Creating an off-grid solar design project can be a daunting proposition even without the pressure of a quickly approaching deadline. It can be tempting to cut corners to save time or money when the project becomes challenging. Using the right project management principles and design tips, however, can keep you on schedule without sacrificing quality.
Understand effective resource management.
Streamline Your Off Grid Solar Design Workflow: Develop an Efficiency Model for Managing Your Project
Develop good project management “hygiene”.
When it comes to finishing your project on (or ahead of) schedule it is important to remember that fast completion is not about speed, but rather efficiency. The difference? When you are efficient you are purposefully completing tasks according to a realistic schedule. A reasonable schedule is created from a well-informed estimate of the time required to finish your project without sacrificing the quality of the finished product to meet your deadline. Speeding through a project inevitably means that human error may derail your efforts to achieve the level of quality that you are after in a finished project.
Here are some tips drawn from pro project management principles to help you keep your solar design project on-track.
Practice basic project management “hygiene”. Stay on schedule by using a robust project management suite to keep task lists, calendars, and related digital documents accessible from a single dashboard. Some cloud-based open source project management suites offer numerous add-ons from the “free” tier and allow you to collaborate with a team on simple tasks.
Look at Your Off Grid Solar Design Project as an Ecosystem, Not a Job
While your project depends heavily on how well (and quickly) you complete critical tasks, it is also important to remember that your project can implode because of a missing “link” in your workflow. If you didn’t have time to research the quality of prospective materials before planning your design, you may be facing a do-over when you realize that energy efficiency is not what you had hoped. Each component of the design process is connected to another aspect of your project goals, and this will impact the overall efficiency and outcome of your efforts. Be mindful of how critical project quality control tasks impact your ability to finish on schedule.
Use project management principles to focus on fast project completion.
Some key project management issues include:
- Resource inventory management. Know the companies behind your materials. Look for a solid brand reputation and an ironclad, long-term warranty that will protect your investment.
- Cross-referencing pricing. Always comparison-shop when purchasing solar panels, but look for quality before the lowest-price points when budgeting your solar design project. Poor materials will cost, rather than save you money in the long run.
- Schedule monitoring. Build expert-level time-management skills by keeping tabs on your daily progress with time-tracker tools that keep you from getting lost in side-projects or distractions.
Want Quality and Speed? 3 Quick Tips for Finishing Your Project On Time The Right Way
1. Be sure to properly calculate loads.
Are you calculating loads correctly? Here’s how to tell.
Look at your monthly power bill. Determine your yearly expenses and adjust for seasonal differences. While it is important to accommodate for increased use according to season, do not forget to account for unexpectedly higher energy requirements, such as an unusually hot summer or winters that may drive up potential costs over time. Include those possible unforeseen overages into your load calculations. Also take into account your future plans for any lifestyle changes or family additions—adding an extra room or a new family member will increase the amount of energy you will need down the road. Your off-grid solar design should meet the energy demands of your present and your future lifestyle.
Improperly calculated load requirements mean updates to designs and schedule overruns.
Use these handy tools from the US Department of Energy to accurately calculate load requirements by address.
2. Know the importance of oversizing.
Take a critical look at your site plan. You will not get the same amount of sunlight each year and it is wise to assume that rates will vary wildly. It is important to not only think about the changes in your energy demands in the next five or ten years, but also to develop a smart plan to adjust for variable sunlight season-to-season and year-to-year. Look for maximum output when choosing your solar panels. Choose a product that offers superior shading performance by limiting inactive areas on the panel. Sole’s uses advanced circuitry to optimize panel space for energy creation, generating 20% more energy per square meter than traditional solar panels.
3. Start with premium solar products to ensure that quality issues do not slow project completion.
Even during the build process, poorly designed products can cost you money and time in repairs. It is essential to use solar panels that eliminate common failure points in panels in addition to providing superior performance.
Built Fast or Built to Last? Can You Really Have Both?
Solerus is a trusted solar energy innovator, empowering contractors to develop agile solutions for commercial and residential clients. We provide a range of best-in-class solar products including one of the highest performing residential solar panels on the market. Solerus’ solar panels are backed by an industry-leading 25-year warranty, designed to provide you unparalleled peace of mind.
To learn more about off grid solar design, feel free to contact us!
Solerus Energy provides solar contractors with helpful information to help them save time and money on high-quality equipment and services.