A recent article in Owen SoundSun Times – Pros and cons of Green Energy Act – Owen Sound Sun Times – Ontario has attempted to analyze the outcomes of a solar PV project built on a roof of school managed by Bruce Grey Catholic District School Board.
The article has concluded that although the project has significant educational value, it’s financial side leaves much to be desired. We would like to argue that the reason that project generated lousy returns lies in the way it has been implemented.
School Boards, as well as municipalities, consistently avoid hiring consultants to advise them on development of their solar initiatives as an “unnecessary expense”. We have suggested independent consulting help on several solar projects, but Boards and municipalities choose to go give away their solar projects directly to developers. This is like giving your credit card to car dealer without a clue of how much a car should cost.
In this project, according to the article, the Board paid at least $230,000 for a rooftop project of maximum 10kW. At a cost of one phone the Board could have found out that such installation can’t possibly cost over $80,000, in the worst possible case. Likely it could have been built for under $65,000. Such result could have been achieved by hiring a consultant to represent Board’s interests in dealing with a developer. Possible cost of consulting work: $3,000-5,000, savings to the Board: $150,000.
Instead the Board has chosen to “save” on consulting.