Improving Operational Efficiency in Solar Installations

Apr 06, 2015

Improving Operational Efficiency in Solar Installations

As a nonprofit organization, GRID Alternatives measures results differently than other solar installation companies. Goals are defined in terms of savings for low-income families and job training opportunities, rather than strictly how much solar gets installed. But improvements in operational efficiency have the same bottom-line impact on GRID as any of its peers.

Enphase sat down with GRID in October 2014 during an Enphase-sponsored discussion of industry best practices at Solar Power International (SPI) in Las Vegas.

“We’ve got over 4,700 systems out in the field now,” GRID co-founder, CFO and COO Tim Sears said during the discussion. “We provide a full 10-year warranty, similar to most of the people in the industry. Anytime we can reduce the number of service calls we get and then be able to respond to some of those calls remotely from our desk, rather than having to send a truck out there, that saves dollars that we can put into helping more families go solar.”

In recent years, GRID has improved operational efficiency by using Enphase Microinverters in more of its projects, saving time on system design, simplifying code compliance and simplifying the installation process for volunteers.

U.S. installers have plenty of opportunities to reduce labor costs, as Rocky Mountain Institute and Georgia Tech Research Institute showed in recent studies comparing solar installation efficiency in the U.S. with Germany and Australia.

At SPI, Enphase announced an array of tools and technologies that improve installer efficiency. With the Enphase Frame Mount and Connector Clip the microinverter and cabling can be quickly mounted and attached to a module’s frame. The Installer Toolkit helps jumpstart system activation in the Enlighten monitoring system and quickly confirms microinverter communications and power production.

The Envoy S can be installed outdoors. It has revenue-grade metering and cellular communications, and it integrates with home automation solutions. Enphase Energy Services offers proactive operations and maintenance for residential and commercial fleets with a 98.5 percent uptime guarantee.

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