Majority of Solar Farm Projects Do Not Get Solar Power Purchase Agreements. How To Create A Successful Solar Farm Project

There are many parts to a utility scale solar farm project. In this article we discuss the various parts and possible pitfalls.

Interconnection Application

One of the most important first steps is one that is fraught with potential errors. The utility wants to make sure that they are working with a team of professionals for a number of reasons. The utility wants to be sure that it works with teams that are as professional and dedicated as they are. One must approach the interconnection application with extreme due diligence. Make sure the application is completed in a manner that fits with the internal process of the specific utility. This is only possible through extensive experience and understanding of the specific utility in conjunction with understanding of power purchase agreements.

Financial Modeling

The developer tries to get their project funded and keeps getting rejected and they can’t figure out why. Commercial Solar Design specializes in helping investors, landowners and developers bring a project to a bankable footing. The team has the financial expertise to rework your project financials so they meet the expectations of the various parties involved in the power purchase agreements and funding.

The Conditional Use Permit Process

The planning and building departments speak their own language and operate within a tightly designed set of rules. If you understand how the process flows and how to navigate the potential pitfalls your permitting process will run smoothly. If you mismanage the process from the start you can find conditional use permitting to be quite elusive. A CUP specialist is essential to help take your project through the process and gain CUPs to demonstrate project viability for power purchase agreements and construction funding.

Legal Framework and Special Purpose Vehicle LLC formation

Without competent legal work the project will become stuck at some point in the development process. The legal experience to get a project to the finish line is just as important as any other factor in the process. In fact, the legal framework is possibly the most important as it provides an operational framework that will last the lifetime of the project.

Industry Partners

The scoping process must be approached from an “A Team” perspective. A scoping meeting should have a team of experienced executive members and the best-in-class partners backing the project. From the utility’s perspective who would they rather work with for the next 25 years? They will unequivocally prefer a team of industry professionals over an individual who has no experience in power production.

EPC Partners and Construction Management

The construction phase is the most expensive part of a solar farm project. This is the time when you can make or break a project. Also the interconnection application will be rejected by the utility if they are not both comfortable and familiar with the EPC company. Additionally the cost of the project will not fit any financial model without an experienced EPC company. Lastly no one will finance your project because they are all too familiar with cost overruns and other project killers. Every successful solar farm project has the right relationships with best in class EPC companies to make sure your project is accepted and completed on time and on budget.

About Sy Richardson

Sy Richardson brings years of high level client interaction. He is an expert in strategic thinking, problem solving, negotiation and logistics. His first solar company was started in the 80s in Miami Fl where his company installed over 3,000 residential solar systems. In 2008 Mr. Richardson refocused on utility scale solar projects and has many connections in the industry. He founded Commercial Solar Design, a company focused solely on solar farm development projects. Sy is involved in all stages of the solar farm project life. Sy is currently the Executive VP of EternaTile, Inc. EternaTile has completed 6 years of R&D and is now the best performing roofing system on the market. The EternaTile fully integrated BIPV Roofing System will follow later in 2016. The patented EternaTile Roofing System takes rooftop performance and integrates solar PV to the next level by encapsulating solar cells in the roofing tiles. The integrated solar delivers a beautiful rooftop solar solution as compared to mounted solar panels. Contact Sy or visit www.eternatile.com for more info. He loves working with the Maine Island Trail Association, and other earth friendly organizations. He has a wealth of information regarding solar and industrial technical issues. Specialties: Utility Scale Solar Farm Projects Distributed Utility Pre-Construction Development CAISO Interconnection Application Review
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