Engineering & System Design
During the previous Due Diligence phase, a solid schematic basis for commercial solar design is usually established. It shows an overview of solar module placement and orientation. While this basic site plan remains open to changes as due diligence reports continue to come in, any subsequent modifications tend to be relatively minor.
“Scope Lock” for the project is established early in the design process. While more detailed plans will follow, at this stage all parties review and approve the basic placement of solar modules and plans for interconnection to the electrical grid. This stage in commercial solar design helps set expectations about the final form the installation will take. More detailed design work follows. Permit drawings (which eventually become final construction drawings) are developed next. You will have a chance to review and approve these designs throughout the commercial solar installation process. The solar equipment provider’s project manager is usually the main point of contact for project updates and other communication with your organization.
Applying for permits is a subset of the engineering and design phase. You can expect most solar developers to handle the permitting process for you. You should be aware, however, that some jurisdictions are more familiar with and open to the concept of solar projects than others. Once permit drawings are submitted, you’ll learn very quickly how the building department in your area operates. Experienced solar developers can often anticipate the preferences of particular permit-issuing officials.