Solar Power is a growing industry in all sectors Industrial, Commercial, Residential, Municipal, and Utility.
Solar in the small scale can make a considerable impact but the technology really shines (pun intended) in larger applications. On-site solar installations can reduce the net energy use of a variety of facilities by incredible amounts.
Pearlwind takes a unique approach to solar engineering. We use using Photovoltaic (PV) systems to balance production with consumption demands to produce a quick financial return and a long-term operational life of benefits. We manage all available incentive programs to take further advantage of all possible savings (and they are substantial).
We have a database of 30+ years of weather history for any location in the USA with a zip code. Our projection models are very economical and historically have been conservative; many of our past projects have performed better than our projections (case studies available, firstname.lastname@example.org). It is our practice to provide “low-end” estimates.
The market for solar has changed drastically in the past 18 months. If your facility has not looked into solar since 2013 please, reach out to us! We will perform a preliminary assessment for you free of charge to see if installing an on-site solar array would be economical for your facility.
All we need for our preliminary assessment is:
The Facility’s Address
1 Year of Facility Energy Usage Data (The Energy Bill)
A Date and Time for a Brief Discussion – We can do this over the web!
Additional information about building ownership, building voltage, and roof age/roofing material will help but is not needed in this stage.
Important Understandings About Pearlwind’s Approach to Solar
We install roof-mounted and ground-mounted Photovotaic (PV) solar grids. Other types of thermal-based solar units have their benefits in ideal situations but PV systems are flexible enough to operate well in any climate.
We are NOT in the practice of turning spaces into utility companies:
Unless requested (and we will most likely advise against it) our PV grids will not be designed to produce more energy than your facility needs. The simple reason is that over-producing and selling energy back to the grid simply isn’t economical except in special situations. The goal of the engineering will be to reduce a considerable percentage of a facility’s net consumption. The beauty of our PV systems is that their modular design allows for additional expansion should your consumption needs increase significantly or should selling back to the grid ever become beneficial in your area.
Not all spaces are suited for solar but many companies evaluate solar without considering the full picture. The viability of an investment in on-site solar involves not only Local Sun Intensity, but also Local Utility Cost, applicable Local, State, and Federal Incentives, SRECs, and occasionally special privately-run programs. Taking into account all factors of a solar project will give a realistic projection of the benefits. For example, many places in Alaska are well suited for solar under these considerations despite being so far north of the equator.
Our Solar Process
Is the roof or land suitable for a solar array?
Is there enough energy used to justify the project?
Can the building qualify for incentives?
Acquire Copy of Energy Bill & Satellite Image of Roof
Set Date for Presentation
Generate Projection Estimate
1st Presentation (General Projections)
Explanation of Installation – How big should the installation be?
Projection of Installation – Generate projections considering historical weather data
What will the returns look like with different types of financing?
Decision to move forward with a technical site visit
Technical Site Visit ~$2,000.00 (applied to the cost of the project if approved)
Engineers visit the site and survey all relevant electrical systems and structures
CAD imaging & area survey to determine how the PV system will be be laid out
How will the PV system be tied into the building’s existing electrical system?
Any Special Considerations Addressed
Report Generated with firm numbers and projections
Final Quote and Projections are reviewed
Installation timeline is determined
Decision to sign contract and move forward with project is made here
Pre-Engineering (4-6 weeks)
All required permits are secured
All needed parts are ordered and/or delivered to the site
Installation (4-6 weeks)
Panels are installed
Inverter(s) are installed
System is wired into the existing electrical network
System is online
Systems are monitored by both on-site & off-site computer systems
Maintenance is performed if-needed
Pearlwind guarantees our solar panels for 25 years (historically, solar panels can continue to produce electricity for almost double that time).
We also guarantee labor for 10 years (much greater than the industry standard).
Q: Do Solar Arrays receive enough light in northern parts of the country to be economical?
A: In most cases the answer is yes. The ideal environment for PV systems is obviously in the most Sun-Heavy parts of the world, however, the flexibility of PV panels allows for them to perform well even in places as far north as Alaska. With proper positioning, northern PV systems receive around 80% of the light those same systems would receive in many southern states. Our calculated projections for each space will show the systems viability, at that point the determination of economic practicality is yours.
Q: How does cold weather effect Solar Panels?
A: The PV panels we use draw their energy from light not heat so lower temperatures are correlative with lower outputs, however they are not causal.
Q: What happens when the panels get covered with snow? Will someone have to clear them in the winter?
A: In many cases nobody needs to clear panels in winter. The panels will accumulate snow sometimes however, with an angled smooth surface and proper racking design they often do not collect much and snow collected over night on properly angled panels will often melt away quickly, even in temperatures well below freezing. Panels can continue producing 20-25% of their capacity under several inches of snowfall. We account for winter efficiency losses in our projections but they are not as great as one might imagine.
Q: How does cloudy weather effect Solar Panels?
A: In some cases cloudy weather effects panels negatively and in others cloudy weather can have a positive effect. The panels are sensitive enough to make use of scattered light very efficiently.
Q: How often do panels need to be cleaned?
A: That depends on a ratio of dust to rain in the environment that the panels are operating. For example, in dusty areas of the west United States solar panels can require relatively regular cleaning in order to continue proper operation. In more temperate climates with fairly regular rainfall and little dust the panels may only ever need cleaning in special situations.
Q: Does the racking damage or alter the roof?
A: In most cases we use specialty racking that does not require any holes drilled into the roof. In certain situations it may be required however on a standard flat roof whole arrays can be installed without a single screw penetrating the rooftop. Our racking can stand up to heavy winds over 90 mph. In areas with a high risk of erratic or extreme weather patterns we will recommend bolting racks to the roof.
Q: How long will the system take to be installed?
A: This is very hard to say since the size and customization for every project can be very different.
If you’re just looking for some very basic projections this might help:
The average 1-Megawatt project with an average amount of exceptions and add-ons will look like this:
-Technical Site Visit – 1 day
-Firm Quote Creation (2nd Presentation) – About 3-7 business days to generate
-Pre-Engineering/Delivery Phase (in which CAD images and electrical maps are created and parts are delivered to the site) – About 4-6 weeks
-Active Installation – About 4-6 weeks
From the moment a contract is signed an average business with an average roof and electrical system can expect a 1-megawatt installation to be operational in 2-3 months.
Q: Will the electric company fight against the installation?
A: It’s very unlikely. There are a lot of politics here that are not worth getting into unless you are truly interested (email@example.com). The simple answer is that electric companies have mixed feelings right now, on one hand they get to charge for less energy used whenever a location installs a solar project, on the other, there are government incentives that benefit utility companies that have clients with panels installed. All you really need to know is that Pearlwind knows how to deal with this problem should it become relevant and we will make sure that the potential dramas and politics of this situation never get past us to become your problem.