Stakeholders in Springfield Township (Bucks County, PA) have engaged in ongoing discussions about the possibility of installing a photovoltaic (PV) system to serve municipal loads, and reached out to ProtoGen looking for an unbiased third-party perspective. We took time to identify and understand their goals for the system, collected their ideas, and set to work performing an economic feasibility analysis:
- Conducted a site visit to gather locational data relevant to feasibility including location of all distribution and interconnection equipment, roof conditions, field conditions, etc.
- Developed 3D modeling of the sites proposed for the solar feasibility study
- Analyzed twelve months of utility billing data including energy, transmission and distribution charges
- Developed the total siting capacity of solar PV, i.e. the maximum amount of solar that could physically be installed, on the main Township building, lower Township building, school, and field adjacent to the school
- Developed associated drawings with estimated PV equipment specifications, counts, and production values
- Developed the total hosting capacity of solar PV, i.e. the maximum amount of solar that could be installed per Pennsylvania net metering rules which limit behind-the-meter PV generation to 110% of total energy demand.
- Developed a financial analysis model, both with and without financing
- Conducted sensitivity analysis around electricity prices, PV system costs, grant monies, and solar renewable energy credit (SREC) prices to solve for a 20-year payback.
- Provided “key indicators” to observe that could meaningfully impact PV feasibility
- Researched and summarized existing grant opportunities and reviewed possible third-party financing models
- Provided a findings report summarizing all work, findings, and recommendations
- Presented the report to township and school board stakeholders
Our analysis found that, although PV wasn't financially viable at the time, this could change with certain key indicators. As a result, the township and school district determined not to pursue the project, but also understand the levers related to future feasibility of the system. Should the stakeholders elect to pursue grant funding, they also have conceptual drawings, a financial model, and plenty of documentation they can refer to.