In addition to the hardware needed for a solar PV installation, such as the modules and balance of system components, non-hardware factors also play a big role. Otherwise known as soft costs, these factors account for crucial aspects of a solar installation, such as
- installation labor,
- permit approval
- and grid interconnection.
A new solar system’s total price tag mainly comes from soft costs.
While the PV modules and components come at a set price, soft costs for solar PV installations can increase over time under poor project management.
Information gaps, preventing decision making and job completion, are often some of the biggest drivers of soft costs for solar PV projects.
Thankfully, though, solar soft costs have declined 40 percent overall across the industry between 2008 and 2016 in some markets.
During this time period, the industry has leveraged-
- improved foundational research,
- data and analysis to create new methods and approaches to inform solar installation activities.
Furthermore, employee training has been another factor in the drop in solar soft costs. A technically skilled workforce can avoid many of the drawbacks and mistakes associated with soft costs.
An experience and well trained project manager for instance know how to handle the delivery and project schedules while at the same time is coordinating with parts suppliers.
This streamlined approach helps improve delivery guarantees and reduce gaps in information sharing and decision making.
Companies like SkillSonics come handy for such skill enhancement programs.
More employee training and certification opportunities will be necessary to continue growing the current and next generation of engineers, technicians and solar project developers.
Reference- Trina Solar PR, SkillSonics website