Proper System Size
System size is a very important factor as wrong sizing (whether smaller or larger) will decrease an economic return of the money invested in the system. How is that? If a customer buys on-peak electricity for 25 c/kWhr and off-peak electricity for 7 c/kWhr while producing his own solar power during late morning and early afternoon at cost of 10 c/kWhr, then there is only one, the optimal, system size that would generate just enough power to offset all of the expensive electricity consumption while minimizing off-setting of the cheaper electricity at the owner's expense. As simple as it is, a rigorous economic modelling is required to calculate this unique for every site system size. Not every installer does this for variuos reasons, but we do it before anything else.
We provide our customers with a detailed site specific economic analysis. Based on the Discounted Cash Flow projections, our customers can decide what system size would serve his goals: the highest return on ivestment, savings, environmental protection or else.
Minimum System Cost
Cost of the installed system is another major factor affecting feasibility of going solar. Many "turn-key" providers of solar systems charge customers a 25-35% mark up on the installed system direct costs (hardware, installation labor, paperwork) in order to offset their overhead cost and make profit.
Our IPM approach, which involves outsourcing, keeps our overhead minimal so we charge customers a flat management fee within the range of 10-15% of project's direct costs. Besides, unlike with a "turn-key" contractor, our customers control every and all costs of their solar system.
They know how much and for what they are about to spend money including permits and inspection, hardware and materials, installation labor and our management fee. The management fee is our only revenue from a project. It is fixed and does not depend on other project costs.
No Roof Penetration
The way how a system is installed greatly affects its initial cost as well as future operation and maintenance costs. Often roof penetration for installing a system becomes a major risk factor for older roofs. Even for newer roofs a warranty term may be shorter than for installed system.
Then an expensive system de- and re-installation will be necessary down the road for the roof repair. Also, the extra holes in a roof, even properly sealed, compromise the roof integrity and may cause future problems.
Whenever feasible, we advise our customers on a site specific non-penetration installations providing alternative design and cost evaluation. Based on our findings, our customers can come up to an intelligent decision on which plan to approve.
Sometimes solar panels hanging on a roof don't look good violating property's architecture. Although it is hard to quantify justification of additional costs for preserving property's aesthetic value, some owners may find it worthy of extra spending.
In such case, we engage a professional architect in the system design, and together with customers find an appropriate solution for the project.
Fequently, people refer to project management as having three components: time, money, and scope. Reducing or increasing any one of the three will probably have an impact on the other two. If a customer reduces the amount of money it can spend on a project, that will affect the scope (what can be included in the project) as well as the time (since less people or resources may be engaged to meet the abbreviated budget).
Then, our service is to find the right combination of scope, money, and time to ensure that customer gets the best possible, under the circumstances, solar system installed. In order to solve such a puzzle, a number of factors is taken into account: