When we were kids and we were learning how to play a game or a sport, we didn’t know what to do. We sometimes asked for a do-over.

Most of us would feel the same way about 2020 up to now.

As we look out to the second half of 2020, what are your plans?

From all the research and sentiment today, people are more than eager to get back to work. They want to see the stores open. They need to feel like they can go out of the house. They want to put gas in their cars and drive.

Humans are social animals.

Normalcy is about routine.

And one of those important elements is energy consumption. Electricity usage at many homes has gone up with these stay at home orders around the world. 

Our global awareness has become very local. People are more sensitive to their daily decisions about areas of their lives they might have took for granted. It has given them time to think.

This shift has been acute for many people. For others it has strengthened their resolve to do more and it has permeated their households’ beliefs and decision making. They realize the decisions they make have an impact.

What does this mean for you?

In the second half of 2020, there will be a new movement. We see this politically. We see it in corporate America. Local and state governments. People are raising their hands and self-identifying. Clean energy and sustainability are at the forefront of our minds.

We’ve witnessed the collapse of the price of oil. Demand is down. Air quality is up.

People are starting to realize we live in a closed ecosystem. They’re talking about it at home. With family. Friends.

Personally, I’ve had people ask me how to change careers and be involved in the renewable energy space. These are people that have said to me it won’t make a difference. Now they want to be in it and make a difference themselves.

How can you get prepared to be part of this?

Whether you are doing residential, commercial, industrial or utility scale solar, you need a detailed plan. Perhaps you have a process or system now. Could you evaluate if it could be improved?

All companies operate on a detailed system for screening projects. This is for residential to utility scale. Knowing and having a consistent way to identify, assign, track and execute on opportunities will define and grow a company.

The ingredients

Getting prepared and having the ability to grow and scale requires some essential items and within them, some degree of details. They include, but are not limited to the following.

Development Plan

  • Site control. In residential this is relatively straightforward. The sales cycle is much more compressed, but it could take 6 weeks to do an installation. The commercial, Industrial (C&I) utility scale space could take months or years. Having a detailed due diligence checklist ensures you can identify and find the best qualified projects with the consideration of an economic analysis to title search and having a negotiated LOI and LOU.
  • Permitting. Residential cycle is much shorter, but still needed in order to consistently deliver your services to your audience. The commercial, industrial and utility scale sectors require a more extensive development plan. This can be everything from a dozen different building permits to getting your power through an easement. 
  • Power Offtake. With residential this could take time from the utility to connect your client’s system and often this is relatively straightforward. On the C&I and utility scale, power offtake with the utility can be tedious. It also layers in the performance penalties considerations and unknown potential firm PPA prices.
  • Project Finance. Residential is either a direct purchase or a simple third-party finance choice. C&I and utility scale requires screening of different funding sources, legal review, accounting allocations of tax equity or debt instruments. Is it a PPA or a partnership flip? Sale-Leaseback? Who will monetize the incentives? Insurance policies? How about the property taxes? O&M contract? Billing?
  • Interconnection. Residential is relatively easy, unless it is a large property that looks like a small commercial project then it can be more complicated. 
  • Engineering. Most residential is boiler plated in most jurisdictions. Certain nuances apply to each town or city and it is getting better on standardization. C&I and utility scale are one-off projects. Interconnection and transmission agreements can be confusing and filled with legal clauses. Curtailment could influence the economics of a project as well. Add in all of the various engineering specialties, like electrical, mechanical, structural, geotechnical, archaeological, forestry and a few more.

Once these have been hurdled, then you can plan out the final design and construction schedule.

The final recipe

This is a long and tedious road for the C&I and utility scale space. Sure, not all of the categories are applicable. However, the process is the primary focal point. Having a repeatable system to pre-identify anticipated roadblocks saves you time and can save you thousands or potentially millions in the process.

If you want to know how to do this with precision, come join us on April 20th with Chris Lord and I in the Solar Executive MBA Training course.

We will help you sort through the details so you have a successful development cycle. You’ll learn what to avoid, which is often more important than anything. 

Let us guide you and get your questions answered on our live calls on Fridays. 

It is a great compliment to the course materials and allows you to really think through the development cycle that is beneficial to everyone.

Sign up today and I’ll see you inside the course.

Keith Cronin