by Adam Jordan, Head of Commercial Solutions, Trina Solar
After determining that a commercial building is a good fit for solar, the next step is to start maximizing the C&I PV system’s value.
From decarbonization goals to lowering electricity costs, there are many great reasons why business owners are going green by installing solar PV systems. However, obtaining a solid return on investment for the solar project remains one of the top priorities for the companies. This makes it imperative for project developers and EPCs to maximize the value of a C&I solar system.
Compared to utility and residential solar, C&I solar has perhaps the greatest flexibility in terms of system size, scope and design. This flexibility can also create challenges that, in turn, limits the potential of the PV system. For instance, these challenges include a poorly designed system that doesn’t optimize available space, or having balance-of-system components delivered that aren’t fully interoperable during installation.
Lowering Costs and Boosting System Performance
When you get down to brass tacks, maximizing the system’s value involves lowering costs and boosting system performance to obtain higher energy yields. There are several ways to go about accomplishing these goals.
Consider these factors for maximizing commercial PV system value:
- Reduce overall energy load: This important, but often overlooked, action should be the first step to maximizing a solar PV system. Once the building has lowered its energy demand with least-cost measures, the size and cost of a PV system can be reduced, which can maximize overall value.
- Cost-effective system design: Designing an optimized system can improve performance without increasing cost, and can even lead to soft-cost reduction in some cases. A custom system design works well with a commercial PV system. The system sizes tend to be larger and each site and customer profile will have its own needs. In addition, a custom system will account for any shading that might limit sunlight harvest.
- High-efficiency PV modules: Installing PV modules with high efficiency results in better system performance, which can lead to higher energy yields.
- Faster installation: Speeding up installation times and eliminating shipping delays can cut labor costs and hasten interconnection. Further, having a system designed by the original equipment manufacturers helps ensure on-site component interoperability.
- Cable optimization: Although a faster installation is beneficial, the system still needs to be carefully constructed to mitigate risks that might arise down the road.
- Bundling racking and the right inverters: A well-designed PV system that utilizes the right inverters coupled with racking, such as either trackers, fixed tilt ground, carport or rooftop, can boost performance and power gains.
While taking one or two of these steps helps, the best way to fully maximize the system value is by incorporating every aspect. Combining each of these factors can help drive down overall system cost while improving performance. Ultimately, they can increase energy yields to truly maximize the system’s value.
It’s simple enough to create a list to follow, but actually implementing these best practices can be counterproductive if they’re not handled properly. Thankfully, project developers and EPCs who partner with a solar solutions company will find it easier to follow these steps for maximizing the value of C&I solar systems.
Trina Solar’s C&I Solar Solutions is the all-in-one solution that streamlines procurement, keeps projects on schedule and offers a one-stop shop for modules and components.
To learn more about maximizing C&I solar PV systems, contact the experts at Trina Solar today.
This is the third part of a four-part series on C&I solar opportunities. Check back soon for more expert insight into this growing sector.
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