SSi can help determine the feasibility of a proposed project using various analysis and system modelling methods. Often this involves an analysis of several years of utility bills, the utility rate structure, and the estimated PV system energy production. The analysis can be complex in that utilities will often have several rate structures to choose from and each of these may have several available time-of-use periods, demand charge rates, and tiered rates. SSi has developed software tools and system methodologies to take the complex results of such studies and present them in understandable graphics that the project partners can follow.
The financial analysis includes the impact of various Federal, State, and local incentives that can be applied to the project. Annual cash flow projections are prepared to show all incomes and outflows including grants, tax offsets, depreciation, utility bill offsets, maintenance, and loan payments.
Charts are prepared to illustrate the cash flows and to show the results of sensitivity analyses on variables such as projected utility rate increases. Other results presented include the internal rate of return, simple payback, and cumulative project income. Some example charts are shown in the panel to the right.
The final design and engineering is done after equipment has been selected. In particular, the mechanical engineering is completed working closely with the selected equipment vendor who will provide the racking and framing hardware.
The final electrical design is completed making sure to surpass all guideline detailed in the 2011 version of the National Electric Code (NEC 2011). If the authority who has jurisdiction is still operating under NEC 2008, the final design will be modified, if needed, to meet or exceed those guidelines.
The procurement process is part of both the engineering and construction part of EPC services. The selection of hardware is based not only on cost, but on the ability to meet engineering specifications, the quality of the product, and the ability to meet equipment delivery schedules.
Procurement has to be closely tied in to construction so that schedules can be set and kept.
Scheduling of materials and equipment, management of work crews, and commissioning are all part of the construction phase. Often some or all of the crew have been trained by SSi as part of the project development and acceptance of the project.
The final commissioning of the project includes a series of testing and data collection to verify installation quality and product performance baselines. The installation of data communication hardware and an online data collection and display site are set up. Few project are installed without near real-time data displays and systems that can send alert notifications when problems occur.
An example of a daily data collection chart is shown in the bottom of the panel to the right.