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9 Renewable Energy Installation Practices to Boost Solar and Wind Service Operations

Published:
June 3, 2024

Table of Contents

Renewable energy installations involve complex projects that span residential, commercial, and utility-scale sites. Technicians often work in remote areas where they face poor network connectivity, challenging routes, and a lack of nearby parts. Coordinating your fleet for these tasks is no small feat. It requires careful scheduling of the right team, equipping them with the necessary tools, optimizing routes for time and fuel efficiency, and providing continuous monitoring to tackle any issues. Seamless communication with both customers and the back-office team is vital.

Field service management (FSM) software can simplify these challenges with its automation and flexibility. FSM software enhances productivity and efficiency, making it easier for your team to manage renewable energy projects. In this article, we explore the essential features of FSM software that can be particularly advantageous for renewable energy installers, helping you decide if FSM software is the solution you need.

Easily capture data offline using Mobile FSM app

Think about it: surveying and inspection are the first steps in the process when installing wind and solar solutions. These early steps take technicians to a prospective site where they measure and record data, which they report to the back-office team. The office staff, in turn, records this information in a CRM for the benefit of the sales team. With a mobile FSM application, however, the process can be simplified. Technicians can capture data on their mobile devices and directly record a variety of information, including roof measurements, shade analysis, wind speed, and direction, or just good old-fashioned photos.

But here is an interesting factor! Solar and wind farms are located far away from the buzzing world. Wind farms will be located near the shores, while large tracts of open land will be home to solar farms. Finding a proper network connection is a tenuous prospect in this uninhabited area. Zuper understood this problem when designing their mobile application and made sure to include offline functionality. The mobile FSM app designed by Zuper allows you to capture data offline, and then sync back what you have recorded once a network connection is in range—making your site inspections that much easier.

The offline functionality provided by Zuper’s mobile app represents a significant boon to renewable energy installers. Imagine your customer is asking for specific details about your product. Your technician wants to look at sales materials like brochures and presentations to give an accurate and elaborate answer. This is possible even in areas without an Internet connection, with our offline functionality, the relevant marketing materials can be downloaded in advance in preparation for just such a scenario.

Schedule and dispatch qualified technicians during unpredictable times

Continuing from the automation of workflow, a significant step in renewable energy installers is scheduling and dispatching of technicians. Unlike traditional power plants with predictable output, solar and wind farms are highly dependent on variable weather conditions. Given these unpredictable tasks, it is no wonder you have trouble with schedule and dispatch. Field service management (FSM) software offers a seamless solution to this challenge. It empowers you to schedule work orders, set recurring tasks as needed, and dispatch technicians with the right skills and tools for the job. Real-time monitoring and geofencing features further enhance efficiency, enabling you to dispatch the nearest available technician promptly.

Consider a scenario where a sudden windstorm damages a turbine in a remote wind farm. Restoring the turbine’s functionality becomes an urgent priority, leaving no room for lengthy back-and-forth communication to find a qualified technician. With scheduling and dispatching software, you can swiftly identify the closest qualified technician and assign them the task, ensuring prompt service and minimal downtime.

Continuing from the automation of workflow, the significant step in the renewable energy installers is scheduling and dispatching of technicians.

Send customized proposals in a minute

Let’s talk about the Proposals feature. Creating Proposals is a huge headache for renewable energy sectors because of the complex project details involved. Details like financial projections, system design, and pricing details. The Proposal feature in Zuper’s field service management software helps renewable energy sectors with ready-to-use templates that are pre-populated with specifics to solar and wind installations such as equipment, service options, and pricing structures. This reduces the time to create proposals and ensures consistency across different projects.

 

These proposals can be customized to include project-specific details like system size, site characteristics, and financing options. Technicians can leverage data captured during site visits—through the mobile app integration—to populate these details directly into the proposal. Based on the pre-defined pricing rules and project parameters, you can automatically calculate costs.

Simply complicated workflow using the Service tasks feature

Service tasks are another important feature of renewable energy installers. You might ask how? Solar and wind installations involve multiple phases, from permitting and equipment procurement to construction and commissioning. Definitely not a simple task! The service tasks feature in FSM allows for breaking down these complex projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. Real-time insights into project progress allow managers to track completion rates, identify potential delays, and adjust schedules accordingly. This way, you can plan and schedule your work more efficiently.

 

What else? Projects provide a central platform for all related communication. Technicians, inspectors, and project managers can share updates, documents, and photos within the system, fostering transparency and collaboration. Another interesting feature of Service tasks is dependency management. Using it, you can ensure tasks are completed in the correct order. For example, electrical wiring can’t be installed until the solar panels are mounted, while certain tasks can be completed parallel. You can set which tasks need to be done sequentially and parallely saving time and increasing productivity. This standardized procedure improves consistency and quality.

