FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do we know what size system we need?
SGC Power will review your electricity consumption and organize a project profile on paper for you to review – including a layout of where the solar array will be located and understanding the details that will drive your project forward.
Does the school need land?
It would be beneficial to use open land owned by the district – this provides the best economics for your school because you can scale the system and a ground mount solar array can maximize the sun cycles by tilting the array to produce the most energy. But land is not necessary.
What about rooftops?
Rooftops use many different types of mounting. Depending on whether your building has a flat roof or an angled standing seam roof will determine the type of system to be installed.
For flat roofs, certain considerations need to be thought through, such as the weight (load) that will be put on roof because a flat roof uses weight to secure it to the roof. No one likes to penetrate a roof membrane with anchors so most systems are ballasted with an advanced system– the racking solutions are highly engineered so no penetrations in the roof will occur. However, more weight is added to the roof which shouldn’t be a major concern but certain analysis is needed to confirm.
Economics for roof systems can sometimes be less advantageous due to a lower tilt to the sun because of the wind requirements, aesthetics, ballasts and general increased labor cost, which produces slightly lower economies of scale vs. a ground mount. Rooftops are possible with certain consideration and evaluation.
The roof should be less than 7-10 years old. If the roof is nearing the time for a replacement, this is the best time to think about incorporating solar.
What is Net Energy Metering?
This is a policy where any energy you generate, no matter if you export to the grid, you will receive full credit in return that you can offset on your electricity bills.
What is virtual metering or remote metering?
Sometimes electrical meters for a larger complex can be located in many different locations or you don’t have enough space to build a system large enough to offset your usage at that location. This is where Virtual Metering or Remote Metering come in – a state policy whereby you build a solar array and connect it to the grid and receive credits on your bills from the output. This provides a way to scale solar and offset many different meters in many different locations. Each state has its own nuances for these policies.
How do we pay for a system?
SGC Power provides options for schools – this includes a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), whereby the school or university who will consume the energy enters into an agreement. Simply provide the land or roof and purchase the energy at a predetermined rate – we take care of the rest.
How do we know which financing to use?
Financing for solar is everywhere – as the project developer, we work to provide the best financing solution. SGC Power assures you have the best financing options by ensuring the lowest cost energy solution by getting competitive offers.
Does SGC Power own the project?
SGC Power is a project developer – we work with schools to develop the project from the ground up through our Analyze, Present and Perform approach. We don’t own the solar investment, we bring the development expertise and get the best financing solution for you.
How does this affect our operating budget?
It provides certainty. Through a Power Purchase Agreement, for example, your energy costs will now be locked in and you can project your future energy costs. This certainty allows you to invest back into the classroom.
How long do these systems last?
The solar array can last 40 years with the proper maintenance and care – just like everything in life, preventive maintenance ensures a long lifespan. The panels themselves normally have a warranty of 25 years, though some now offer warranties of 30 years, and this is typically the minimum life expectancy of a solar project. The other factor to consider is degradation of panels which is small but will be accounted for in the review process and analysis.
Have you done any other projects in the area?
The answer is yes and no. The state you’re located in will determine if we have installed a similar system in your area. State policy drives the renewable economy, so some states have advanced policy where we have fully developed and delivered projects while some other states are still emerging. Yours could be a state where we have projects developed or it could be an emerging state.
How long does it take to execute on a project?
The construction of a solar project is not long – it’s the work to develop the idea and present it to the various departments that takes time. Below is the general process for developing a solar project – this can take 6-18 months:
School or University board presentations
Do you offer any educational components to the project?
Yes, SGC Power has vast experience in the educational sectors when installing solar – we believe that involving the student body is important and can work with school administrators to ensure they learn and understand how the solar array being installed affects the school and the environment.