Solar Builder

JAN 2018

Solar Builder focuses on the installation/construction of solar PV systems. We cover the latest PV technology (modules, mounting, inverters, storage, BOS) and equip installers/contractors with tips and tools to make informed purchasing decisions.

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SOLARBUILDERMAG.COM | 25 4 soft cost reduction tips Schoder: "Utilizing online software programs like Helioscope and Energy Toolbase to drastically reduce the amount of time and effort that goes into a respectable customer proposal." Bailey: "Smaller installers like to use microinverters for [lowering soft costs]. In many cases they don't have the in-house expertise to properly design a string inverter system which can maximize production. Microinverters are flexible, and the installers can design in the field by adding modules as they see fit." Dufrenne: "Good operations management [from lead generation to final completion]. Use software, like ENACT." Kyler: "Installers should keep at least one administrator dedicated to han- dling all incoming and outgoing paperwork such as permits, SREC registra- tions and contracts. This would help reduce soft costs and avoid any confusion or dilemmas later on." For starters, it helps to have a mini-inventory of small accessories (L-feet, clamps, wire), but stocking extra parts for the rest of the system is always a good idea. "A common purchasing mistake I see installers make is purchas- ing just enough for their project instead of calculating for inevitable adjustments when they get on the roof," Kyler says. "Mostly when it comes to racking, I recommend keeping spare parts in each truck." Dufrenne laid it out like this: "Not ordering extra parts for rack- ing and attachments ends up costing much more than you'd think, once you have to roll another truck and pay for overnight shipping charges for parts that are usually less than $10." When it comes to the inverter (and we will get into this more on page 28) MLPE or string inverters could each offer a route to reduced truck rolls, if handled correctly. But for now, we just note what Kyler recommends: "Select products that allow remote updates or choose manufacturers that provide service programs." "Carry spare parts and get your system up and communicating with your gateway and online account before leaving the site," Bailey says. "Installers who use gateways can track performance as soon as the system lights up. They can coordinate with technical support and determine within a few minutes that all modules and inverters are performing to spec." Truck these rolls

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