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Overcoming Challenges in Sourcing C&I Solar & EV Charging Development Locations

Updated: Mar 5

Overcoming Challenges in Sourcing C&I Solar & EV Charging Development Locations, text over image of commercial rooftop solar array

The transition to a more sustainable, clean energy future for the United States is well underway. However, CRE advisory groups, C&I solar developers, and private equity groups face significant challenges when trying to source prime commercial rooftop solar, battery storage, and EV charging development locations for their corporate clients. This article will delve into these challenges and explore how LandGate's new data for Rooftop Solar & EV Charging development can be utilized to overcome them.

The Challenges to C&I Solar & EV Charging Development

Finding Customers or Corporate C&I Projects

Finding potential customers for corporate Commercial and Industrial (C&I) rooftop solar and EV charging projects can be quite challenging. This is due to several reasons, and one of the major ones is the high initial cost of installation and capital needed to lock down site control and perform due diligence.. While the long-term benefits of these projects are undeniable, the upfront cost can act as a deterrent for many potential clients and commercial solar companies. They may perceive it as a significant risk, especially when the return on investment period is relatively long. While the general awareness of these projects is one issue, another is actually finding the building owner and associated stakeholders which we will cover here in a moment.

In addition, there is a lack of awareness about the potential benefits and cost savings that solar energy, battery storage, and EV charging stations can bring. Many businesses are not fully aware of the environmental and economic advantages of these technologies. Despite the growing trend towards sustainability, many companies still have misconceptions about renewable energy, such as believing it's unreliable or not suitable for their specific business needs. This lack of knowledge creates a barrier to entry for potential customers.

Furthermore, navigating the regulatory landscape can also pose a challenge. The rules and regulations pertaining to solar and EV charging installations vary significantly from region to region. Potential customers tend to be deterred by the complexity involved in obtaining the necessary permits, dealing with zoning issues, and complying with local building codes.

Lastly, the technical aspect of these projects can also be daunting for potential customers. Assessing the suitability of a site for a solar panel installation or an EV charging station requires a certain level of technical expertise. Not every company has the resources or the know-how to conduct such assessments, which could make them hesitant to adopt these technologies.

The Electrical Infrastructure Challenge

One of the most significant challenges in implementing corporate Commercial and Industrial (C&I) rooftop solar and electric vehicle (EV) charging projects is dealing with the existing electrical infrastructure. Most buildings and facilities were not initially designed to support the added load from these renewable energy sources and EV charging stations. As such, upgrading or modifying the existing electrical infrastructure to accommodate these systems can be a complex and costly process. It involves careful planning and coordination with utility providers, as well as compliance with various electrical codes and standards.

Another aspect of the challenge is the integration of these systems into the grid. Ensuring that the grid can handle the intermittent nature of solar power and the additional demand from EV charging stations, all requires sophisticated technology and infrastructure. This could include energy storage systems, advanced metering infrastructure, and smart grid technologies, all of which add to the complexity and cost of the project. There are a growing number of small, medium, and large C&I prospective clients who are interested in solar but are aware of some of the complexity and limitations that can arise in the process. This brings up the fear of change orders and, at the least investing a lot of time in evaluating projects that can’t be built due to necessary infrastructure upgrades.

Furthermore, net metering policies, which allow businesses to sell excess solar power back to the grid, vary widely by region. In some areas, the rates paid for this power are much lower than the retail electricity price, which can also impact the economics of the project.

Lack of All-in-One Tools

When sourcing locations for commercial rooftop solar installations and EV charging in the past, many efforts have stalled due to the difficulty in obtaining and analyzing the many different types of data necessary to bring a project to development. Projects of this magnitude require careful analysis of traffic patterns, state infrastructure, and terrain in addition to navigating the typical electric infrastructure and regulatory requirements. Site selection for rooftop solar projects and EV charging projects could take months of legwork and expensive man-hours.

The LandGate Solution

LandGate is addressing these challenges head-on with its new data for rooftop solar & EV charging development. This tool provides comprehensive, real-time electric infrastructure and advanced solar data that can help advisory, C&I solar contractors, and private equity groups identify prime commercial rooftop solar and EV charging development locations for their commercial-scale clients.

Data-Driven Site Selection

LandGate's platform uses advanced algorithms to analyze a wide range of data nationwide, including rooftop characteristics, surface area, local regulations, electricity prices, and government incentives. Users can also search and identify the ideal parcels for EV charging stations based on multiple variables including available power, nearby amenities, traffic infrastructure, parking lot sizes, and usable acreage. This data also includes existing EV stations, fuel corridors, incentives, forests & park reserves, and more.

Streamlined Stakeholder Engagement

The platform also provides detailed property owner information via the PowerLeads tool, simplifying the process of stakeholder engagement. Users can easily identify and contact property owners who may be already interested in hosting solar or EV charging installations.

Financial Modeling

Furthermore, LandGate's platform offers sophisticated financial modeling tools. Users can input their own assumptions about installation costs, electricity prices, and government incentives to generate detailed financial projections for potential sites.

Interested in utilizing the LandGate suite of tools to help source your next C&I solar or EV charging project? Click here to learn more or book a demo directly with our dedicated energy markets team.


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