By Adam Bernardi, Burns McDonnell (weblog used with permission)
As expansive photo voltaic and vitality storage initiatives unfold throughout the globe, so does the widespread false impression that executing these initiatives is easy. Construction for a photo voltaic area might seem much less cumbersome than for a combined-cycle energy plant, however that doesn’t imply costly and probably detrimental points couldn’t come up. The assembly-line nature of putting in hundreds of photovoltaic (PV) panels or batteries on a website implies that one mistake might be repeated again and again.
To scale back unintended penalties in photo voltaic and storage installations, house owners ought to take into account the advantages of working with an built-in engineer-procure-construct (EPC) agency.
Exploring an Integrated EPC Approach
While EPC is a typical supply methodology for photo voltaic and storage initiatives, an skilled and educated crew that’s totally built-in and underneath one roof is uncommon. Often a single set up challenge entails 5 or extra separate subcontractors to execute PV engineering, battery vitality storage system (BESS) and balance-of-plant (BOP) engineering, BESS integration, high-voltage engineering, and overarching building.
In distinction, an built-in EPC agency has all companies required to ship the specified energy or vitality capability on time and inside finances. With entry to allowing specialists, a multidisciplinary engineering crew and building sources — already working collectively, skilled as an efficient unit — house owners can achieve intensive advantages from having just one contract, one built-in execution crew and a single direct contact. This full-service, in-house crew method permits continuous and seamless collaboration throughout all crucial specialties targeted on the only real finish objective: a secure and profitable challenge.
Before the design is finalized, for instance, built-in environmental specialists can determine any website constraints, equivalent to wetland areas or underground piping, as properly the native allowing guidelines and rules. High-voltage engineers can weigh in on interconnection and substation necessities, and thermal administration specialists can present worthwhile perception on vitality storage system cooling necessities, all to offer the proprietor with correct data on challenge challenges, versus passing that from subcontractor to subcontractor.
Having all personnel concerned and obtainable from day one additionally helps the challenge progress easily. Engineers who work intently on-site with building personnel higher perceive the execution course of, and due to this fact can present a construction-led design that encompasses implementation sequencing. This is a necessary mindset for the design of photo voltaic and storage initiatives due to their extremely repetitive set up course of. A construction-minded design can plan for website nuances, equivalent to the place to incorporate civil options like non permanent retention basins and non permanent laydown areas, in addition to the correct order of building — enhancing challenge efficiencies and lowering the necessity to return to the drafting board if points come up.
This shut collaboration amongst building, engineering and all different crew members not solely helps to see that the design is correct, holistic and applied accurately, but additionally helps the crew to pivot rapidly and safely all through the challenge. If a problem have been to come up, the complete crew could be obtainable and ready to find out a immediate, secure and cost-effective alternate resolution.
Additionally, built-in EPC companies are incentivized to make the general challenge profitable, not only one half. EPC challenge groups composed of a number of subcontractors and subconsultants can create a state of affairs by which particular person contractors are targeted solely on their piece to maximise returns for his or her firm. Integrated companies don’t succeed until and till the general challenge succeeds.