Solar Builder

MAY-JUN 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.

Issue link: http://digital.solarbuildermag.com/i/979544

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SOLARBUILDERMAG.COM | 25 career leading the EPC supply chain team for First Solar. "Construction teams always lose hardware or lose track of some- thing, and the next thing you know 60 people are waiting around for a bolt to arrive. We've tried to address those types of issues." The assembly bracket ships as a slim component that unfolds and notches into the tilt bracket. This is secured by an OMCO- designed, preassembled clip that is hammered into place in four locations. Done. That all happens at ground-level with two workers. After placing a rubber pad over pre-installed threaded fasteners, the modules are slipped into preassembled clips and laid on top. The clips already have a bolt retained inside, and the table module rails already contain the threads for the clip, which means only one worker is needed to secure the panel, working from standing-level and never above the glass. Two clips are needed for completing the assembly of two modules. Further smoothing out any logistics kinks: OMCO has four manufacturing sites spread across the country — Phoenix; Wickliffe, Ohio; Talladega, Ala.; and Pierceton, Ind. — compress- ing freight times and keeping costs low for the entire system. Saving studies The company recently conducted assembly time trials of the new Field-Fast racking, and, with just two installers, here were the results for structural assembly (each set consisting of 10 panels and 300 Watts between two posts): Man hours per set ................................................ 0.304 Burdened labor rate ............................................. $40 Labor efficiency .................................................... 85% Cycle time per set ................................................ 465 seconds Sets per hour ........................................................ 7 Sets per shift ........................................................ 49 Labor cost per watt .............................................. $0.0041 Next comes the module installation for the same two installers on the same labor rate and efficiency: Man hours per set ................................................ 0.200 Cycle time per set ................................................ 306 seconds Modules per hour ................................................. 100 Watts per hour ...................................................... 30,000 Labor costs per watt ............................................ $0.0027 Module + BOS costs per watt .............................. $0.0068 Stacked against installation of conventional systems, the Field- Fast racking can reduce costs per watt from 35 to 50 percent. "With fewer parts and installation steps, we basically can cut the install time in half in some cases," Goodwin says. "On the mechan- ical BoS part of an install, which is the racking itself, we're able to show about 40 percent labor efficiency on a cost per watt, so our actual labor cost per watt for mechanical is about .4 cents per watt, and that's about 20 percent less than we're seeing in the market for racking. On the panel installation, those have taken labor costs down to .2 cents per watt." OMCO can also handle the purlins and turnkey construction services, but this isn't just another tale of faster turn times and reduced costs. Ordering factory-direct snips out other possibilities for delays, such as last second module changes. "We can adjust our roll-form program for any size framed mod- ule [including the new First Solar Series 6] for Field-Fast,"

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