Many businesses wonder where to begin, and whether the return on investment is attractive enough to warrant looking into a solar panel system. Grant Arnold, Senior Project Engineer at Siggins’ main office in North Kansas City, explains Siggins' approach to the selection process: “Similar to the way our customers turn to us for expertise on distribution center design and implementation, we looked for an experienced firm to help us through the solar panel analysis, design and implementation process. Our contractor walked us through analyzing the last years’ worth of electrical bills to calculate the proper size system, and then we looked at how that number of panels would need to be employed. For our building, a flat installation worked out to be the most beneficial. Our contractor also helped us determine the best balance of power production and usage throughout the different seasons.”
According to the Siggins’ employees who were on the solar panel implementation team, the overall installation went smoothly. The installation crew worked with the company that originally installed the roof to avoid penetrations that would void the remaining warranty on the roof. And the entire installation was completed without much interruption to daily office or warehouse productivity. Even the weather cooperated.
While the installation went well, Siggins did encounter some issues with receiving credit for excess electricity produced by the panels and supplied back into the power grid. Grant Arnold indicated that while the private contractors met all their required milestones, the electrical utility provider was not as responsive. Grant Arnold said, “I think the utility did what they could to get us up and running within a reasonable amount of time, but after some weeks of operation it was discovered that the they neglected to install the proper new meters to be able to keep track of what we were providing back to the grid. I think that the idea of private parties supplying power back to the system for reuse, and being reimbursed to do so, is still a new enough idea that there is some unfamiliarity with the equipment specifics.”
Siggins is among the first in the city to move toward solar energy. Siggins IT personnel have demonstrated a control panel user interface for the system that allows Siggins to monitor power output and verify that excess energy production is accounted for.
Not only are the solar panels helping Siggins to reduce fixed costs and to become more “Green”, but the solar panels also allowed Siggins to receive compensation from both KCP&L and the federal government.