents for the engineering-procurement-construction contractor, JLR developed a virtual bid to provide guidance on costs and areas of uncertainty in the costs HQ may expect to receive from potential bidders.
The advisory services extended for more than fifteen months and included services in both English and French.