These days it’s almost impossible to listen to NPR or watch MSNBC without listening to the alternative energy sector, or more specifically, concerning solar. With good reason too, because the photo voltaic industry is growing (IE: creating jobs in a recession), and photovoltaics are renewable suppliers of energy that get rid of the need for more carbon extensive fuels like coal and oil. It’s also quick, easy, and safe when compared to other forms of renewable energy like wind power and atomic energy (look at the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in 2011), and did I forget to mention, it’s relatively limitless considering the sun shines 7 days a week 365 days a year? On the reverse side to all this glory is that the cost of solar continues to be more expensive compared to picking up the telephone and establishing an account to power your business with the local power company; but that’s changing. The cost of silicon and the many other materials that go directly into solar PV have decreased greater than 30% from 2010 to this year, and the more energy the solar industry gains in the U.S., the greater the interest from the personal investment market that will continue to offer solar financing methods to customers thinking about harnessing solar power.
But how do you really go solar? Well you might call your electrician, however I wouldn’t advise that. Your general contractor could probably aid too, however wouldn’t you prefer to work straight with a pv professional rather than a subcontractor you’ve had simply no influence choosing? And that’s where the solar energy experts come in.
As opposed to a general contractor or an electrical contractor, a solar power consultant focuses specifically on crunching the information and amounts specific for your site and also budgetary restraints in order to see whether solar is feasible for you. A solar energy consultant (sometimes referred to as a solar power contractor) will analyze your own facility’s historical power usage to obtain a sense of what size a solar installation is important to zero out your costs. If the solar installation will be spec’d for a brand new construction, then the solar technology contractor may review the building plans and determine what the expected electrical loads will be based on building utilization and anticipated equipment.
On site, solar energy professionals will appraise the available sq footage on virtually any rooftops or property in order to know what size installation can be constructed. They’ll perform a shading analysis upon any equipment (like heating and cooling), adjacent structures, and surrounding foliage. Maybe an elevated color structure is the better way to maximize unused space for a photo voltaic installation? The solar energy advisor will take into account all the various kinds of racking (IE: roof-mount, ground mount, single or perhaps double axis trackers, set tilt, color structures, building-integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV), etc.). With regards to the location of the site (for example: city, county, state) different building requirements for photo voltaic will have an impact on the ultimate design layout and size of the installment. Some cities have more powerful fire code regulations and call for further setbacks on the roof for security.
After the number crunching of the site requirements, the solar energy contractor will even consider the various solar funding structures, and state and local subsidy programs. Depending on the size of the set up, and schedule of construction, tax exempt entities might be able to accelerate the actual depreciation of the solar asset, or the solar technology consultant may suggest a no-money down financing structure like a power purchase arrangement (PPA) where the sponsor customer pays a reduced rate for the energy the system produces instead of paying out the cash to buy the equipment and own it by themselves.
And then there’s the particular procurement procedure. Even if you managed the feasibility phase yourself, accessing and understanding the pros and cons of the numerous solar systems can be difficult. Any solar energy service provider will help you traverse the various engineering, give you immediate access to the handful of reputable pv manufacturers that don’t just sell to the general public, as well as negotiate for you for the best feasible price. Obtaining a clear comprehension of the value for your dollar is key when developing a solar power system. The development process can be costly, and building can be difficult if you’re going at it alone.
Borrego’s Solar Energy Consulting can help your business or Government agency plan and build efficient and reliable solar power installations to accurately project expenses and ROI while minimizing risk.