Through years of experience and an unwavering focus on designing the best solutions for each customer, Sunlight Electric has a robust process that seems to work pretty well. Our commitment is to helping our customers make an informed choice, so we use this process as a guide but remain flexible as needed.
Step 1: Goals & Objectives
We believe we can develop the most compelling solution that will motivate customers to adopt solar power if we start with understanding our customers' needs and priorities. We ask lots of questions because we want to know what you hope to get from a solar project so we can choose options in the Design phase to better meet your needs. We also ask questions about your business, your retail activity, your operations, hours of operation, and we take lots of pictures, we ask for building and site plans -- all incredibly valuable input for our Analysis & Design phase.
Step 2: Client Education
Though photovoltaic technology is not new (60+ year commercial history), we appreciate that it's new to business owners and leaders looking at it for the first time. As with nearly any technology, there are important differences in PV products -- one size does not fit all -- and it's important that prospective PV buyers understand these differences and appreciate the trade-offs associated with different options. By knowing more and knowing what's possible and what's more challenging, prospective solar buyers can set priorities for their goals and objectives, which helps come closer to the mark for them. For an example of some of the product differences you should know about, click here.
Step 3: Analysis & Design
Sunlight Electric starts with data -- data on our customers' electricity usage habits. This includes utility history as well as other information like hours of operation. We input these data into our proprietary software model and also use the solar industry's most proven tools to get to a starting point in terms of power generation goals. Then, we take into account our knowledge of our customer's physical plant and their other goals, using the broadest range of proven commercial products, we arrive at a few preliminary options.
Step 4: Presentation & Feedback
While we're the experts on solar power, our customers are the experts on their businesses. Therefore, though we put considerable effort into developing a compelling solution or array of options, the ultimate judgment lies with our customer. That's why we present our proposals for feedback, not to close a sale. We welcome feedback, solicit input, and seek to fine-tune our proposals to best fit with our customers' needs.
Step 5: Feasibility Assessment
In some cases, this process step is inconsequential -- a non-penetrating rooftop design on a modern structure with a relatively new roof, for example. Other times, it's considerably more involved, and we collaborate with our clients' engineers, determine structural integrity, assess roof condition, evaluate soil conditions, or other more detailed evaluation that is typically completed under a discrete engineering services agreement with a defined budget and not-to-exceed cost estimate. These expenses are typically included in the proposed project budget and therefore the cost of the engineering effort is credited to the original project cost. With every project, Sunlight Electric takes the lead, working to understand what's possible and what's required and bringing best-in-class expertise to make sure we identify potential issues before they happen and have ready-to-go solutions at hand. For some examples of feasibility challenges we've overcome, click here.
Step 6: Exploring Funding Options
At Sunlight Electric, we believe our job is to put together all the pieces of the puzzle for our customers and funding is frequently a critical piece of the puzzle. That's why we have funding partners for every option, from loans to leases to power purchase agreements. We work with our clients' finance and tax professionals to develop a truly compelling, high ROI and NPV economic proposition. For more information on financing options, click here.
Step 7: Contracts & Deposits
Once all the design, engineering, and financial questions have been answered and the contracts and signed and deposits funded, Sunlight Electric shifts into high gear working with the relevant municipalities, completing all engineering, and planning all construction activity, from permit filing to materials sourcing to contractor scheduling. It's our responsibility to get this all done, not our customers, and we have years of expertise to ensure it all gets done in a timely fashion.
Learn more about implementing solar power