Instructor: Brendan Noakes
With several years of international solar experience, and as a senior business developer for Safari Energy in NYC, Professor Noakes welcomes the opportunity for students to spend one semester working as a solar developer. Professor Noakes will guide them through various companies’ pipeline of commercial solar projects, leverage his intellectual property to maximize student learning in developing, financing, constructing, and maintaining solar systems for large property portfolios across the U.S. After the semester students will understand the main drivers behind solar PV investments, as you have to sell clients on financial returns before promoting its sustainability outcomes. Some areas however speak for themselves, like the largest outdoor mall in the world, with great sunshine exposure and high electricity prices in Hawaii.
Intended client: Safari Energy, other solar developers and existing/prospective solar
Students will get a first-hand account on how commercial solar projects in the U.S. are developed from start to finish. From operating projects to winning new business, students will learn how projects are selected, designed, financed, constructed, and maintained. The viability of a project depends on the investor and the U.S. state it is based in. Professor Noakes will teach students how to identify key states which produce high solar returns (regardless of the site’s sunlight insolation). To understand operations and maintenance schedules, students will also be invited to attend weekend site inspections of current operating projects at Bronx and Brooklyn sites. Professor Noakes will provide a slide show construction timeline so students can get a good idea of the materials required (racking, wiring, and inverter placements) and the overall timeframe of project completion.
Classes will be structured around scenarios of various aspects of the development cycle:
• Searching for the right client (roof space, credit-worthiness, building ownership, tax structures)
• Designing a system for the client (list of design programs, PV analytic software, Google earth tricks)
• Financial Analysis: gather information from multiple sources and analyze the financial and technical feasibilities of solar projects for various properties and clients. He or she will assist the operations and maintenance staff in overseeing the data collection process for operational solar systems.
• Operations and Maintenance checklist: learn to use solar engineering equipment including solar pathfinder technologies; analysis of solar and building data and assessing project feasibility.
• Expert Talks: 1 to 2 project developers from Safari Energy and/or other companies will be brought in to share their experiences with the class (i.e. A professional who currently is working on wheeling 10MWs of power to a university in the North East of the U.S.
Watch this capstone presentation on YouTube.