Manage a high volume of work orders by automating workflows

Investing in a field service management software solution offers more than just streamlined operations—it revolutionizes the way renewable energy installation services are managed. With hundreds of panels and wind turbines to oversee, manual processing is simply unfeasible. That’s where automation steps in as a game-changer. By automating your workflow and workforce management, you can efficiently handle the high volume of work orders that come with installations, maintenance, and repairs spanning vast geographical areas. From scheduling and dispatching to maintenance and reporting, an FSM platform can seamlessly automate field operations, freeing you from the burdens of manual tasks and ensuring optimal efficiency across the board.

Generate custom reports and monitor the health of the installations

The reporting feature of a field service management (FSM) platform can be incredibly beneficial for renewable energy installers. As mentioned earlier, using a mobile FSM app streamlines offline data capture. Technicians can easily jot down equipment performance, issues, and resolutions on the spot. These data can then be used to generate reports that provide a comprehensive overview of the entire farm’s health. Reports are instrumental in efficiently managing the system, identifying faults early, and maximizing overall efficiency. For instance, reports can reveal if solar panels are underperforming, prompting further investigation. This investigation might uncover issues like dirty accumulation, which can be resolved through simple solutions like solar panel cleaning. FSM apps, such as Zuper, allow you to create custom reports tailored to your specific needs. With FSM reporting, ensuring the long-term health and efficiency of your renewable energy farm is made simple.

Plan your routes to complete more installations in a day

Inefficient routes can be a massive headache for any fleet manager. Valuable time is wasted due to excessive travel distances, and the constant planning and replanning further disrupt technician schedules. This domino effect leads to frustrated customers waiting extended periods and missed opportunities to complete more jobs in a day. Zuper’s location intelligence tackles this problem head-on by offering intelligent route planning. By giving you the option to prioritize either the fastest travel time or the shortest distance, Zuper FSM ensures your technicians spend less time on the road and more time completing tasks. The software also boasts real-time traffic updates and construction zone alerts, allowing for dynamic rerouting and optimized schedules throughout the day. This translates to a smoother operation for your fleet, reduced fuel consumption, and happier customers who receive accurate arrival windows. With Zuper FSM, fleet management becomes effortless, empowering you to maximize productivity and customer satisfaction.

Prevent installation delays with inventory management

When you are working as a renewable energy installer, managing your field service operations efficiently is essential. Inventory management plays a significant role in ensuring your projects run smoothly, especially when unexpected issues like crane malfunctions arise. Imagine you’re in the midst of installing a wind turbine, and suddenly the crane breaks down due to a lack of replacement parts. This unexpected downtime can be costly and delay your project. However, with proper inventory management systems in place, you can avoid such situations.

By using inventory management software designed for the energy sector, you can keep track of your stock levels and automatically reorder essential items when they’re running low. This proactive approach allows you to quickly identify shortages and replenish your inventory, ensuring that you have the necessary parts on hand to resume your installations promptly. By effectively managing your inventory, you can minimize downtime, improve operational efficiency, and ensure timely project completion, ultimately leading to greater customer satisfaction. So, for renewable energy installers like yourself, optimizing inventory management is crucial for success in the field.

Extend the lifespan of installations with asset management tools

As you embark on each renewable energy project, you realize that asset management is not just about maximizing energy production; it is about ensuring success at every step of the project’s lifecycle. In the pre-installation phase, you diligently collect standardized data, knowing that it will streamline future maintenance and simplify warranty claims. Your risk management tools help you identify and mitigate potential construction issues, ensuring a smoother installation process.

During operation, your remote monitoring system becomes your eyes and ears, allowing you to quickly troubleshoot and minimize downtime. Predictive maintenance, guided by data analysis, helps you extend the lifespan of your equipment and avoid costly repairs. With inventory management integrated into your system, you always have the right parts on hand, saving you time and money.

But asset management goes beyond just keeping your systems running smoothly; it’s also about building trust with your clients. Automated reports on performance and maintenance keep your clients informed and demonstrate your commitment to excellence. This level of transparency not only reduces costs for both you and your clients but also fosters stronger relationships through data-driven decision-making and improved communication.

Make every installation a success story

Ready to revolutionize your renewable energy installations? Embrace the power of field service management to streamline operations, enhance customer satisfaction, and drive sustainable growth. With Zuper’s FSM solutions tailored for the renewable energy sector, you can unlock new levels of efficiency and innovation. Take the next step (book your slot for a free demo) towards a brighter, greener future—empower your team, delight your clients, and make every installation a success story.

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Author

Jenefa Sweetlyn
Jenefa Sweetlyn
Jenefa Sweetlyn excels at writing straight-to-the-point, informative blogs that respect your valuable time. Her enthusiasm lies in empowering businesses with technology, especially intrigued by how field service management solutions can improve a company's return on investment.

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