Utility Cost Management LLC


UCM lowers city utility costs with its bill audit service and is the leading rate analysis service in California.


Solar Bid Check

Solar Bid Check is a resource for solar vendors and their customers to verify the accuracy of financial projections in solar proposals.  Solar Bid Check provides an independent, objective analysis of the assumptions and calculations in solar proposals and will produce a Verification Report Stamp of Approval if the proposal meets reasonable industry standards.

Solar Bid Check’s method of analyzing solar vendors’ financial calculations was developed after UCM’s auditors identified costly miscalculations and discrepancies in solar proposals that were presented to UCM clients.   Solar Bid Check relies on the System Advisor Model (SAM) developed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to make its own independent calculations using data from solar vendors’ proposals.  When Solar Bid Check’s analysis is complete, the Verification Report is issued.  The report will either approve the First-Year and Long Term financial projections, or it will describe where each proposal fell short.


Solar Bid Check’s Stamp of Approval provides vendors and their customers the added assurance that the financial calculations in their proposals have been verified by an objective, independent third party.

Every Solar Bid Check Verification Report takes into account the following:

  • Forecasted solar generation, according to the U.S. Dept. of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory System Advisor Model.

  • Actual historical electricity consumption data during recent 12-month period.

  • The time of day that electricity is used and generated throughout the year.

  • Actual electricity rates currently in effect.

  • Reasonable estimates of demand reduction.

  • Reasonable application of various parameters used in financial modeling, such as electricity rate escalation, panel degradation, discount rate, and assumed maintenance costs.

  • Verify appropriate application of utility or government incentives.


About NREL

Solar Bid Check relies on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) System Advisory Model (SAM) to perform its independent calculations for Solar Bid Check clients.  NREL is a government-owned, contractor-operated facility located in Golden, Colorado.  NREL is funded through the United States Department of Energy, and receives funding from Congress to be applied toward research and development projects.  This arrangement allows a private entity to operate the lab on behalf of the federal government. 

NREL’s areas of research and development expertise are renewable electricity, energy productivity, systems integration, and sustainable transportation.  NREL also performs research on photovoltaics (PV) under the National Center for Photovoltaics. NREL has a number of PV research capabilities including research and development, testing, and deployment. NREL’s campus houses several facilities dedicated to PV research.



Q: How can Solar vendors and their customers be certain that Solar Bid Check’s calculations are true and accurate?

A: Solar Bid Check’s conclusions are mathematical and thus indisputable.  Solar Bid Check relies on numbers from solar vendor proposals, actual electricity consumption data from customer accounts, and actual electricity rates that are applicable to those accounts.  Each Solar Bid Check report will detail the calculations so vendors and their customers can see how the conclusions are true. 

Solar Bid Check uses the System Advisor Model (SAM) developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to perform its calculations.  Solar Bid Check believes NREL’s SAM model is the most accurate and credible model available.

Q: How is Solar Bid Check paid?

A: Solar vendors pay Solar Bid Check a fee for each proposal submitted. 

Q: What happens if a proposal does not pass Solar Bid Check’s standards?

A: If a proposal does not meet Solar Bid Check’s standards, Solar Bid Check will notify the solar vendor with a description of where the proposal fell short.  At that time, the vendor has the option of modifying its calculations in order to receive Solar Bid Check’s approval.

Q: How long does it take Solar Bid Check to issue a report?

A: Solar Bid Check will issue a report within one or two business days.

Q: What does Solar Bid Check need to check a bid?

A: All Solar Bid Check needs to perform an analysis is the solar vendor’s proposal, including information on the project size and other parameters, and the solar customer’s interval data.  If interval data is not available, Solar Bid Check can use 12 months of billing data.