Brining transparency and visibility to rooftop solar power projects

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In recent years, the drop in costs of solar PV panel installation has caused a boom in the number of rooftop solar installations. Many construction contractors have moved to rooftop solar installation business as a result. Many new businesses have also come up to specialize in rooftop solar power systems.

Seemingly in a new category, rooftop solar installation businesses are essentially still a contracting business – similar to construction.

A rooftop solar contractor is responsible for design, procurement and installation of solar PV system. So the scope of work is similar to an EPC project, only smaller in scale.

Difficulties in monitoring rooftop solar projects

Being similar to construction / EPC projects, rooftop solar projects also face some of the same challenges and some challenges are unique to rooftop solar projects.

Multiple scattered projects

This is a specific problem for rooftop solar project managers. Rooftop solar projects are usually quite small in terms of overall scope and budget.

So usually you will find a rooftop solar EPC contractor working on multiple projects at a time. All these projects are on rooftop of houses distant from each other.

A rooftop solar project manager has to simultaneously monitor all these projects on different sites.

Scattered Team

Just as the projects are scattered, so is the team.

Installation teams are working on multiple scattered sites, project manager has to coordinate between them and the office.

Design engineer and buyer in the office have to coordinate with different material vendors.

It’s a challenge to get everyone in the same room and understand project status completely and accurately.

Moreover they are working on different electronic devices and tools. For example – site engineers have access to mobile devices (phones and tabs), design engineers spend all their time on PCs.

Multiple Stakeholders

A variety of stakeholders get involved in rooftop solar project – project manager, design engineers, buyers, installation engineers / supervisor.

Overall project progress is directly determined by the status of their work. But all of them are working separately, on separate systems.

So how can a project manager track the work being done by so many stakeholders?

Disconnected tools used for work

The problem of scattered job sites and project team is compounded by the disconnected project tools that they rely on.

For example – A buyer tracks all material and cost details in a spreadsheet; design engineer maintains all his drawings & reports in a shared drive; project manager and site engineer can only use emails and messages on their mobile phones for coordination.

So emails, spreadsheets, shared drives, mobile phones etc. are the most popular digital tools used in any rooftop solar project.

But the problem with these tools is they are not directly connected to each other.

Eventually, the project manager has to go through all these spreadsheets and emails to connect the dots, and then update the same in project schedule.

But all the manual data transfer is much time consuming and doesn’t get done very frequently.

Lack of connectivity has created blind spots

So it’s safe to say that most rooftop solar projects are disconnected in three crucial aspects –

  • Disconnected job sites
  • Disconnected team members
  • Disconnected tools

This lack of connectivity has created blind spots for the project manager.

Any potential delays or cost escalations can easily hide in these blind spots. These problems remain hidden only as long as they are too small to be noticed.

But when they are noticed, they have already grown in size and caused some damage.

Does that sound familiar?

Getting rid of the blind spots

The only way to remove these blind spots is by connecting all important elements of your project on one single platform.

Connecting the team

Geographically separate teams can be connected using a technology platform that can work across different devices – PCs, mobile phones and web browsers.

Connecting stakeholders

Different team members of a project need to connect on a single online platform. A cloud server is the best suited solution for this.

Connecting the tools

Many project managers have asked their team to migrate their work to some online project management software.

But that approach almost always faces resistance from the rest of the team. The reason being, they don’t want to move away from tools that they have used and loved for long – emails, spreadsheets and shared document folders.

Rather, the project management software should come to these tools and connect with them.

Integrating these regularly used tools with the project schedule will mean effortless and frictionless tracking of actual work done by the project team.

WorkPack for construction project tracking

In a nutshell, your project control can be drastically improved by connecting all of the following on a single platform –

  • Mobile devices
  • Cloud server
  • Emails
  • Spreadsheets
  • Document folders
  • Project schedule

If you are wondering how to go about this integration, rest assured. We have got you covered.

WorkPack is a project and document management platform that comes with a seamless integration of all your favorite tools.

WorkPack has already helped many rooftop solar project managers.

Can your team benefit as well? Find out by setting up a free trial account for your team.

Let us know if you need any help or if you would like a consulting call to learn how it all works.

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