Integrated Solar Project Providers Turn Sustainability Policies Into Practice

Contributors
Written by Jamie Evans
on October 13, 2014 No Comments
Categories : E-Focus

In a world where sources of precious natural resources are shrinking and climate threats loom large, actionable steps forward are not only celebrated, but demanded by an ever-more environmentally conscious society that knows we can no longer afford to wait.

Excited to rise to the challenge, companies have made sustainability a top priority as more and more start ‘going green,’ developing and publishing annual corporate social responsibility reports that showcase their sustainability initiatives and achievements, from water recycling programs to solar panels and beyond. The position of chief sustainability officer has joined the upper echelons of top corporations.

As business leaders put environmentally friendly plans into practice, they know that, ultimately, it all comes down to the facts and figures. While sustainable solutions are a necessary part of protecting our planet, they must also be economically viable or they will not happen. In many cases, simply avoiding the most common mistakes can provide a path to successful, cost-efficient solar solutions.

Keep up with shifting costs
At the start of the solar boom, high equipment costs were the leading deterrent. Modules and inverters added significant expense to any project. Thankfully, those costs have dropped upward of 60% since 2011.
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Despite this significant decrease in panel prices, many organizations still balk at the cost and complexity associated with financing and monetizing solar assets. Moreover, traditional solar models require the involvement of a new third-party vendor at each phase of the process.

From the start, facility directors, developers and sustainability officials must engage with one firm for concept, one for design, another for financing and the list goes on. Partnering with multiple vendors causes solar projects to become disjointed and inefficient, creating a fragmented process full of complex, tax-driven financial structures and multiple layers of development that result in cost increases, missed deadlines and frustration.

Financing and monetizing solar assets, in particular, is difficult for small organizations with limited operating histories. The financial structures are complicated, and many companies lack the greater understanding of monetizing tax credits and depreciation benefits needed in a post-Section 1603 federal grant program environment.

In addition, while power purchase agreements have grown in popularity, the challenges associated with negotiating, structuring and financing these deals – particularly with numerous parties – can frustrate potential customers and make transaction costs prohibitive.

Put the pieces together
As the demand for solar increases, Panasonic has developed a streamlined solution, making it easier than ever for organizations to jump in with both feet. Joining experts from all areas of the solar installation process, Panasonic brings every phase of development – from conception to finance, design to maintenance – under one roof.

Instead of moving from one party to the next, organizations can now work with Panasonic as a fully integrated partner providing a one-stop shop for going solar, taking the complexity out of the process.

In addition, Panasonic's integrated model offers a variety of financing options that eliminate the need for upfront capital outlays and simplify solar through a structured, standard set of contracts. This mitigates project delivery risk for a more efficient and cost-effective solution that ensures attractive and reliable benefits for decades to come.

Chief sustainability officers and facility managers who want to position themselves as sustainability leaders need a solar solution they can rely on. To guarantee the life output and return on investment of their solar generation assets, they know it is not just about providing a low-cost, high-energy output system – experience, longevity and reputation are also key. They need a system that lasts and accomplishes their goals without the hassle and worry of wondering if the company they have selected will still be around to stand behind their work 20 years from now.

Panasonic's integrated solar model provides a level of support and quality assurance missing from traditional systems. Sustaining a presence throughout the entire life of a system, this solution helps numerous organizations – from the University of Colorado Boulder to Macerich shopping centers – not only achieve solar success, but maintain it.

Working with a streamlined solar provider, more and more corporations are incorporating long-lasting renewable energy into their plans – efficiently and cost-effectively.

Jamie Evans is managing director and head of U.S. Eco Solutions for Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Co., a unit company of Panasonic North America. Contact Panasonic Eco Solutions at ecosolutions@us.panasonic.com.

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