Solar Builder

MAR-APR 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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44 M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 8 "We saw others using installation meth- ods that were slow and inefficient," Bessette commented. "There were also many other integrators that didn't invest in their installa- tion equipment and completely relied on rental equipment for every project, which can cause project delays in a specialized field like ours." Growth investment After getting a few years under their belts, J&B Solar Electric made the investment that would take them from just another startup in the solar industry to a top solar installation subcontractor. "To be considered for the large-scale util- ity projects that we wanted to work on, we needed to own the equipment," Bessette explained. "We researched what equipment was available for pile driving, and deter- mined that the Vermeer PD10 pile driver was the right choice for us. It's efficient, highly productive and flexible — all the qualities you want in a machine. Vermeer also has a responsive dealer network, no matter where we are working, which can sometimes be some pretty isolated areas." J&B Solar and Electric purchased its first Vermeer PD10 pile driver in January of 2016, and since have added four more to its fleet. Bessette credits that fleet expansion to cus- tomers recognizing how efficient and quickly J&B Solar and Electric's crews work. "Even when working with a variety of soil types or racking systems, there are attachments for the PD10, like different guides for pile sizes as well as an extraction system, that helps us finish projects faster than other pile-driving methods used in the industry," he added. "If we need some- thing for the PD10, it's a phone call away. Vermeer has been a great partner for our small, but growing business." Scaling up Running multiple crews now, J&B Solar and Electric still primarily works in the Southeast but has also been asked to work on solar projects throughout the country, including New Mexico, Texas and Montana. "Long-term success in the solar business means being able to quickly go where the work is," Bessette commented. "Originally, North Carolina was where the action was, but now we're doing a lot of work in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. The people developing these solar farms want to get the work done right away so they can take advantage of federal and state tax incentives. To do that, we need to be responsive and ready to get to work when they are ready." The design of the Vermeer PD10 pile driver is a major benefit when J&B Solar and Electric must travel long distances for a project. "So much of the other pile-driv- ing equipment we looked at required each machine to be trailered separately," Bessette explained. "We can fit multiple PD10 units on a single trailer, which helps reduce our expenses and gets us started on projects faster than our competition." Future growth Currently, J&B Solar and Electric has crews working in Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi assem- bling solar farms up to 25 MW in size. Their crews are responsible for surveying sites, unloading trucks, checking inventory, driving piles, installing racking systems and mount- ing modules. J&B Solar and Electric has also recently expanded its services into performing electrical work. Bessette said the reason for the company's recent expansion is to be a better resource for their customers. "The more we can do on a project, the easier it is for our customers," he said. "We've established a great track record on the mechanical side of the business and adding electrical work is the natural next step." J&B Solar and Electric established its solid track record on decades of experience and establishing processes that make its crews fast and efficient on projects so they can deliver on time. Kayla Breja is a marketing specialist – utility, for Vermeer Corp. Bessett says he can fit multiple Vermeer PD10 units on a single trailer, which reduces expenses and gets projects started quickly.

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