Create a technical report on the cost-effectiveness of adopting solar energy


In this project, you will demonstrate your mastery of the following competency:

  • Solve practical problems using basic mathematical calculations


You work for OneEarth, an environmental consulting company that specializes in building condition assessments, contaminated site remediation, and energy audits. Founded by an environmentally concerned citizen in 2010, OneEarth has emerged as the highest-quality and most comprehensive environmental services company in the region.

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), a private nonprofit university located in Manchester, New Hampshire, in the United States, is dedicated to reducing its carbon footprint. SNHU has approached OneEarth for its assistance and expertise in achieving this goal. Knowing of your desires to diversify your experience and professional portfolio, your manager, Claire DeAir, has consented for you to join the team working with SNHU. You’re responsible for creating a technical report based on an analysis of the data the onsite team has collected over the last few weeks to determine the cost-effectiveness of SNHU adopting solar energy.


You’ve been asked to recommend whether or not SNHU should install solar energy panels on one of its buildings in Manchester, New Hampshire, to reduce the university’s carbon footprint. Using the data in the SNHU Site Data document in the Supporting Materials section, you will conduct a series of calculations. With those calculations, you will create a technical report for SNHU that explains whether the university should invest in solar energy by purchasing the system or by leasing. Your technical report should include the following calculations and determinations:

  • A calculation of the total electricity output of a solar panel system in kilowatts hours (kWh)Use the following steps as a guide to making this calculation:
  • A calculation of the difference between the current electricity usage of the building and the electricity generated by a solar panel system in kilowatt hours and in dollarsUse the following steps as a guide to making this calculation:
  • A determination of the likelihood of receiving a damaged panelSNHU expressed some concerns about receiving damaged solar panels from the manufacturer. You would like to be transparent and address these concerns by illustrating the likelihood of a damaged panel based on the size of the system SNHU would be purchasing.

The manufacturer has reported that since solar panels are complex and evolving technology, 1 out of every 1,000 manufactured solar panels is defective.

  • A determination of how long it would take to pay back the cost of buying the system in yearsUse the following steps as a guide to making this calculation—you can assume there will not be any required maintenance during the first 10 years:
  • A determination of whether there is a cost savings over 10 years for leasing the solar panel systemUse the following steps as a guide to making this calculation:
  • A recommendation for whether SNHU should install solar energy panels on its buildings based on your calculations
  • An explanation of whether SNHU should invest in a solar energy system by purchasing it upfront or by leasing it (Base your response on your calculations.)

What to Submit

Every project has a deliverable or deliverables, which are the files that must be submitted before your project can be assessed. For this project, you must submit the following:

Technical Report (1,000–1,500 words)Using the data provided in the SNHU Site Data document in the Supporting Materials section, you will conduct a series of calculations. Your computations will inform your recommendations. First, you will determine whether or not SNHU should adopt solar panels. Then, you will explain whether or not SNHU should purchase or lease a solar panel system. Specifically, you will reference and incorporate the energy output of a solar panel system, the difference between current usage and the energy generated by the system, the likelihood of a damaged panel, the costs to pay for the system, and any savings for leasing a panel. Your proposition should be informed and supported by your calculations. You can include visual and graphical elements in your report to illustrate your propositions.


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