What Will Your Solar Investment Buy You?

Ask Installers the Right Questions with this Checklist

Conventional power generation that is dependent on fast depleting natural resources comes with a continuously increasing utility bill that often eats into profit margins and affects expansion plans. Renewable sources of energy like solar power provide a long-term, affordable, and profitable option to meet energy needs and leverage

    1. Cost vs. Efficiency

Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) system, with an expected life span of at least 30 years, is the principal driver of renewable power generation with its zero-fuel consumption, minimal or no maintenance cost, and zero emission characteristics.

      • High installation cost and low energy conversion efficiency are the two major challenges for the SPV installers and solar consumers.
      • Critical points to keep in mind for effective working of SPV system: 1)Array configuration 2)Solar insolation or exposure to sun ray 3) Temperature 4) Shading across array
    1. Power For Free!

Is solar power freely available?

Yes and no. Yes, because it is abundantly available and only needs a PV array to tap it straight from the sun. No, because in short term it may appear not-so-cost-effective because of the initial investment.

      • Does the installer have experience and sound knowledge of not just nuts and bolts but also finances to make solar unit a viable idea minus any additional financial burden on businesses?
      • How to calculate if the solar unit will produce enough to be profitable. Is it a lifetime of savings for entrepreneurs? In the long run (5-10 years): ‘YES’

Cost of Power

While the electricity cost go up every year, one can lock in low Solar Lease Payments. This implies that over the life of one’s Solar Lease, he or she can save thousands.

Is 15-20 per cent return on investment per year possible?

    1. Satellite Images To Handle Shading – A Good Idea?

Should one take help of satellite images to deal with shading on solar arrays installed amid congested urban landscape? You may like to know a way out of shading that adversely affects the output of solar arrays through site site analysis by site audit technicians.

Satellite images often, taken long time back, don’t give a correct picture of shading condition or crucial details on electrical point of connection. Energy consultants will generate a proposal after first doing a thorough site analysis.

      • Site audit technicians conduct hour-long site audits that involve detailed site measurement, taking photos and array specific shade analysis readings.
      • Need to ask: If the installer has capabilities to analyze energy production and payback models, evaluate solar technologies, assess finance options, or build, maintain, and operate your solar energy solution?
      • Are facilities planning, purchasing, and maintaining a solar power system at every stage part of comprehensive solar services offered to you?
    1. What’s There In Design Engineering?

In fact, there is a lot to ask for from the installer. What’s there to look out for in solar array design?

Points to look for in the design are:

      • Does your system design offer the lowest lifetime cost of energy?
      • Does it offer maximum overall saving?
      • Is the design customized to your site, climate and solar subsidies?
      • What plans the installer has to mitigate construction risks and save your hard-earned money?
        A DC-DC converter is critical to Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) system as it functions as an interface between load and SPV module.
        Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) algorithms can be done using DC-DC converter for higher efficiency of SVP systems.
      • What capabilities the installer has to control overvoltage that may shut down PV generation and damage the system?
      • Will the PV system installation process entail stalling businesses or production at work-unit/factory, etc.?

A properly designed solar system is likely to offset close to 100% of electricity usage bill over the course of a year.

    1. Investing On Future

How affordable the solar power is?

You may like to find out:

      • Are the Solar Lease and Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) sensible options to avert fresh tax burden while making a saving from the solar system? (PPA option is ideal for those who are interested in lowering the cost of their electricity, but who have little or no interest in owning the system outright.)
      • Do availing the two options- PPA and Solar lease- entail there is no capital investment and reduced electricity bills?
      • What is the minimum or maximum payback time for lease and PPA?
      • Federal Government offers a 30% tax credit on the total value of the system, as well as a 5-year accelerated depreciation schedule.Besides, Solar lease and PPA generally arranged by installer give businesses opportunity to go solar without having to make any upfront capital investment.
      • How much savings you can make?
      • Generally, about 1,000 ft. sq. of clear roof space is needed for every $2,000 in annual utility bill savings desired.Example: For offsetting 100% of the annual electricity bill of $100,000 one would need approximately 50,000 ft. sq. of usable roof space.
    1. Company Biometrics

How to verify the credibility of installer?

Need to know and verify quality and credibility of services and products being offered:

    • Previous solar-industry experience.
    • Balance sheet, expertise and analytical tools needed for precise prediction of system output and financial payback.
    • Details of successfully executed complex commercial solar array installation projects.
    • Certification of services and products.
  1. Miscellaneous Info

    • Factoring in the energy it takes to make, transport and install a solar panel, it still offsets 1.5 pounds of CO2 per kWh generated.
    • If accurate forecasts of solar output are made available then anyone trading in solar energy can negotiate a better price for the same with the help of precise information on volume of energy.
    • Uncertainty of power from sun will affect quality of electrical system. Fast control of PV active power output can only mitigate the issue of voltage rise in distribution grid.
    • A DC-DC converter is an electronic circuit that converts a source of direct current from one voltage level to another. It is an important component of SPA system.