EPC vs. PMC Contracts: Understanding the Differences
If you’re researching renewable energy, commercial solar companies, or the solar industry in general, you’re bound to come across the term EPC.
- What does EPC in solar energy mean?
- What do you do if solar EPC isn’t the right choice for you?
Let’s dive in and take a look at some of the most common ways commercial solar systems are designed and built.
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What is a Solar EPC Company?
EPC stands for engineering procurement and construction, and this has been the primary business model for the commercial solar energy industry over the last decade.
When you work with a solar EPC company, you’re hiring a single company to engineer your solar system, procure the elements needed to build that system, and then construct the solar system at your location.
The Biggest Benefit of Solar EPC
With an EPC solar company, you’ll have a single point of contact for all things related to your solar system.
If you have a question or there’s an issue while your solar PV plant is being installed, you’ll know immediately who to call – and it’s their responsibility to resolve the issue, not yours.
A solar EPC company provides turnkey solar systems
What this all boils down to is that a solar EPC company is a one stop shop perfect for customers that want a complete solar installation package.
It’s 100% turnkey.
When Solar EPC is Not the Right Fit
While solar EPC is the prevailing business model in the solar industry, it may not be the perfect fit for your company or your situation. If you’re not ready to go all in with solar, the EPC approach is going to be more of a challenge.
With an EPC solar company, you’ll get a package of services that may include a feasibility study, design, and construction of your solar system. But it’s a one-size-fits-all mentality that means every customer gets the same set of services. You can’t get just a piece of the package – you have to take it all.
But what if you’re not ready for the full array of EPC services?
If you’re not ready to go all in with solar, you could resort to the design-bid-build approach commonly found in other segments of the construction industry.
With the more piecemeal design-bid-build approach, you pick and choose the services you want to buy, when you want to buy them. Ultimately you serve as your own general contractor, responsible for finding, managing, and contracting with the right vendor for each component of your solar project from structural design to final commissioning.
That means finding the company to do the site survey and design your solar system. And the vendor that will supply the solar panels, battery storage system…. and every piece of equipment required to complete the entire project.
Then, you have to hire yet another vendor to do the final construction of your solar plant. Keep in mind that if anything goes wrong or is missing during the construction phase, it’s your responsibly to resolve the issue with the contractor so that you can keep your project on track.
There are a couple of major downsides to this approach. First, it’s a lot of work for someone who has presumably taken a solar installation project on in addition to their full time job! Second, because there is very little collaboration between your vendors, you could wind up with a solar system that doesn’t fully meet your needs.
Fortunately, there is another option. It’s called design-build and it offers the convenience of EPC approach with the flexibility of design-bid-build.
Velo is the Premier Design-Build Solar Company in the US
Design-Build is EPC+
Design-build starts out with the same framework as the EPC model. You still have one contract with a single company that’s in charge of the engineering, procurement, and construction of your solar project. You’ll still know exactly who to call with your questions or concerns.
The difference is that design-build is more adaptable to your specific needs than a strict EPC model. It’s EPC on steroids.
At Velo Solar, we take a design-build approach to everything we do. The way we work is unique in the solar industry because it offers flexibility and it allows us to customize our offering to better fit the needs of our customers.
Flexibility is Key
- If you just want to have a feasibility study done to determine if a solar energy system makes logistical and financial sense for your business, we can do that.
- If you only want to understand if your roof is suitable for a solar PV plant, our experts can conduct a site survey and make that determination.
- If you have sustainability goals you want to meet, we can work with you to explore how solar power might help you accomplish those goals.
- If you want a 100% turnkey solar system installed with a solar panels, battery storage, and the complete range of support we offer from start to finish, we can do that too!
A Solar Industry Leader That’s Your Energy Partner
Design-build is more of a long term partnership between the provider and the customer, and that’s why we believe design-build is the best path forward for companies investigating commercial solar implementation.
We have the ability to partner with you wherever you are on the path to solar energy integration. Whether you need one thing or the whole package, we can provide whatever services you need.
And because we become your partner in renewable energy, we can design, install, and maintain a solar system that perfectly fits your needs and your timeline.
Another upside to the way we do business is that when you partner with Velo Solar, you’ll be working with our employees. From the site survey, design, and engineering of your solar system to its financing, construction, and final commissioning, our cross-functional teams collaborate with you and with each other during every phase of the project.
This integrated approach delivers the solar plant you need.
Service After the Sale: Solar Panels and Beyond
Because we want to ensure that each solar system we design and build works smoothly for decades to come, we also offer ongoing maintenance services. While solar systems are typically low-maintenance, regular inspections and maintenance of the equipment makes sure that your system delivers peak performance and the highest return on investment possible.
Each year, our technicians will do a thorough check for anything that might reduce your system’s ability to produce energy. This could include damage to the panel, wiring, or frame, or even noting if your system’s energy production is being reduced by overgrown vegetation shading the panels.
The Future Will Demand Flexibility
As the commercial solar energy industry evolves over the next decade, we’re going to see a lot of technology convergence. This convergence is going to demand solar providers be integrated, collaborative, and cross-functional – and that’s the heart of Velo Solar’s design-build mentality.
Commercial Solar Services
- Site survey
- Evaluation of current energy usage
- Solar plant structural design
- Procurement of all solar and energy storage equipment
- Project engineering and construction, including the management of all permitting and coordination with your utility
- System testing and generation measurements
- Reporting with our proprietary POWERENFO technology
- Annual inspection and preventative maintenance of your solar plant