A successful solar electric project often calls for more than just a quality solar product and a competent installer. Expertise in commercial real estate, finance, economics and the utility market, can also help smooth over rough edges and make a project more efficient and cost effective in the long run. For this reason, solar module manufacturer RWE Schott Solar (RSS) partnered up with the Southern California-based Permacity Corporation to help develop the photovoltaic (PV) market in the Los Angeles area, using Permacity’s expertise in those four areas.Rocklin, California – May 24, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] “With the company’s expertise in commercial real estate, it has an insider’s understanding of this market segment and can work to help building owners with tax incentives and capital expenditures relevant to their individual needs,” said Marc Roper, director of sales for RSS. “In addition, the company’s leadership has had a great deal of experience in the direct access power market, giving it a strong insight into utility billing practices and rate structures. Armed with this knowledge, Permacity has made purchasing a PV system affordable and an effective energy supply for its clientele.” In addition to Permacity’s experience with commercial real estate, finance, economics and the utility market, the company can also provide engineering services when needed. With its PV product source in place (through RSS), Permacity has quickly found success. In less than a year of selling PV energy solutions, the company has established its capabilities, from primary contractor to deal broker on PV installations ranging from smaller residential systems to larger 110 kW to 270 kW commercial systems. In what can sometimes be a confusing or difficult process to secure financing, or to create structurally or aesthetically pleasing designs, Permacity is quickly building its reputation in the business. For example, when its customer, Earth Island Natural Foods, was told its building’s roof would not support solar panels, Permacity researched the situation and engineered a 113 kW system, using the SunRoof FS Free-Standing system. The system not only meets the roof’s weight restrictions, it requires no roof penetrations. Permacity’s 113 kW solar project at Earth Island Natural Foods using RWE Schott Solar Modules. When its customer, Smithway Associates, was unable to secure financing for a 234 kW system flat roof system, Permacity developed a sophisticated financial model and used its own credit to secure 100 percent financing for the project (see photograph at the beginning of the article). The company provides the same level of service for its residential customers, engineering a foundation and 10 kW hillside installation when the customer felt uncomfortable with the look of the system on his home’s roof. Financial incentives vary according to system installations on commercial or residential buildings as well as with regard to the PV system’s size. Permacity takes these variables into account and, using its real estate, economics and utility company expertise, develops a financial package in advance to show customers where and how they will save money. Permacity charts out kilowatt-hours of energy production, installation pricing, rebates and available tax credits, culminating in a breakout of bottom line monthly costs and savings. Permacity Corp. also deals exclusively with RSS solar modules. “We see our PV sales from the long-term market perspective, placing a highest value on product reliability, efficiency and build,” said Jonathan Port, president and CEO of Permacity Corp. “We’ll lower our profit margin rather than take a chance on lesser equipment and implementation. We make it back in fewer service calls and truck rolls and, most importantly, more sales.