planning solar energy projects

The Process and Methodology of Designing and Planning Solar Energy Projects

SHR Energy Management Solar Energy, Solar Panels

Embarking on a solar energy project can be an intimidating prospect. There are so many regulations and pitfalls that could completely compromise the solar project. One wrong step could send your project in the wrong direction and consequently waste countless hours and money. Set your solar project up for success by following our tried and tested process for a perfectly planned solar energy project.

Set a Goal

The first step may seem obvious, but many solar projects fail to define an objective at the start. This can end up delaying the project and causing you to go over budget. Have a frank discussion with your team before you begin to identify a realistic end goal that will satisfy all stakeholders involved in the project. 

Find the Perfect Site for Your Solar Project

Whether you are just looking to add a few solar panels or are developing an entire solar farm, it is important to select the right site for the project. You want to make sure that the piece of land you select for your solar project receives enough sun exposure to make the investment worthwhile. If the area you have available is suboptimal, it may be best to find another piece of land better suited for the project rather than trying to make a subpar environment conform to your needs.

Assessing Different Solar Panels

Invest time in searching for the perfect solar panels for your project. The most recognized solar panels on the market may not be ideal for your project goals. There are a variety of factors to consider when choosing a solar panel. Efficiency and cost are generally the two biggest concerns that will factor into your decision. Lead time is another key factor to keep in consideration. If a manufacturer has a great product, but requires a year of lead time, then the product may not work for your project.

Utilities and Permits

Utility data is also another critical piece of information that you should gather when planning solar energy projects. Getting the right permits from the local authorities can take a considerable amount of time and effort. This is a potential pitfall that many solar projects fail to take into account at the outset. Go through the correct channels to determine whom you need permission from and how long the review process takes. There will likely be an application fee for the local authorities to review your project for approval. 

Now that everything else is taken care of, there is only one step left.

Installing Solar Panels

The last step is to install and connect the solar panels to your electrical system. You may need to hire a local installation company or the company you purchased the solar panels from may have their own installation team. Confirm that your desired timeline is realistic for the installation company. You do not want to be waiting for months on the final installation of the solar panels.

If you are concerned about your team’s ability to manage all of the complicated steps of a solar project, then you may want to bring in a partner who is familiar with designing, planning, and managing solar energy projects.

Hiring a Solar Energy Consultant

A solar energy consultant will know exactly how to navigate the complex landscape of the solar energy industry. They can guide you through each stage of the project, from defining your goals and acquiring permits to identifying your ideal site and panels. There is so much to remember while attempting to create a successful solar project. Hiring an experienced solar energy consultant can greatly expedite the process and help you avoid common pitfalls.

Your solar energy consultant can also help you to identify funding sources and apply for tax credits and incentives. Federal, state, and local governments offer tax credits for solar projects that meet certain criteria. Determining which tax credits may apply for your solar project can be confusing to navigate for those who are not familiar with the solar industry. A solar energy consultant will know exactly how and when to apply for solar energy tax credits. Your project will not want to miss out on any valuable solar energy tax credits that could be worth millions of dollars to your business.

Carefully consider all of the necessary steps involved in creating a successful solar project. Your solar energy project will avoid countless headaches by following the correct methodology, and hiring a solar energy consultant eases the burden on your team.

SHR Energy Management provides comprehensive solar development, solar energy consulting, and energy sustainability consulting services to businesses throughout the Northeast U.S. Led by Founder Noel Lafayette of Weston CT, SHR was one of the earliest developers of solar installations in the region. Noel Lafayette is a respected thought leader in the solar industry, bringing a deep knowledge of regulatory matters, financial incentives, and renewable energy credit markets. For professional guidance and management of your solar energy project, contact SHR today.