Solar Advisers save Companies 30%
Solar Company Claims 30% Benefit from Solar Advisors
Businesses looking to install solar projects face technology and finance risks that are generally outside of their core competency. In some cases, concerns outweigh the advantages in decision maker’s minds: whom should they trust? How to evaluate one technology from another? What’s the best financing option given the policy environment in their geography?
Company Size Matters
Company size is a major factor in how projects are managed. Fortune 500 companies, such as WalMart, IKEA, and Apple, manage their own projects, paying below market prices. However, these companies have two advantages: their size makes their project(s) attractive to project developers, local utilities and financial institutions; and their facility managers are likely to have the kind of expertise required to manage complex technical projects.
As SEIA (Solar Energy Industries Association) noted, commercial installs in general are down from highs in 2012 and 2013 due to difficulties in obtaining financing for smaller commercial entities along with state level policy instability. A further barrier for companies is the process of developing criteria in order to prepare an RFP (Request for Proposals). A good RFP will align the bids so that the company can adequately compare ‘apples to apples’: sorting pre-vetted vendors’ bids by qualities such as price, experience level, equipment, payment terms, project size, geography, and other factors. However, many companies get the insights needed to form criteria from the very vendors from whom they are seeking bids. What this can mean is that each vendor highlights the benefits of their approach, which can create a confusing array of choices, or the ‘apples to cabbage’ dilemma.
Selecting a Solar Advisor
In a recent article, SolarKal, showed how solar advisors bring expertise to the highly competitive procurement process. In the company's experience, they have seen reductions by as much as 30%. SolarKal outlines the kind of expertise that solar advisors bring to helping companies manage selection. (At right, Neil Sharma. President, speaking at Northeast CleanTech Open.)
- Tailor-made Solution:
A procurement advisor has access to all options, so can help identify the right fit for each individual situation. They can then run the bidding process with relevant solar providers, getting transparent and measurable responses.
- Market Expertise:
Solar advisors live and breathe the industry, tracking pricing trends, equipment use and installation techniques. By constantly studying the pulse of the market, they know the price and level of quality available, along with insights into timing and policy shifts.
- Vendor Due-Diligence:
Solar advisors have many pre-vetted relationships with solar companies that they regularly work with on multiple projects. From the vendor’s point of view, that means a single project is no longer a one-off transaction. What’s more, a solar procurement expert ensures that vendors meet their top goals of improving customer satisfaction, which leads to repeat business and great referrals. This infuses trust into the process and leads to the vendors quoting lower prices.
- Efficient Process:
Solar procurement advisors run dozens of bidding processes, and therefore have the infrastructure to run a more efficient process. For Solar Advisors, procuring solar is a full-time job! Because they know the exact technical information that vendors need, vendors can provide quicker, more transparent responses at better pricing. All these savings lower the overall system cost.
SolarKal concluded that “There’s a reason Walmart has completed over 350 projects, and has plans for many more. They had an expert handling their procurement process. Why shouldn't you?”
Recent news from SolarKal
SolarKal was awarded $250,000 by New York State's Lt. Governor, Kathy Hochul for the 76West Competition. The company is honored to be named a winner and is excited to catalyze businesses' adoption of solar throughout New York State and the country.
"New York is setting a national precedent in growing clean-energy businesses and battling climate change, and this momentum continues with the 76West Competition," Governor Cuomo said. “[T]he winners from this competition will bring jobs and economic growth to the Southern Tier and beyond, ensuring that New York remains at the forefront of the new clean energy economy."
New York State Energy and Finance Chairman Richard Kauffman said,
"We're thrilled to see so many entrepreneurs and different types of start-up companies involved in the 76West Competition and interested in joining the robust community of the Southern Tier. Under Governor Cuomo, all New Yorkers stand to benefit from these clean technologies that are being developed and brought to the marketplace and I look forward to watching the winners of the 76West Competition grow and help New York build its clean, resilient and affordable energy system."
Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA said,
"The 76West Competition builds on Governor Cuomo's commitment to the Southern Tier by supporting an entrepreneurial community that is integral to New York's thriving clean economy. I congratulate all of the finalists on their success in this competition and I look forward to seeing each them continue to grow in the Southern Tier."