How to write winning PV and other sustainable energy bids and proposals

solar project

Solar projects are rapidly appearing across Greece and the EU. This represents a substantial opportunity for solar and electrical businesses to secure government and private sector contracts. Securing these contracts are becoming highly competitive. In this article, we outline some strategies to set your bid or proposal apart and in government contracts in Greece and the EU.  

Focus on your in-house expertise 

It is important to focus on your in-house expertise in your tender response. If you have qualified PV design personnel and an experienced qualified installation team be sure to include their individual profiles and CVs in your proposal. Take them time to identify their experience that closely relates to the project you are looking to secure, and detail how their experience is similar. It’s also critical for you to detail how long they have been with your company, and what special value each of the personnel will add. For example, if you’re design and specification have experience in developing designs that result in significant cost savings whilst maintaining the same solar performance, provide case studies of how and where they have delivered this in the past.  

Provide detailed case studies 

Most requests for proposals (RFPs) or tenders will look for information on your prior experience. This is an opportunity to showcase your experience and it is important to go into sufficient detail about your previous solar projects. This includes detailing the end-to-end scope of the project, from site selection, design, construction, and maintenance.  

It is recommended that you take the time to detail the challenges encountered when completing the project and how you overcame them. For example, was there limited access to the site, or did you have to complete the construction within a strict timeframe. If so, how did you overcome these issues?  

Detailing which of your key personnel were involved in the project, and if they will be part of the proposed project team for the contract you are looking to secure is also important. This will show consistency and the ability to implement the key lessons learned.  

The equipment and installation method used in the previous projects should also be included in any previous project summary. Talk about how, for the proposed contract, you may be adopting some of the same installation methods, and your experience in working with a full range of panels, inverters and other equipment.  

 Detail the benefits of your proposed panels, inverters and equipment.  

It’s very difficult for prospective clients to compare prices, especially when they have not specified the types of panels, inverters and railings. Where you are proposing to use a certain type of panel or inverter, take the time to detail the benefits of that inverter. You need to go beyond simply attaching the specifications provided by the supplier and instead, clearly summarise and discuss in your proposal the specific advantages.  

It’s equally important to discuss and clearly summarize the lifetime cost of your solution. For example, a cheaper provider may have lower up-front costs as part of their tender, however, there may be higher lifetime costs due to the long-term maintenance costs and decreased performance in the 15 – 20 year range. If your solution has a lower lifetime cost, it’s important to clearly communicate this (possibly graphically) in order to provide further credibility for your proposal and justifier your proposed higher cost.  

Provide a comprehensive maintenance plan 

Private and public corporations in Greece and across Europe are generally looking for long-term solutions with respect to solar and other renewable energy proposals. When proposing to provide design, construction and maintenance services, it’s important that you focus specific attention on the maintenance component of it. In order to provide a compelling maintenance solution you need to convince the reader / buyer that: 

  1. You are a credible company, financially stable, with a strong track record that will be around in 10 and 15 years time to deliver the proposed maintenance services.  
  2. That you have a reasonable and comprehensive plan to monitor panel output, attend to any technical issues immediately, and maintain and upgrade the system as required.  
  3. That you have specialist maintenance personnel and robust IT systems which will enable you to monitor panel performance.  

A detailed maintenance plan will demonstrate your commitment to the long term performance of the project. Where you have maintained and upgraded other projects in the past, it is worth detailing your experience with these projects in order to provide further confidence to the client.  

Use graphics and infographics to present complex solutions in an easy to simple manner 

Sometimes the solutions your technical team of engineers provide for solar photovoltaic systems are highly technical. In order to win the bid, and secure the government contract, it may be necessary to summarize these highly technical solutions into an easy to understand graphic.  This will help the non-technical personnel reviewing the proposal to understand what you are putting forward and will also provide a good summary for your points of difference. Infographics are an excellent way to better present your bid, summarize what you are proposing and convince the reader that you are the right contractor.  

Author Jason Cooney (Dimitrios Tsakounis) is the Director of Tsaks Consulting and The Tender Team a specialist bid and tender writing consultancy helping energy and solar companies secure solar contracts in across the globe.

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