CEG SolarGEN Helps SKS Bottle & Packaging Incorporate Solar Energy saving them $70,000 annually
SKS Bottle & Packaging, Inc. is a 31-year-old supplier of containers and caps to small and large businesses. The company’s innovative “kit” packs of plastic bottles and glass jars have become very popular among its customers in the beverage, medicinal, personal care, cosmetic and other industries and have fueled robust growth. That recently prompted SKS to build a new, larger facility for its expanding business in Saratoga Springs, NY.
Knowing the cost of energy and its inevitable escalation, SKS designed an energy-efficient building and made the choice to install solar energy on the roof to offset 100 percent of its electrical energy usage. Ultimately this decision will save the company roughly $70,000 annually for the next 25 years. The savings will follow annual energy price trends as well, resulting in a system that matches energy market increases. However, the process of selecting a developer to install such a system, as SKS quickly discovered, can be extremely complex and time-consuming. Fortunately for SKS, there is a new, first-of-its-kind Solarize program in the Capital Region that is simplifying that process for businesses.
SKS had started its search for a solar developer where most companies do: the NY-Sun webpage. There they identified developers whom they could contact. The selected developers led them through their sales processes, asking the same questions, gathering the same data and educating SKS on the same benefits of solar energy. When it finally came time to receive proposals, SKS had already invested many man hours into the process. What happened next was unexpected: the proposals were all different.
Each developer had their own idea of how the system should be sized, how it should be connected with the grid, and what the value of the energy generated would be worth. Even though SKS had the same discussion and provided the same information with each developer, different assumptions had been used to generate the proposals which led to proposals that were not easily comparable. To add to the complexity, the pricing the developers offered ranged drastically; equipment had not been listed and there had not been a clear picture of current solar policy. For example, warranties had been offered, but without spending more time researching them, SKS had no way of differentiating a standard offering versus an added bonus.
Around this time, SKS’s accountant met with the Center for Economic Growth (CEG) and learned about CEG SolarGEN, a first-of-its-kind Solarize program that the economic development organization created. For this program, CEG developed a competitive request for proposals, selected solar developers based on established criteria, and established a lean process that drastically reduced the time to receive proposals and took the guess work and research out of moving forward. Prior to learning about this program, SKS had been slowly moving forward with their solar project, but when its president, Ken Horan, learned about CEG SolarGEN he quickly saw the benefit of the program. He recognized the program made sense; it offered a trusted, knowledgeable, and developer-agnostic guide that established a definitive process with defined criteria.
Horan next began the process to receive bids through the program. In about three weeks and four hours of time invested, SKS was able to meet with three CEG SolarGEN developers in one afternoon. The developers used the established criteria and modeling assumptions set forth by the program and presented proposals that were easily comparable. CEG staff clearly defined the solar opportunity, enabling Ken to focus on the economics of the project and determine positive and negative outliers offered by all the proposals he received.
“CEG SolarGEN provided the path of least resistance to procure three comparable solar proposals. I felt confident moving forward with solar as a long-term investment that would hedge my business against future energy cost increases,” said Horan.
For more information about CEG SolarGEN or about CEG’s Energy and Sustainability Program, contact Program Manager Peter Lion at 518-465-8975 X234 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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