Choosing the ideal Solar EPC, O&M Proposals
All solar power system buyers compare multiple bids when choosing the company for a solar project because it has a long term business impact. Commercial and industrial solar system buyers rank bids against each other on highest cost savings or best net present value for solar EPC; or lowest cost for operations and maintenance. But the most important of all is to understand the underlying assumptions that form the basis of a proposal. Selecting the right EPC is important to get the best value of your investment in solar.
How to evaluate an EPC proposal
In an ideal situation a solar buyer should ask the bidding companies to articulate specifics around design assumptions, construction scope, and scheduling. A lowest cost bid may not necessarily be the best for a project’s success and budget.
Here are some parameters to assist your decision making process:
Wiring Design Standards: both copper and aluminum large conductors
are equally safe and durable for string wiring however copper is more expensive.
Trench Lengths: Buyers should ideally provide the location to the utility interconnection points or organize a site walk so that trenching lengths between bidders can be equal for correct estimate of length and associated costs.
Project Schedule: A bidder offering a professional well planned schedule for projects with a proper timeline and measurement mechanism is always a good choice for solar buyers. Proper plans not only affect the overall timing of when solar systems will be operational, but also can alter the system costs
and the savings possible from the solar project. Here are some of the key aspects to consider like module delivery, phasing assumptions for construction work on the project site and so on.
In case of large utility scale plant there are several other aspects to be considered such as road quality within the array, length, location, fire access, soil conditions, fencing, security, ground cover and vegetation control.
Evaluating a Solar O&M Proposal
Under the O&M scope of work and the likelihood of additional costs that may vary significantly, potentially impacting total returns expected from a solar project.
Here are some points to consider when evaluating an O&M bid:
Response Time & Spare Parts Management: Buyers must check for guarantees that O&M providers are offering for response time to site, what spare parts are on-site and which are available at no additional fee with string inverters being a major item.
Maintenance Services: Buyers must look for specific tasks with specific time requirements in O&M proposals than vague language committing only system monitoring. Preventive maintenance such as system washing and corrective maintenance from time to time to avoid problems from arising are essential for getting the most value from a solar system investment.
Licenses and Warranties: Buyers must know the difference between warranties provided as part of the solar EPC scope and warranties provided by the O&M contractor. Is the O&M provider qualified and approved by the original equipment manufacturer to work on the Solar system.
A systematised approach to your selection will ensure smooth operations, optimum utilization of space, maximum power output and best costs. If you are stuck at any step, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of Solar EPC and O&M experts at SolarMaxx for your project.