Large PV Installs – Productivity is the kicker



Nothing new about the fact that productivity is key…

…, but why is everybody just talking about how fast a system can be installed and seemingly only looking at the manufacturer’s marketing flyer?

Productivity/installation speed, and therefore the price of a large PV install, is impacted by multiple factors including:



  • Actual Design – the “typical/best” marketing design is not necessarily the one you might see on your project, so numbers will change.
  • Project Organization – size of project, schedule, supply chain sub-optimized, number of sub-contractors, experience of the PM all add complexity and risk. Is there a plan B in place when critical functions fall short?
  • Project Features – type of project; tracker or fixed, height of system, Terrain/slope, location and access to logistical or technical support.
  • Management Practices:  Staying on time, supervision, coordination, documentation requirements, safety protocols …
  • Project Execution: length of workdays, synchronization/flow of tasks (trenches, fences, inverter pads), material delivery, etc.
  • Environment/Weather Impacts: Winter or summer, rain, snow, mud, lightning, snakes, animals…
  • Manpower: Hotels close by, experienced crew available, adequate & reliable temp labor pool…

The bottom line… the price for an install is driven by productivity.  Productivity is driven by internal and external factors – the internal factors an installer can control or account for – the external factors they have to estimate – the better the installer knows the client and their demonstrated ability to manage the overall project, the better they can estimate the impacts of those factors, and the lower the risk associated with these external circumstances.  This can enable a lower price.  The same holds true for the client. The better they know the installer, the fewer the unknowns,  Certainly the client’s risk goes down as well.

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