From conception to realization, a successful solar power project can take a significant effort to implement. It requires careful planning and a meticulous eye for detail. Peak Solar is here to help and can help assist you in this effort.
Important factors to consider include the following:
SECURING PROJECT FUNDING
Access to adequate funds is vital for any solar power project. Typically, investment capital is attained through lending institutions and energy companies. Lenders prefer projects that represent a high ROI and working with system integrators and developers with a history of successful implementation. From negotiating loan terms to structuring equity investments, arranging financing requires a strong network of prime lenders.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Like the adage says, “It is all about location.” Land availability and suitability is a primary objective of planning. Relatively flat terrain and mild gradings are ideal. Landowner agreements are a common way to obtain space. In addition to private property owners, land can be obtained through federal or state government and Native American Tribal Councils.
Once it is determined that a location meets relevant criteria, a lease or property easement secures the site for development. Interested private owners typically commit to a term of 20 to 30 years and at least one renewal period. Federal, state and Native American lands have their own unique lease agreements.
In addition to acreage, a potential site needs to be accessible to the power grid, have some type of road access, adequate soil conditions, and meet all eligibility requirements for federal, state, and local permitting agencies. The site must be evaluated for environmental considerations and possible soil contamination.
In order to ensure minimal environmental impact, acreage must be studied to determine if construction will endanger local wildlife, rare animal species or damage habitats. If it is necessary to clear the land prior to construction, soil compaction and drainage can be an issue. Special engineering methods are used to overcome such problems. While solar power projects are generally eco-friendly, some areas may not be suitable choices. This includes sites where development would have a large impact on the environment, damage historically significant structures or features excessively rough terrain.
CONNECTIVITY AND TERMS
Without the ability to sell power, a solar energy project would be worthless. There must be access to the grid and it must be able to accept the transmissions of electricity. Different utility companies also have varying standards of inter-connectivity. The utility company or power marketer also needs to be willing to buy. Contracts and agreements for purchasing power are usually long term.
A solar energy project requires permits by federal, state, and local authorities. The location determines the complexity level of obtaining adequate permitting. For example, a site may need environmental, building, or commercial use permits. Many require additional soil or environmental studies before granting access.
The final stage in bringing a solar power project “home” is to contract with a reliable and experienced contractor. A high degree of skill is required to procure equipment and negotiate fees. This is critical to ensuring timely completion and keeping a project on budget. Having a selection of contractors to choose from ensures competitive bids with a reassurance of reliability.