A new U.S. census report has forecast stable employment in the utility-scale solar sector in 2017 but cost-saving plant designs, technologies and cooperatives are set to impact labor distribution in the coming years.
Grid operators are trialing the latest tracker, inverter and energy storage technologies to create higher-efficiency PV grid integration strategies across the vast eastern power network, industry experts said.
U.S. commercial rooftop PV developers must transfer technology and design learnings from utility-scale projects and optimize sales and marketing fees to cut the soft cost premium on distributed grid projects, industry experts said.
Operators in the growing U.S. residential solar market must use the latest infrared scanning and plant modeling technology to reduce truck rolls and increase the return on maintenance activities, Mike Moone, Director, Energy Assurance at SunPower, said.
A model to calculate the financial impact of operations & maintenance (O&M) practices, standardization of contracts, and a pay-as-you-go app to hire local contractors are on the cards for the U.S. solar industry.
Innovations in plant design, component improvements and the clustering of maintenance services are pushing O&M costs close to $8,000/MW/yr, the cost the National Renewable Energy Laboratory forecast for 2020, industry experts told PV Insider.
A new U.S. member-owned cooperative is to build a pool of certified staff and equipment from across the country to drive down operations and maintenance (O&M) costs and minimize full life-cycle risks for new plants, Stephen Irvin, CEO of project leader Amicus Solar, told PV Insider.