Steps in Establishing a Solar Community
Solar power has come a long way in the recent years to emerge as the poster-boy for alternate sources of energy. With the development of affordable and efficient PV panels, solar power is no longer restricted to commercial farms and industrial facilities. We are witnessing an unprecedented rise in the popularity of domestic solar applications.Community solar projects are gaining popularity as it allows an entire community of people to benefit from solar power generation. Solar communities have not only brought down utility bills for its users but have also promoted the development of eco-friendly communities. Solar power generation leverages net-metering laws, to provide an alternate source of revenue to its users.
Establishing any kind solar project has a few key steps to it. Mentioned below are some guidelines that you can follow to kick-start your solar community project.
- Having a clean energy goal- Before going ahead with any kind of solar implementation, a precise analysis of the number of users in the community and their corresponding load requirements must be calculated. Going by your budget constraints, you should analyze if solar energy can meet your community’s energy requirements. By taking all of these details into consideration, a clear energy goal for the community must be established and communicated to all the stakeholders.
- Developing a project plan- After identifying your energy needs, the next step involves developing a clear project plan. This is a road-map that guides the project from start to finish. It accounts for the budget, the necessary resources, timelines and the local government regulations and criteria. It also considers infrastructural requirements such as grid connectivity, the possibility of distributed systems, and net metering. Having a clear project plan streamlines activities during implementation.
- Analyzing solar capabilities of the location- Understanding the solar capabilities of the region is crucial in determining the success of your solar project. You must ensure the proper conditions in order to maximize sun exposure. Factors such as sunlight duration, weather, rooftop area, possible sources of shade and coverage and connectivity must be considered. You should also check the prices of the solar panels that are available in your area and if they are viable for your location.
- Issue a detailed RFP- After tallying your energy requirements and solar capacities, you are now ready to submit a request for proposal to professional solar energy service providers. Your RFP should mention your needs and concerns along with highlighting the solar capabilities in your area. It also contains the usual terms and conditions of an agreement between your community and solar power service providers.
- Select the right contractor- The contractor that you choose for your solar community must be reliable and have a strong track record. Their energy plans and services must take into consideration the unique needs and hurdles of your community and must offer solutions within your budget. Review the market and shortlist multiple contractors and tally them against each other to pick the best you sign a contract.