Step 1: Understand your corporate goals. The first step in making the business case for specific solar projects is to understand why your company is considering solar power. The report will help you determine what information needs to be included in your solar analysis, as well as how to present the information to your colleagues. It identifies the critical questions to ask at this stage, including a checklist of factors to consider.
Step 2: Determine your company’s criteria for a viable solar project. The process of screening potential solar projects is complicated. Beyond the minimum ROI hurdle, there are other solar-specific criteria and non-financial criteria to consider, including factors that are difficult to quantify, such as the impact of solar projects on the company’s brand image and corporate reputation.
Step 3: Understand the choices involved in commercial solar projects. In order to make sense of the solar options available – and present them coherently to company decision-makers – it's important to develop an understanding of all aspects of the solar development process, as well as the players involved. Evaluators should review detailed information about each of the four major elements in a commercial solar project: ownership structure, government/utility incentives, technology and system design, and vendor type. Decisions regarding these elements, interrelated in complex ways, will significantly impact the economic value of potential solar projects.
Step 4: Analyze your portfolio to identify the best projects. Your own thorough, objective analysis is the cornerstone of your business case. You will need a consistent analytical framework to evaluate all of the properties in your company’s portfolio, providing an objective, systematic way to make a “go/no-go” decision on each potential property – and keep tabs on each property’s solar potential as market and policy conditions change. Alta Energy’s report defines the elements of a comprehensive, robust model and identifies some serious dangers related to potential biases in the data.
Step 5: Present your recommendations to company decision-makers. The report includes a sample presentation for educating company decision-makers about potential solar projects and providing them the information needed to make smart solar investment decisions. The presentation contains examples of the reports from Alta Energy’s solar analytics model, which commercial property owners can use to evaluate and track their portfolio.
These five steps give commercial property owners a rational, objective framework for identifying cost-effective solar projects and moving quickly when the time is right.