Everything You Need To Know About Solar EPCOctober 04, 2018
The industrial revolution brought with it the ladder to the next gen and also many challenges that humanity had to face at each step of the ladder. Since the industrial revolution, human activities have been impacting on the environment negatively by burning fossil fuels for energy, releasing CO2 into the atmosphere causing climate change. Nature has its way to mend itself so it is obvious that our planet will survive. The main question is will humans survive and thrive in the long term?
So… if it’s so obvious why are we not doing it now?
I will tell you why. Burning coal and gas is cheaper because the coal and gas-fueled power stations don’t have to pay for their pollution.
Economically, fossil fuels are finite and will run out eventually. And before that, they will become rare and hence, more expensive.
If we use renewable sources of energy, we can extend our tenure on the earth. Individuals, corporations and regional governments are beginning to take a stand and buy their energy from clean and green renewable sources like solar farms so that they don’t add to the environmental degradation.
In energy terms, India has a plentiful supply of natural resources, by far the biggest resource is the energy received daily from the sun.
In half a day, India receives enough sunshine to power the entire world… if only we captured it.
Rising awareness about the benefits of the solar power has resulted in a large number of organisations and people venturing into solar business. India has a huge solar potential and if impersonated rightly, a solar company can become very successful here. Today, there are many companies selling solar products or providing installation and Solar EPC services.
Oh, wait! “What is EPC?” is what you are thinking. If this is an alien word for you, then keep reading for its details:
The basic full form of EPC is Engineering, Procurement and Construction. In the solar industry, EPC term is used for providing end-to-end solar services from designing the system, procuring the components and finally installing the project.
A solar panel installation is a long-term investment hence, the process needs to be executed with care. EPC in the solar industry is a sophisticated process when compared to the other industries. Let’s divide the term and understand it in parts:
Engineering: This process involves a study of the client’s requirements, surveying the site, monitoring the weather over the site, structural design and determining the power generation capacity. After this, the selection of the equipment, engineering design and 3D modelling of the proposed solar power plant is carried out.
Procurement: Solar EPC companies procure equipment and parts from local and global manufacturers. This frees the client from the hassle of finding the right supplier. The basic components of a solar power plant include inverters, solar panels, batteries, mounting structures and safety equipment like RCBB (Residual Current Circuit Breaker) and SPD (Surge Protection Device).
Construction: The solar power plant construction activity involves mounting solar panels, accessories, grid/off-grid connectivity along with solar energy supply to the client’s existing power supply system.
Now that you know the process of EPC and how it is implemented, it is time to reveal what a solar EPC company looks like.
As we look forward to 2019, we will see the solar installation industry grow even larger to provide residential, industrial, community and commercial solar solutions. There will be commercial developers who are established, along with the independent private investors looking to thrive in this industry.
However, the task of providing an EPC service is not easy. There are many aspects that can hinder a project that, on paper, looks like a good investment. Factors such as delays in the design schedule, material procurement issues and any minor final construction issues can contribute to a poorly run project. So, it becomes extremely necessary to not twiddle your thumbs and get a genuine EPC company.
A solar EPC company can install a solar plant working on different approaches. The approach is decided on the basis of the client’s needs.
- EPC – This is the most straightforward form of EPC, where a firm designs the system, procures the equipment and constructs the project. Everything is included in one project and one contract, at the end leaving the client only one bill to pay.
- E/PC- If the client is not comfortable handling the whole project to one firm, they can choose to keep the engineering in-house and hand over the procurement and construction to a solar EPC firm.
- EP/C- Another option is to keep engineering in-house and purchase major equipment, then hiring an EPC contractor to purchase minor equipment and construct the installation.
- E/P/C- Some EPC companies also work as serious micromanagers and hire three different contractors and let them each handle one task.
If the client is less concerned about the operations and more concerned about getting the project completed, EPC is the route for them. This approach also empowers them to choose the engineer they want to work on their project. If the client truly wants an EPC and are set on an engineer who knows his work, the client can always assign their engineering resource to the contractor, essentially locking their engineers on the project as a fixed cost.
Generally, with an EPC company, the client is going to get the sub-consultants that their EPC consultant chooses. The client may end up with more sub-consultants than they expected. However, this is a part of the EPC consultant’s role, which is to get the project completed at the price and schedule the client agreed to.
If the client has little or no knowledge of the specifics of the industry but has the right financial backing and application, they can hire an EPC firm to take the project through to fruition. A good EPC firm has the knowledge, industry contacts and sometimes the right vendor leverage to get the project built for an acceptable price and on schedule.
After reading all this, I am sure you might be wondering that how can a person recognise a good EPC company.
A good EPC company will have a strong capability in the three areas: engineering, construction and procurement. Additionally, a client needs an EPC firm they can trust. EPC firms typically move fast, often faster than the client can keep up with. They need a firm that is rooted in good communication practices so the firm can take time to walk the client through the process.
Hire a solar EPC company keeping in mind the following considerations:
Equipment details: Make sure the solar company you plan to hire uses equipment from a trustworthy manufacturer and possess the actual warranty while installing the system.
Even if the solar components looks simple, the project team must be knowledgeable and experienced in technical details of the electrical engineering and utility setup.
Full-service Solar Solution Provider: Make sure they manage everything from start to finish, including analysis, design, project management, equipment procurement, solar panel installation, obtaining approvals, getting solar finance, etc.
Licensing and Approvals: If you do not want to get into the inconvenience of arranging the required paperwork and government approvals, then select a solar company which offers the facility of arranging the licenses required to install the solar PV system.
Operations and Maintenance: The work isn’t over after the solar panel installation. Do not forget to check with the solar company about their after-sales services. Make sure the company is providing regular maintenance facility for the smooth performance of the solar panel system.
Reviews and Recommendations:You can always ask your friends and family about the good and bad they felt about the company from where they got their solar PV system installed. Or else, you can ask the solar companies themselves about their previous works and seek feedback from their clients.
So before you hire an EPC company ask in your community and start the conversation before you get started. People generally recommend firms whom they trust and firms with the good reputation.
What you should expect from a good EPC company?
- Site survey
- Government approvals for solar installation
- Solar power plant installation capacity calculation & design
- Sourcing and purchase of all solar equipment
- Installation of solar power plant
- After-sales service
- Solar financing
- Help in availing solar subsidy schemes
MI Solar ranks as the top solar company amongst the leading providers of solar EPC services. Having a PAN India presence, we are committed to enlightening the lives of Indians through our efficient solar services. Our world-class technology combined with unparalleled in-house expertise has won the trust of a large number of people. Located in Vadodara, we are the best solar company offering a comprehensive range of solar services.
MI Solar is the best solar energy solutions company since 2010 in India. If you need a solar panel installation or any solar EPC solution, contact MI Solar now!