A solar farm development project begins with an individual or group called a developer. The developer wants to put a solar farm on vacant land. A site tour shows that there are power lines along the boundary but no one is certain what kind of power lines are on the property. After further review the developers start the complicated conditional use permitting process. Conditional use permits include seven to ten major steps with many sub-steps in each part of the process. Parts of the conditional use permit are also required in the interconnection application.
Another challenging process is the interconnection application. Any missteps in either the conditional use permitting or the interconnection application may result in a failed project. The riskiest part of a solar farm project is the time between concept and issuance of the conditional use permits and the power purchase agreement. By this time, the solar farm project financial and legal work must have already been correctly modeled. Once a developer has the permits and PPA the construction funding will generally follow.
Of course there are many more steps to a solar farm project than we can cover in this article. However, one very important aspect of a solar farm project is that of sourcing solar farm equipment. Solar farm project developers experience difficulty about the time they begin looking for solar farm equipment. Commercial Solar Design works with developers to help them source the project at prices that make the financial models work.
As you begin to engineer a solar farm you will determine that there are a lot of systems and components that are not available at the local hardware store. The developer begins to call vendors and wonders why they don’t hear back. The solar farm equipment vendors have all seen hundreds of projects with few successful ones.
The reality as of October 2010 is that as of today there are only 12 operating solar farms in the USA over 5 megawatts. That number will grow soon. It nevertheless illustrates how few successful projects there have been to date.
If you want to build a successful solar farm project you need to co-develop with a team that has the experience in all areas of the solar farm project. Don’t forget that the utilities want to work with teams of industry professionals who are power production professionals. Begin now by contacting Commercial Solar Design about your project and learn how their team of dedicated solar farm professionals can get your project across the finish line.