5 Things to Look for in a Multi-Site Commercial Solar Partner

BY Dan O’Brien, Vice President, Direct Origination, DSD

If you’re putting together a solar portfolio across multiple states, the solar energy company you partner with is vital. Working on a national portfolio of sites requires experience with both the opportunities and challenges in different regional markets.

Below we list five important things you should consider when evaluating a solar partner for your portfolio.

​1. Alignment with your Organization’s Goals

Each organization is different and has its own goals to achieve. Working with a solar partner that can take your company’s overall goal into consideration when planning your portfolio is key.

The right solar energy partner will work with you to understand what is important for your organization, develop a plan to achieve your goals based on your assets, real estate structure, and financial needs, and execute this plan in conjunction with your team.

2. Extensive Knowledge of Federal, State, and Utility Rules and Incentives

It’s important to partner with a company that has extensive knowledge about the rules and regulations around solar, energy storage, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure installations. This not only ensures that your project will be compliant, but also that you’ll take advantage of the various incentives available in different states — from taxes to net metering to community solar. Having a partner with a dedicated staff to keep you updated on all the policies, incentives and regulations across multiple states, will help you achieve the best economic scenario for your projects.

“As a majority of states continue to move towards clean energy goals, the rules and regulations regarding utility programs and incentive structures are continuously evolving. Having an in-depth knowledge of the regulatory process and ability to navigate and adopt to the changing rules is crucial to offer the best offerings to those seeking to adopt clean energy technologies. For companies with a presence in multiple states, working with seasoned policy experts that have an understanding of multiple state regulations can offer the best strategy on what states to target first.”

Pari Kasotia
Pari Kasotia
Senior Director and Head of Policy

3. Comprehension of the Nuances of Real Estate Structures

Some companies looking to leverage solar own their properties. Some rent. Some have multiple sites with various mortgage or lease agreements. Whatever your real estate scenario is, the right partner will help you find the right solar structure to maximize your benefit from going solar.

Selecting a partner that has extensive experience in creating alternative solutions for a diverse portfolio can result in much greater savings for your organization.

4. In-House Design, Engineering & Construction

When looking for a solar partner to develop your projects, look for one that has in-house design, engineering, and construction team to ensure your considerations and needs are being accounted for from the very beginning.

Many solar developers outsource their design to other Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) companies. However, design can affect everything from power production and efficiency to savings and aesthetics.

A solar developer with an in-house design and engineering team will also evaluate and combine other technologies (e.g., solar canopies, energy storage systems, EV charging stations, etc.) creating new opportunities for clean energy saving.

5. Secured and Streamlined Financing

DSD PPA Financing

Not every site will benefit from the same financing structure. For some projects, you might be looking for a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA); for others, creating cash flow by leasing your roof, parking and/or available land space might be a better option.

For any solar agreement, a great partner should have strong financial backing, with capital readily available to support the development and construction of your projects. With strong and secured financial funds, your organization should be able to avoid unnecessary project delays.

Additionally, working with one single partner will allow your organization to take advantage of economies of scale, making projects that seem like a stretch on their own to fit well into a multi-site portfolio and help you meet financial and sustainability goals.

Some of the customers that have chosen DSD to work on their multi-state portfolio include:

Check out this companion piece, where we present five tips for installing solar at multiple sites.

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Reach out to a DSD team member for a consult on your multi-location solar project.