The following is a step-by-step description of the methodology used in site evaluations:
- Site Visit
- Rough Estimate
- Engineering and Procurement
- SREC aggregation
Further detail below:
Step One: Site visit - one year or more of energy bills are evaluated, the electrical panel is examined and photographed, the array location is photographed, drawings of the building/s and/or property are provided, and a Solmetric SunEye Solar Irradiance evaluation is performed. The customer should be prepared to duscuss the timefram for construction, as well as their financial readiness to fund the project.
Step Two: Rough estimate - a rough drawing is created to estimate the size of the Solar array, component manufacturers are contacted for pricing and availability within the timeframe of installation discussed with the customer, estimates for installation and electrical connection to the grid are made using past projects costs, PVWATTS Solar array output estimation software is used to calculate a conservative estimate of kWh that will be produced from the system, and a PDF slide presentation is prepared to show to the customer, including state and federal incentives available to help defray the costs of the system.
Step Three: Presentation of the rough estimate to the customer - the PDF described above is presented to the customer, showing the payback analysis and cash flow diagrams for the bank or financing entity, the components used in the array, the estimated costs of goods and services, and a necessary timeframe for job completion.
Step Four: Contract signing yields engineering and procurement - the entire system will be engineered and designed according to NEC, UBC, and related local, state, and federal authorities relevant to this type of construction. Once financing is secured, deposits will be made with the manufacturers to secure product availability. All components will be ordered with deliver dates that will best facilitate construction.
Step Five: Construction: racking will be ordered, fabricated, delivered, and constructed before the delivery date of the modules, inverters, and BOS components. The delivery of the modules is usually the pivotal point for the rest of the array, therefore, the racking construction will be coordinated such that its installation will be complete, or a portion of it complete, so that modules can be installed immediately upon arrival. Once module installation occurs, the electricians can begin terminations at the combiners, inverters, and main panel. Timing is crucial and will be controlled directly by The Dean of Solar.
Step Six: Commissioning: all attempts will be made to have the utility present during commissioning. However, this is not alway possible, and it becomes necessary to commission the system, test it for one or two hours, and then decommission it until the utility can schedule the final inspection and installation of the bi-directional meter.
Step Seven: SREC registration and aggregation: The Dean of Solar will perform all registration of SRECs.
Note: the above methodology is a typical construction method. It is not always able to be used exactly as written. If there are special considerations for a particular site (e.g., multiple arrays, wetland present on site, or changes in the array by the customer during construction), the estimate may have to be reevaluated at various stages in the construction of the array.