Before detailed engineering and commercial solar design work can begin, it’s critical for you and your solar provider to have a solid understanding of the physical, electrical and legal attributes of your site. This knowledge protects both parties by helping everyone understand the various factors that could impact the solar installation.
- Physical evaluation: This ranges from an initial visual inspection to more detailed topographical, geological and structural analysis, depending on the type of commercial solar installation.
- Electrical investigation: This includes a review of your organization’s structural “as built” drawings (a record of all of the construction done on the site to date). The review helps identify the best point for the proposed solar power system to tie into the electrical grid. A detailed electrical audit is often performed during this stage and serves as the basis for establishing where the solar conductors are placed.
- Legal review: The solar installer will request title reports and other surveys to discover any potential property liens, easements or other encumbrances. A clean bill of health for your organization and its property helps guarantee the project will proceed without any legal challenges.
For simple rooftop projects, the due diligence phase typically takes 2-1/2 weeks to complete. With additional reports and recommendations to finalize, more complex ground or carport installations can run up to 8-1/2 weeks.
While the expense involved with due diligence stage is a relatively small compared to the total cost of a commercial solar installation, it’s an important phase. In the unlikely event something is uncovered that would prevent the installation from proceeding, work can stop before significant money is invested. This phase should not delay contract signing or the start of initial design work.