Lee Enterprises Consulting, Inc.

Lee Enterprises Consulting, Inc.

Solar

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The generation of electric power and process hot water by capturing the sun’s radiation has advanced form an oddity to main stream technology. The ultimate user may be a remote instrument or home that is not connected to the electric grid, a commercial or public facility wishing to reduce its electric costs, or a local utility that has been mandated by law to buy solar power or one that seeks to diversify its generation sources. Solar Photovoltaic (PV) modules (also known as solar panels) can easily accommodate all of these uses while solar thermal technology, such as solar towers, Sterling engines, and parabolic trough collectors are better suited for commercial and utility users.

The appeal of solar energy is that its fuel (the sun) is free, it is sustainable, it does not pollute, it is quiet, it can be incorporated into architectural designs, it is scalable to any desired size, it produces high quality power, and it is cost competitive in many areas of the US where local electric utility rates are high. PV system costs have plummeted in the last two years and new financing instruments are available to make buying solar power easier and affordable. For example, with a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), a developer will design, finance, procure, and install a system and sell the power to a customer for less than what the utility charges. The buyer gets the benefit of solar energy for a net savings with no investment of his own money. There are other financial instruments, like leasing agreements, loans paid back over time through real estate taxes, state and local utility rebates, and tax incentives.

Solar services can include:

  • Solar technology assessments
  • Solar site surveys
  • Project feasibility studies, both technical and financial
  • Bid solicitations
  • Technical proposal writing
  • Engineering and design, both DC and medium voltage AC
  • Utility interconnections
  • Construction monitoring
  • Project management

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