Case Studies

SPG Solar Inc.: A Partner for Worry-free Solar Power

  • Written by: SPG Solar Inc.: A Partner for Worry-free Solar Power
  • Produced by: SPG Solar Inc.: A Partner for Worry-free Solar Power
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SPG Solar Inc. (SPG) was founded in 2001 by Dan Thompson to deliver end-to-end solutions that made solar energy systems affordable, accessible and long-term profit centers. The company provides solar power products and solutions, designing the right system for a given application and supporting its carefully chosen components with an in-house team of engineers and a financial group to ensure systems perform as promised for customers to reap 25-plus year benefits from solar. Led by CEO Doug May, SPG’s 100 employees push themselves to deliver high-performance systems and a level of customer service and support that proves going solar can be easy.

SPG is based out of Novato, Calif., just north of San Francisco, and the company has the capabilities to work with clients from coast to coast thanks to a string of additional locations in Carlsbad, Calif., and East Coast reps in New Jersey and Massachusetts. Whereas SPG was once exclusively focused on residential solar applications, the company now devotes itself to pioneering the implementation of innovative solar technologies on a commercial and utility scale, backed by SPG’s service team so systems cost less over a lifetime, deliver more solar energy, and experience minimal maintenance downtime.

Clients include Fortune 100 companies, five-star resort hotels, wastewater treatment plants and other utilities, school districts, the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency, among others. SPG particularly targets states with economic incentives for solar energy, and works with local, state and federal government agencies to find ways to make unproductive land become a source of renewable energy.

The company prides itself on providing customers not just with solar energy solutions, but also with the experience to make every solar array the most cost-effective system possible. SPG’s team of in-house engineers tackle challenging projects, leveraging the best available technologies and tailoring installation for site optimization to maximize a systems output, backing all operations with experience, quality, innovation, integrity and community.

Effective Solutions

SPG is a master of the all-in-one solar solution. For example, SPG began installing the industry-leading SunSeeker Tracker line of automated racking systems in 2006, with the latest generation coming to market in July 2012. The integrated single-axis system allows the mounted photovoltaic panels to rotate and follow the trajectory of the sun’s movement across the sky, boosting energy output by up to 25 percent. The all-weather trackers can stand up to harsh climate and its components are preassembled off-site to expedite installation time by doing away with the need for on-site welding and cutting. As an added bonus, the system uses fewer posts and fewer moving parts than comparable systems to save clients an average of more than $27,000 per megawatt installed, while generating 25-percent more power compared to a fixed-tilt system.

The systems design and installation team works closely with SPG Finance LLC, the company’s financial services arm, to build the highest value possible with financing options and a simple, flexible approach that reduces risk and production timeline for the client. The close collaboration also ensures systems are designed to make use of every available municipal, state and federal incentive possible. The group works with a variety of tier-1 banking institutions to arrange power purchase agreements, leveraging a 100-percent success rate of closing deals with signed commitment.

Bringing Solar within Reach

Once the financial ducks are in a row, SPG moves quickly to make the solar power project a reality. The company oversees a project’s progress as the general contractor, searching out the best contractors and specialized subcontractors nationwide that can navigate the diversity of local permitting requirements and that are willing to move mountains to deliver the system on time and as promised.

SPG goes above and beyond to make solar feasible for the client, and in November 2011 the company completed work on a highly innovative 2.3-megawatt system for the town of Gilbert, Ariz., that came at absolutely no cost to the taxpayers. SPG arranged a power purchase agreement with the town of Gilbert, removing any risk around production and maintenance. Gilbert purely buys the energy generated from the system at a cost lower than the rate of electricity.

The photovoltaic system, comprised of 8,000 tracking panels, was installed for use by the town’s Neely Wastewater Reclamation Facility to generate 4 megawatts of energy annually – roughly 40 percent of the facility’s power needs – and save the town over $2 million in energy costs over the next 20 years.

Local power utility Arizona Public Service provided additional incentive in the form of a program that will fund up to 60 percent of a solar energy project’s capital costs over the course of 10 years in exchange for the project’s renewable energy credits.

SPG leveraged past experience, engineering one of first solar power systems installed in an operating groundwater recharge basin in the U.S. SPG Solar designed and engineered an elevated tracking system, built with a height clearance of 6.5 feet, to allow room for the basin to flood with water and for equipment to pass through underneath. It is a state-of-the-art solar power system that withstands flooding, soft soil plus high winds, and it meets the community’s aesthetic requirement.

The upcoming years look bright for SPG Solar, as the company has recently completed a selection of innovative projects for a handful of higher education institutions (such as reclaiming the tops of carports to produce energy, among other systems), and it continues to develop its capabilities as an end-to-end solar power solutions provider. SPG Solar will continue to lead the industry not just in product innovation with the All Weather SunSeeker track, but also in efficiency, proving again and again that solar energy electricity systems are viable and cost-effective today.

Published on: March 13, 2013

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