How a trading company can achieve solar success

At a glance

  • Together with wind energy, solar power could generate nearly 70% of the world’s electricity by 2050
  • Solar project development requires years of patience, negotiations, and the careful assessment of risk factors
  • Samsung C&T continues to grow its solar project development business in the U.S. and plans to expand elsewhere too

As much of the world seeks to transition towards clean energy, there’s growing excitement around solar power as a very real global solution. On an international basis, solar and wind power are being installed at a rate three times faster than all other new electricity sources combined, while installed solar capacity has expanded by a factor of 500 over the past 20 years.

It has been an impressive journey for a source of power that people began to harness thousands of years ago to light fires, and later to directly heat water or other fluids. Since the discovery of the photovoltaic effect and subsequent development of related silicon cells in 1954, photovoltaic panels have been used to convert solar energy into electricity.

With calls for new solar supply chains, Samsung C&T Trading & Investment Group is well placed to support rapidly rising global demand for solar energy. In this article, we’ll explain how the company can go about seizing the opportunity of solar power.

The global picture​

It’s clear that the renewable energy sector is either already developing fast in much of the world – or has the potential to do so.

For example, the United States is set to install a record amount of solar power in 2023 following the country’s enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), while other countries are also establishing various policies in order to meet climate targets. China recently set a solar power installation record, the European Union’s solar power soared by almost 50% in 2022, and much of Africa’s solar power potential is still untapped.

As a result, it’s even predicted that solar and wind energy could together generate close to 70% of the world’s electricity by 2050.

Seizing the opportunity​

It isn’t so much a question of whether solar power can be a successful business area, but how to go about it.

With Samsung C&T building up significant experience in developing solar projects, a recent example of its efforts is this story of a business trip published by Samsung C&T Trading & Investment Group’s official YouTube channel. The video features a member of the company’s Renewable Energy Team as she travels to California in the U.S. to investigate areas with potential for solar project. Please note that you can click ‘CC’ for English subtitles.

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Looking at the solar project development process, a team taking on a project like this typically starts by performing a desktop analysis of the location they are targeting, using software to help determine an optimal site.

After that, it is very important to be prepared for obstacles that may arise. Project managers will conduct an on-site inspection and exchange opinions with multiple parties including the landowner to figure out how to connect to a nearby power grid, weather patterns in the area, and how much solar energy could be produced based on the space available. In addition, in this process, they will find out how much of the parcel is constructible in terms of slope and wetland issues, and whether it is free from environmental or archaeological concerns entailing a complicated permit process.

Next, in addition to designing a site layout – including deciding how and where to install solar panels – lengthy discussions need to take place with various other parties to both reach an understanding with communities and obtain the relevant permits needed from local or federal entities.

This whole process can take years, so negotiations with all parties need to be handled with patience and much attention. You can find out more about the company’s solar project development from Samsung C&T here.

Samsung C&T’s history of harnessing the sun​

Samsung C&T’s solar power project development is noteworthy in that it has achieved commercial viability and profitability in an eco-friendly field, establishing a next-generation business model in line with the company’s eco-friendly interests.

Looking back to 2010, the company started developing a wind and solar power generation complex capable of producing 1,369 MW of electricity in Ontario, Canada. Having successfully completed development and construction, the complex finally achieved its commercial operation milestones in 2018. Elsewhere in North America, Samsung C&T’s ongoing solar power projects now extend to areas such as California and Texas. In the U.S. alone, the company is currently developing a 15,000 MW solar power and energy storage system (ESS) pipeline.

Samsung C&T intends to continuously grow its U.S. solar project development into a business that generates stable long-term profits while additionally offering its accumulated experience to other parts of the world – such as by gradually expanding its solar focus to regions such as Australia and beyond. As we have seen, the demand is certainly there, but the success of solar project development also relies on knowhow and the ability to overcome any obstacles that stand in the way of this global hope for clean energy.

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