From site visits to permitting, how to navigate the solar journey.

So, your company is ready to add solar power to your energy mix and you’re the hero leading the charge. Maybe you have sustainability goals to meet, or perhaps your company just wants to save on operating costs. Great! Except you probably have a lot of questions on how to achieve those goals.

Solarhood offers an end-to-end solution, from the initial feasibility assessment to strategic planning backed by Black & Veatch’s implementation of power generation solutions. Let’s take a peek at what that journey looks like.

Step One: Assess your options from technical and economic standpoints. 

Before starting anything, a few basic but important technical and economical questions need to be answered. First, how many locations do you have, and does your company own those sites.

Second, start considering how your company will pay for solar. Do you have the capital to pay for the system outright, or maybe you have a sustainability budget set aside to pay for just such projects. Black & Veatch can also provide multiple financing solutions like cash purchase, solar loans, and PPAs.

You’ll also want to consider if an on-site power generation solution is optimal considering the utility service in the area of your facilities. If your company owns its building(s), installing solar on your roof is a great option.

However, if you don’t own your buildings, or you don’t have enough real estate to pack in the amount of solar that you need to go 100% renewable, you still have some options. You can explore Virtual Power Purchase Agreements (VPPA) with energy providers, or even purchase Renewable Energy Credits (REC) to help you meet your renewable goals.

You’ll also want to consider what kinds of solar panels and inverters are best for your site, and if battery energy storage systems are an added benefit for you. Don’t worry; we will advise you on technology selection!

Step Two: Screen your locations and identify a good pilot site. 

This is where Solarhood and Black & Veatch comes in. We’ll use some high-tech satellite wizardry to analyze your job sites for solar potential and return on investment. If for some reason your roof isn’t optimal for solar, then alternative renewable options like offsite solutions (PPA or RECS) or battery storage can be used to help you maximize your renewable energy usage. 

Step Three: Pilot your approach at a site. 

We’ll help you pick a good site that is relatively easy to deploy and learn from. Solarhood will help you find a reliable partner that can help you deploy your install in order to learn about what it is like to build one of these projects.

But wait! What exactly happens with actual installation and permitting process? Ah, great question. The installation process isn’t as difficult as you might imagine, but there are some crucial steps involved. Let us break it down for you.

Installation Process

Installer Site Visit

Once we’ve helped you find the installer of your dreams, they’ll pay a visit to your site to take actual measurements and gather pertinent data. From that, they’ll create a custom design for your building.

Permitting

Then it’s the permitting stage, everyone’s favorite step.

Sit back and relax while your installer navigates the bureaucratic red tape. During this time, your installer will complete lots of paperwork. This includes applications for net metering, utility, local building and electrical permits, etc. This step can occasionally take awhile for all Authorities Having Jurisdiction to approve their piece of the puzzle.

System Design Finalized

Once your installer gets the green light from the necessary folks, they’ll finalize the system design for you.

Installation

Then it’s everyone’s actual favorite step: installation.  

Your installer’s crew will spend anywhere from two days to two months, depending on your system size, to install racking, wiring, inverters, and panels.

Approval & Flipping the Switch

When the installation is complete, your friendly local city or county inspectors will meet with the installer at your site to approve the installation; your installer will submit all the necessary final paperwork; and the utility company will install a new meter on your building.

Then it’s time to flip the switch, start harnessing the power of the sun, and watch the savings add up!

Step Four: After assessing savings at your pilot site, we’ll help you create a plan to deploy at all locations. 

After validating the savings on your pilot site, you will want to create a plan to deploy to all your locations. Let us know and we’ll help you scale. During this phase, you’ll be looking to validate the potential savings and technical execution approach. 

Step Five: Scale, scale, scale! 

Depending on the number of locations, you may want to do this by state and/or regionally. There is no exact science here, but you’ll want to begin exploring a programmatic partner to help you manage the rollout, and find good execution partners in each location or region (we can assist you with this!). 

Want to learn more about solar for your business?