VDE-Illustration zum Thema Energy
VDE
2021-03-31 Testing + Certification

VDE Americas

VDE Americas is a wholly-owned subsidiary of VDE. Our goal is to advance the deployment of clean energy projects that are financeable and insurable. We support this goal by offering technical due diligence and engineering advisor services in addition to providing neutral 3rd-party product certification and testing. We provide value for our customers by maximizing quality and reducing the technical risks at the contractual, system and equipment levels.

Contact

Mr. John Sedgwick

At VDE Americas, our goal is to advance the deployment of clean energy projects that are bankable, investable and insurable. We support this goal by offering technical due diligence and engineering advisory services in addition to neutral 3rd-party product certification and testing that are specifically focused on the renewable energy industry.

We provide value for our customers by maximizing quality and reducing technical risks at both the system and equipment level.

Our operational approach is to listen to, learn from, and partner with our customers to not only acknowledge their requirements, but to also recognize, consider and respond to those factors that drive their success. This approach is rooted in the key principles as shown in this table.   

Subject Matter Expertise

We maintain a core team of salaried technology experts and professionals to manage customer accounts and projects while also relying on a deep bench of contributing subject matter experts using personal connections and our 36,000+ member strong VDE Association which includes preeminent technology leaders from industry and academia. This approach has enabled us to establish a distributed network of talented and trustworthy resources across the world with diverse backgrounds and experience while keeping administrative costs down.

Demonstrated Agility

We understand that customers and projects are not created alike. We strive to customize our products and services as appropriate for customers and stakeholders so that we can maintain our focus on adding value. We pride ourselves on our responsiveness and ability to deliver against the project schedules that we commit to.

Customer-Driven Quality

We are passionately committed to delighting our customers. Every project is an opportunity to learn and to continually improve our ability to not only meet but to exceed customer expectations. This commitment to excellence in reflected in our guiding principles, is represented in the VDE mark, and is vital to all we do.

Project Technical Due Diligence & Advisory Services

Our team has extensive experience reviewing distributed generation (DG) and utility-scale renewable energy and storage projects on behalf of Project Sponsors and/or
banks providing various types of project financing. Typically, our due diligence scope of work includes a selection of tasks as described below and includes the provision
of reports, certificates and supporting letters as required for financing purposes. 

Project Agreements

Review, comment and opine on:

  • technical provisions of Power Sales/Purchase Agreement(s)
  • applicable performance guarantee requirements and how they compare against estimated production
  • technical provisions of Interconnection Agreement (and system impact study, if applicable)
  • Engineering, Procurement and Construction Agreement and technical exhibits
  • Operations and Maintenance Agreement(s) and technical provisions of Asset Management Agreement

additional agreements as specific to the project (e.g. Co-Tenancy, Shared Facilities, Site Lease)

Site Reviews

Review provided site data (e.g. ALTA survey, parcel info) and confirm accuracy as requested
Review, comment and opine on:

  • Environmental Site Assessments (ground-mount projects)
  • Geotechnical investigations and supplemental test reports (ground-mount projects)
  • Hydrology and/or wetlands reports (ground-mount projects)
  • building structural analysis including roof inspection (roof-top projects) pre-construction electrical surveys (behind-the-meter projects)

System Design & Major Equipment

Design review of construction drawings (preliminary through Issued for Construction and/or As-Built) for civil, structural, and electrical (including SCADA and substation as necessary)
Review structural calcs and confirm alignment between calcs/drawings and 3rd party report recommendations
Review equipment specifications and warranty provisions for major equipment, and delivery schedule (as requested)
Discuss 3rd party lab characterization, durability and performance testing.

Energy Production Estimate

Conduct resource assessment, review on-site meteorological survey as applicable
Review equipment performance model input files
Simulate energy production for Project using user-based independent design; comment on loss factors
Conduct uncertainty analysis based on model/measurement error and interannual variability.

Permits, Plans and Approvals

Review, comment on status and opine on:

  • Conditional Use or equivalent land use permits
  • applicable endangered species surveys and associated permits (ground-mount projects)
  • applicable cultural & archaeological surveys and associated outreach, agreements, permits etc. (ground-mount)
  • applicable hydrological surveys and associated stormwater permits, stormwater pollution prevention plan etc.
  • construction-related permits (general construction, roads, easement crossings etc.)
  • other permits as applicable (e.g. FAA, AHJ-specific)

Review project against Equator Principles as requested

Financial Review

Confirm pro forma revenue assumptions align with production estimate
Review pro forma operational expenses including major equipment maintenance/refurbishment
Conduct sensitivity analysis on operational expenses
Review decommissioning assumptions and comment in IE Report

