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Frequently Asked Questions
What types of solar photovoltaic (PV) projects does Melink Solar Development do?
We focus primarily on large commercial and utility scale projects (2 MW+), providing pre-construction development services to land-owners, power off-takers, and project investors. Our role is to mitigate risks, bring together all required components for a successful project, and guide our clients through the development process.
Does Melink Solar Development offer construction services?
No, our scope of work focuses on pre-construction due diligence. However, we can help our clients vet and select construction partners or make recommendations for trusted firms that we have worked with in the past. We make the entire process, from start to finish, seamless for all stakeholders.
Is Melink Solar Development a subsidiary of Melink Corporation?
Melink Solar Development is independently owned and operated, but remains a part of the extended Melink family, focusing exclusively on pre-construction development. Melink Corporation is a trusted engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) partner for small-commercial solar projects directly serving business owners.
To view Melink Corporation's products and services, please visit their website at www.melinkcorp.com
How long do solar PV systems work?
Solar panels are warranted by manufacturers to last 25 years. Considering the panels themselves have no moving parts, they can continue producing enough energy to cover operating costs for up to 35 years or more. Inverters, the equipment that changes the DC power produced by the solar system into the AC power that our appliances and buildings use, have a lifespan of about 15-20 years. After that point, it is expected that new inverters will be installed to take advantage of the remaining life of the panels.
What manufacturers does Melink Solar Development specify?
We specify only top-tier equipment from reputable manufacturers who have the ability to stand behind their equipment warranties over the life of the systems. We do not chase lowest up-front cost at the expense of long-term performance.
How much in CO2 emissions are typically avoided as a result of installing a solar project?
The amount of CO2 emissions avoided is contingent upon a system’s geographic location, the size and type (ground mount, rooftop, canopy, etc.). Bearing those factors in mind, the production from a 1 MW DC project located on the East Coast of North America can equate to the avoidance of about 946 tons of carbon dioxide a year. This equates to the greenhouse gas emissions of 180 passenger vehicles driven over the course of one year. A system of the same size in Southwest North America can produce enough energy to equate to the avoidance of 1,340 tons of carbon dioxide a year.
The EPA has created a very effective CO2 avoidance calculator tool for the general public:https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator
Is solar PV a cost prohibitive technology?
Solar PV systems are a mature technology which is cost competitive and easily adaptable to existing sites – whether mounted on a roof, the ground or as a canopy. The cost of a solar PV system is contingent upon the type, size and physical location of the project. After construction, the cost to operate and maintain a solar PV array is typically much less than the cost to operate and maintain fossil fuel power generation assets.
Our knowledge of numerous financing structures available from national financial institutions, as well as non-traditional lenders, is what sets Melink Solar Development apart from other developers. We work closely with our clients to determine the most advantageous financing structure for each project.
Does solar PV require a major upfront cost?
Typically not. A Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with one of our reputable finance providers can offset any upfront cost. A PPA allows the client to purchase the electricity produced by the solar system at a fixed rate over 20-25 years. The finance provider pays to construct the system and then owns it long term. This agreement benefits power consumers, as the cost of the electricity produced by the solar system can be lower than that supplied by the local utility. The contract also allows power consumers to hedge against long-term energy cost inflation risk. Such an agreement does not appear as an ongoing liability on the power consumer's financial statements.
A great example of a solar PPA is the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, a Melink Solar project in 2011. You can view the Cincinnati Zoo Solar Video on our customer testimonial page.
In which states is solar a cost competitive technology?
States with the greatest solar resources, such as Texas, California, Arizona, Hawaii and New Mexico, are the states in which solar PV is typically the most efficient. While those states make sense from a solar resource perspective, solar PV is also cost competitive in other places, including Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Although the solar resource is lower in the Northeast region of the country, those states typically have high costs of power from traditional providers. And there can be financial incentives available through state legislation.
What happens when it snows?
Sun can penetrate light snow, and the panels will heat up with the sun's rays to melt the snow. Heavier snow can be removed with a squeegee or panel-safe pole.
How do you clean the solar PV system?
For most systems, rainfall is enough to clean solar panels. However, the system may need to be hosed off more frequently if it is located in a particularly dry or dusty area. We can refer clients to reputable monitoring, operations, and maintenance providers.
If I connect solar PV to my building, will I still have power if the grid goes out?
Typically not, as most solar PV systems are tied to the grid and will shut down when there is a power outage. If the power goes out and the solar PV system is still sending energy back to the grid, the lines would be considered live and could create a dangerous situation for workers repairing them. However, systems utilizing battery storage in conjunction with solar PV can be designed to safely disconnect from the grid in the event of a power outage, thus continuing to supply power until the utility grid is restored.