- David Vincent (ACIP Founder)
The renewable energy market, and especially solar, is a highly unregulated industry. There are no requirements in place to restrict vendors from being overly aggressive, and potentially misleading when stating numbers like production and savings. Having a highly educated and experienced consultant is the best way to protect you, and ensure that if you do decide to install a system, you are making that decision based on facts and reliable information.
Starting from the day we are engaged, the entire process averages about 8 months till your system is fully installed and turned on. This process can be accelerated if necessary. Our philosophy is to move at a steady pace and make sure the process is progressing, but not to rush anything or act hastily. This method allows us to complete the project with great attention to detail, and to a standard we are proud of.
The process is simple. ACIP has a short contract form that formally engages us to start on the project. We will have a launch meeting where we meet your team and we will recap our course of action so everyone understands the process. We will set our milestone goals based on your schedule, and let you decide how you would like to receive the flow of information. We work for you, and will work around your schedules and goals.
There are two main reasons that employing ACIP will save you money, both are a result of our formal process.
Solar companies already employ people from their sales and development teams. When a customer requests a price estimate from a solar company, that company has to spend thousands of dollars to figure out the details of the system, and tens of thousands of dollars in commissions to the salesperson who is working directly with the customer. By hiring ACIP to do all of this groundwork for you, the solar companies are able to cut all of those overhead items out of their costs and offer you a lower price.
The second and more significant reason, is that when solar companies go through a formal RFP process, and especially when we hold a formal “job walk”, they are able to see their competition, and know that they need to act more aggressively with their margins. Pricing through this formal price method is always significantly reduced compared to individual solicitation. However, with ACIP on your team this reduction in pricing doesn’t mean any sacrifice in quality or service from the chosen vendor, so you can rest assured you will not only receive better final products, but a better quality installation too, all at a significantly lower price.
Just like any other industry, manufacturers can vary largely from brand to brand. Aspects such as the quality of silicon used, the quality of the components, the care of manufacturing, all contribute to the overall quality and efficiency of the panel. Additionally, when choosing a panel manufacturer, we also look into the health of the manufacturer. Most solar panels come with a 25 year warranty, however a warranty is only as strong as the company behind it. Another important consideration we look for when determining the right brand is looking into third party warranty insurance.
Choosing the right vendor is extremely important. Different from many other industries, you are not just choosing a vendor, but you are choosing a partner. Most solar vendors will have a minimum of 10 years of warranty on their systems. This means that you will have at least a 10 year relationship with them on the service side. Looking into the strength of their company, the quality of their installations, the quality of their service, the size of their O&M departments, and many other factors matter. ACIP and our formal process will be an integral part of helping you to choose the right partner.
Absolutely, and we can do this two separate ways. There are local EPC (Engineering, Procurement, & Construction) companies in the area and we will go through and decide which of them have the capabilities and experience to submit pricing. Additionally, there are several other large EPC’s that use a sub-contract model. In the RFP we will list that local participation is important to us and encourage the respondents to look to local sub-contractors to work with them on the project. This is a great way to get great pricing and still make sure dollars and work are being kept in the community.