Startup Erthos claims its “ground mounting” method can reduce large-scale solar costs by up to 20% by eliminating steel structures.
The 100 MW solar project just announced by Erthos is by no means the largest solar project currently in development in the United States, but it will be the only large solar park with photovoltaic panels installed directly on the ground, without structures. raised metals. .
Erthos has signed an agreement with the project promoter, Industrial Sun. According to the founders of Erthos, this is a large solar project different from all the others that have been launched to datewith an approach that has the potential to reduce the rising costs of solar installations.
Erthos has developed a radical innovation that challenges a fundamental architectural principle of large-scale solar power and the $3 billion business of trackers and structures. By eliminating what he considers “an enormous amount of unnecessary materials and risks”, Erthos claims that can build a solar power plant in half the time and on a third of the land, while using 70% less cables and trenches.
Erthos states that his design requires “just a light civil engineering“, with a system that can be used in different topographies with virtually no need for leveling, making it easier to install than other systems.
Industrial Sun says land constraints would have prevented development of the new project site with conventional solar technologies, which typically require five to 10 acres of land per megawatt of capacity. Erthos claims its mounting system requires less than 2.5 acres per megawatt.
Although solar energy is the cheapest source of new electricity production, the price of installations is no longer falling. From 2010 to 2021, the levelized cost of installing commercial-scale solar panels has fallen by 88% due to economies of scale, improved technology and improved supply chain , according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.
But over the past two years, supply chain issues have slowed prices around the world. Meanwhile, global raw materials such as steel, aluminum and glass, which are rising in price, now account for a larger portion of the cost of a solar panel. As a result, solar contract prices are rising.
Erthos reduces installation costs by eliminating structures.
A 20% cost reduction in a mature industrial market like solar power is unprecedented. If Erthos’ approach is viable and bankable, this could be the change the solar industry needs to sustain growth and continue to displace fossil fuel generation.
More information: www.erthos.com