Fitch Ratings recently released its “Construction and Operational Solar Project Issues” report, stating that construction delays, solar energy output, unpredictable technology and regulatory stability are all risk factors to solar projects. The report looked at over 25 public and private utility-scale PV, CPV and thermal concentrating solar power projects over the past two years in order to gather its data.
Fitch Ratings stated that the average land requirement for solar projects is around six to ten acres per MW. According to the report’s findings, this leads to vulnerability of unexpected environmental and archeological risks, which can cause construction delays of three months or longer. The report also found that there is a risk that solar production may stray from historical patterns over the next two decades because of the uncertain accuracy of solar production forecasts and potential impact of climate change.
In terms of technology, the report cited that limited long-term operation performance data for certain solar technologies increased the threat that actual performance could be lower and actual costs higher than expected. Fitch Ratings also advised that in Europe, where most projects rely on the payment of regulated FiTs, direct retroactive cuts to FiTs are unlikely, but short-term measures, such as a temporary decrease in compensation, tax increases or re-profiling of payments are possible in some countries. Overall, the report concluded that projects with higher liquidity levels are in a better position to endure all of the associated risks.