Solvida: Forerunners in Utility Solar Project Design and Engineering
Stephen Smith, Co-Founder
Advancements in solar generation and energy storage technologies, as well as the improvements in the methods to design and construct utility PV power plants, have the price of solar in steady decline. This is spurring solar installation activity, even in markets with marginal solar resources, and solar power plant owners and developers across the country are seeking reliable partners to design and construct increasingly larger and more complex solar power plants. One firm deeply involved in solar’s transition from cottage industry to mainstream energy source is Solvida Design+Engineering, Inc. (SD+E). SD+E has emerged as a thought leader in a rapidly changing field, and has designed more than 3GW of operational solar projects across 30 states in the past 5 years.
Stephen Smith, co-founder of SD+E, has worked in the solar industry since 1997 and is intimately involved in the ongoing optimizations that have contributed to solar’s prominence. He founded Solvida Energy Group (SEG) as a small consultancy in 2009. In response to a lack of experienced solar engineering sources, Smith and co-founder Erika Kemp spun a new firm, Solvida Design+ Engineering, Inc., out of SEG in 2014. Says Kemp, “We saw a gap in the engineering services being offered to our clients by larger, non-renewable energy focused firms.” An industry as dynamic as solar energy requires service offerings that are responsive, flexible and innovative. SD+E’s understanding of the challenges this industry faces as it aims to commercialize an emerging technology is a primary asset we leverage on behalf of our clients.”
SD+E provides a portfolio of customized services that span from concept through construction. Early-stage project development services include performance modeling, technology reviews, and proprietary software modeling for deep dives into ideal technology combinations, performance and risk analysis. SD+E’s proprietary levelized cost of energy (LCOE) forecast modeling allows developers to analyze technology and project cost options before selecting a particular technology or solar project configuration. Combining these services with the company’s project design optimization and site services provides clients with actionable insights, accurate energy production numbers, and a streamlined due diligence process.
During the pre-construction period, SD+E offers a one-stop shop for all the engineering needed to construct a large solar power plant. The company provides low-and medium-voltage electrical engineering, civil engineering, structural engineering, and construction design drawing packages for seamless construction and operation of projects.
Erika Kemp, Co-Founder
These design services reduce capital cost and increase system energy output, while ensuring compliance with environmental permits, geotechnical and corrosion reports of sites, and much more.
SD+E has emerged as a thought leader in a rapidly changing field and has designed more than 3GW of operational solar projects across 30 states
SD+E delivers unparalleled customer service and is fully committed to facilitating hassle-free project development and smooth operations. “More than 80 percent of our clients are return business, which is a testament to our dedicated services and customer-first strategy,” remarks Smith. He shared a customer success story of a Maryland-based solar project developer that met with a stalemate in its project. The developers hired a civil engineering firm unfamiliar with solar tracking systems, resulting in foundation designs twice more expensive than budgeted. SD+E stepped in to reassess the situation, utilizing wind tunnel data to review the structural foundation. Ultimately, SD+E was able to slash almost 50 percent of the foundation expenses, which guided the development back on track and to a successful completion.
Since its inception, SD+E has been an industry leader in offering high-value design engineering and guidance to clients in the solar project development, design and construction space. The company remains on the forefront of emerging technologies, analyzing for real-world efficacy and ensuring bankability. SD+E is currently working on the evolution of intermittent energy technologies into consistent base load power plants that utilize energy storage to provide a continuous supply of energy. “It’s a very expansive time in solar energy, with the advent of cost-effective battery storage and the explosion of module technologies into the marketplace,” said Smith. “SD+E’s technical design services and decades of on-the-ground experience allow us to lead our clients to custom solutions for optimal performance.”
Management Stephen Smith, Co-Founder and Erika Kemp, Co-Founder
Description SD+E is a California-based solar design, performance modeling and engineering services company that helps from concept through construction of solar projects, ensuring profitability, minimized risk, and optimized project development. Early-stage project development services include performance modeling, technology reviews, and proprietary software modeling for deep dives into ideal technology combinations, performance and risk analysis. Besides, during the pre-construction period, SD+E offers a one-stop shop for all the engineering needed to construct a large solar power plant. SD+E also delivers exquisite customer service and is fully committed to facilitating hassle-free solar project development and smooth operations
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