Construction Oversight

Visit project site to assess construction workmanship (or conduct desktop review of photographic evidence)
Confirm status of construction including confirmation of Mechanical Completion; review/confirm schedules
Review EPC Contractor Reports and engage as requested

Acceptance

Review sample of cold and hot commissioning test results
Review acceptance test (e.g. Capacity, Availability etc.) reports/data
Review site walk/inspection reports, punchlists, spare parts lists, O&M manuals etc.
Review EPC Contractor Certificates of Mechanical, Substantial and Final Completion, as required

Other Technical Advisory Services

We leverage the knowledge and experience of our dedicated team and extended network of contributing subject matter experts to customize and deliver technical advisory services that are based upon the specific needs of our customers. In addition to serving project developers, sponsors and the financial institutions they partner with, we also work directly with system designers, equipment manufacturers, power sales offtakers, utilities, and operators to evaluate technology, and to identify and mitigate technical risk.  These services include the following:

Site Feasibility Studies               Acceptance Test Administration



Catastrophic Loss Event Survey
Failure and Root Cause Analysis



Ground-Tuning of Satellite-based Meteorological Data
Performance Engineering for Operating Projects



Technology Review (IE Report for Equipment Manufacturers)
Production Estimate Recasting



Technical Document Review
Subject Matter Training and/or Consulting



Construction Monitoring
Hail Damage Risk Assessment


The experts at the VDE extensively test batteries
VDE

Select Examples of Our Technical Advisory Services:

DescriptionCustomerYearScope of Work Comments
Catastrophic Loss Advisory WorkTop Tier Tracker Manufacturer2020

Due to hardening of the project insurance market, VDE has been engaged in the technical and financial quantification of risk associated with various types of catastrophic loss such as hail, tornados, flooding etc. In addition to estimating risk of event probability, we have invested research and development in modeling the potential impact of these events on operating PV and wind system performance and in terms of operational expenses.

Based on these efforts, we have begun working with major equipment manufacturers to share our learning and help them design and operate their products to reduce damage potential, for example how trackers track to wind patterns and stow in the likely event of oncoming storms.

BESS Due Diligence DevelopmentLeading Provider of Project Financing2020

Given the novel increase in market adoption of battery energy storage systems (BESS), we have been working with leading financial institutions to help them understand and address unique and specific areas of technical risk that may be presented with this technology, particularly in the areas of safety and reliability. Our work is based on the comprehensive knowledge and experience of our team, including our BESS TestLab facility in Offenbach, Germany.

In addition to providing training, we helped our client incorporate BESS requirements into their transaction documentation, and to develop tools to identify technical risk and model various downside scenarios for a variety of use case applications.

Pipeline ReviewPotential Buyer of Utility-Scale Portfolio 2019We evaluated the feasibility of construction and operation for a portfolio of over 600MWAC solar and wind generation projects in various stages of development spanning locations throughout the United States and Mexico, in order to support our Client in their negotiations to acquire the portfolio.
Technology ReviewLeading Manufacturer of PV Modules and Consumer Electronics2019We provided our Client with an Independent Engineer’s Report discussing their full line of PV module products and manufacturing operations in order to support the company’s sales and marketing efforts. Our scope of work also included a factory audit of their recently converted manufacturing facility in Alabama.
Technical Diligence for Portfolio of Fuel Cell ProjectsClass A Investor2019Our client requested us to help them evaluate fuel cell technology for a number of distributed generation projects deployed throughout the United States, prior to and after their commitment to fund the portfolio. Our work included a detailed review of the equipment supplier, a technology-specific downside model to help quantify financial risk due to lower than anticipated performance, and the facilitation of a third-party evaluation of emissions and other environmental risks.
Performance Engineering and Project “Recasting”Leading Provider of Project Financing2019

A larger than anticipated number of PV power generation facilities constructed in recent years has been underperforming expectations for energy production and operating costs, due in part to aggressive assumptions for such things as yearly solar resource availability and inter-annual variability.

We worked with our customer to identify, quantify, and address various sources of system underproduction stemming not only from actual performance issues, but also inaccurate assumptions.

Through our work we uncovered significant variations in the methodologies employed by the Independent Engineering community when estimate production and associated uncertainties, leading to a white paper and industry-wide effort to standardize and improve procedures. We also developed a tool to help asset owners recast their production estimates for future years based on as-built site conditions and a more robust solar resource assessment.  

RCA Support for Underperforming Solar ProjectClass A
Project Investor
 
2018Our client enlisted our support to work cooperatively with the Class B Investor, O&M Provider, EPC Contractor, various major equipment manufacturers, and other Project stakeholders to address gross underproduction in the initial year of commercial operation. Our actions resulted in the identification of several real and potential sources of underperformance, stemming from various sources including but not limited to EPC design & workmanship, latent equipment defects, and subpar operations.



You may also be interested in this