As the solar industry has grown in recent years, the term “solar developer” has grown in prominence. A solar developer, or project developer, is a company that guides a solar farm from an idea to reality (specifically, the point when it’s ready for construction). Developers can range in scale from a few employees to thousands. While some developers specialize in certain sizes of projects or in specific regions, others may cast a wider reach on projects across the nation.
What do solar developers do?
Solar developers work across the supply chain to implement energy solutions for organizations. These actions can include:
- Find land for the project: Developers find landowners interested in leasing their land, and will negotiate a long-term lease agreement with the landowner.
- Find a customer: Solar developers look for a customer interested in the electricity the farm will produce. This is either a utility, an electric cooperative (in rural areas), or an organization that wants the energy for its own use. The developer will negotiate a contract with the off-taker, which can take months by itself.
- Conduct technical, geological and other studies: Solar developers conduct studies on the land, as well as study how the energy generated by the farm will be connected to the electric grid. Some of these studies may necessitate engineers visiting the land, but these are typically short.
- Apply for a variety of permits: Developers apply for permits from local, state, and sometimes federal agencies.
- Secure financing: Solar developers look for financing solutions for the customer, including power purchase agreements and energy as a service agreements for the construction of the farm.
- Negotiate equipment purchases: Developers plan and execute equipment purchases for the solar farm, such as solar panels.
- Determine which company will build the solar farm: These can include specialized construction companies called EPCs, which stands for Engineering, Procurement and Construction.
The tasks above are typically all completed prior to the construction of the solar farm. Due to the variety of tasks and research that a solar developer facilitates, projects can take months to years to fully construct depending on the size of the project.
How can a solar developer work for your organization?
Solar developers work on a variety of scales for projects, from small to large. The possibilities are open-ended depending on the needs and requests of the customer. Coordinating efforts with a solar developer allows your organization to leave the heavy lifting to skilled professionals knowledgeable of the multitude of aspects that go into creating energy solutions such as solar arrays.
Interested in solar developers?
As many organizations are switching to renewable energy for increased energy independence and financial benefits, now is an ideal time to start your own energy project. Partnering with EnergyLink will expedite the process of designing, building and funding energy solutions across multiple project scales for your organization. Get started by clicking the button for a free quote. Want to stay up-to-date on the latest energy industry news? Fill out the form below.