With the US Federal initiative to have utility companies serve over 30 percent of their customers with wind or solar energy by 2030, large and small developers are taking an active interest in developing solar fields. Not only is the manufacturing of solar panels less expensive than previous years, but with the downturn in other industries, there are a bevy of contractors available to meet construction needs.
Rather than sit on the sidelines and watch these opportunities pass you by, here are five great ways to bring your company out from behind the clouds to the forefront of solar energy construction.
Understand the state and federal requirements. Depending how your company services the renewable energy industry may require you to have special licensing like North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certification or state-specific permits.
As in most industries, it’s not only what you do, but who you know. Identify some of the solar utility developers in your area and where you would fit in the installation process. Depending on where the field is built, a developer will need excavators, land management, electricians, solar manufacturers, trenchers, trucking and hauling and safety inspectors. Once you have identified your niche, get yourself in front of the business managers and let them know your capabilities. Building your network of contacts will ensure business success.
Understand the bidding process. Some developers allow you to submit a bid online and others prefer it dropped by the office. Be prepared to offer a counter when requested and always put it in writing.
Flexibility is key! Once you’ve won the bid it’s important to have enough staff to perform the required work in the time frame outlined. Even if you have enough staff, remember that weather and material shortages can cause delays. The average utility solar field can be up and running in as little as 30 days or as long as two years.
Stay up-to-date on solar industry trends by continuing your education and attending local and national conferences. Not only will this expand your contact base, but it will put you face-to-face with the developers in your area, keep you current on trends and allow you to grow with the industry.
The United States has already surpassed 1 million solar systems installed. It took 40 years to get there, but with increasing demand and green energy efforts it’s expected to reach 2 million systems installed in 2018.
Let’s take a moment to not only look, but step out into the light.
Author: Angelique C.