As demand for solar power grows, connected, ruggedized technologies assists today’s restricted solar workforce to perform in any situation, assisting expand the renewable power infrastructure.

April 14, 2023 Chad Hall

Sector professionals predict that more than the subsequent 5 years, the solar business will develop 5x bigger than it is these days, most likely reaching a capacity of 700 GW by 2033. Having said that, only 255,500 Americans perform in the solar business. And the Interstate Renewable Power Council (IREC) reports that 89% of solar firms struggle to discover certified applicants to fill positions. The solar workforce will will need to more than double in the subsequent ten years to attain the federal aim of one hundred% carbon-cost-free electrical energy by 2035.

To meet this demand, the utility business ought to maximize its present workforce for solar deployment and upkeep and open its doors to new talent in a way that is straightforward, accessible, and financially viable. Delivering technologies that fits the exceptional desires of the solar business, and tends to make jobs simpler for utility workers, is crucial to attract new talent.

With the correct mobile technologies, any utility worker — from a new employ to a seasoned pro — can communicate with their group, troubleshoot and repair infrastructure, and perform in any atmosphere to drive development and meet buyer demands.

Remote computing technologies

Utility workers and contractors in the solar business carry out tasks in difficult environments each day. Irrespective of whether adding solar panels to a residential roof or producing a solar farm in a remote place, these workers ought to do their jobs in varying situations and conditions.

For residential solar projects, utility workers and contractors ought to assess the house and roof, gather and track permits and documentation, order gear, set up panels, and test method functionality just before final deployment.

When up on a roof checking for structure needs or installing panels, utility workers and contractors will need a technologies answer that can immediately pull up blueprints, contracts or heavy-intensive graphics such as geographic facts systems (GIS) or CAD drawings that demand sophisticated GPU and CPU integration. They can not threat their computing device getting unusable when in sunlight, dropped or dirtied. They also do not have time to take away industrial-grade leather security gloves to use the touchscreen or stylus or wait for a document or image to load.

When servicing utility-scale solar, workers normally discover themselves in remote places with restricted connectivity. The typical solar farm is more than 40 acres (about twice the location of Chicago’s Millennium Park). From a single finish of the farm to the other, workers will need uninterrupted access to crucial facts and a indicates of communicating with their group.

Devoid of the correct technologies, they could discover themselves in the middle of the solar farm, unable to view the most recent reports or speak to a different group member about an intricate servicing query. These varieties of challenges waste time and with a restricted workforce, time is currently in brief provide.

Ruggedized computing

Customer-grade technologies hardly ever meets the exceptional challenges faced by a utility worker in the solar business. These devices can perform fine for individual use and regular workplace perform. But, for workers in harsh and unpredictable environments, customer-grade devices seldom get the job completed. Envision sitting at your desk with your laptop.

Now you ought to take your laptop and drive to a field a couple of hours away from the closest key city. You are now in the middle of a field and obtaining difficulty viewing the customer-grade device screen in the sunlight. The hotspot on your telephone is not functioning, the device applications are challenging to use, and the battery desires to be recharged. Your laptop is overheating, unable to connect to the world-wide-web, and you have now lost precious time in your day to get your perform completed. That is what it is like for a utility worker with no ruggedized technologies options.

Rugged options present extra than just a sturdy exterior or challenging-shell casing. They present uncompromised connectivity, adaptability with different ports and keyboards, optimized heat management, hot-swappable batteries, and sophisticated processing energy when functioning in a mobile workplace atmosphere.

With ruggedized technologies, utility workers and contractors can track, monitor, and preserve solar projects from the workplace and the field. Investing in needed mobile technologies options not only provides today’s restricted workforce the tools they will need to perform with speed and efficiency, but it also prepares the business for what lies ahead: a technologies-centered power infrastructure that depends on workers who can keep continually connected, adaptable and prepared to engage anytime and wherever.

Chad Hall is the strategic account manager of Enterprise Mobility Options, Panasonic Connect North America.

The views and opinions expressed in this write-up are the author’s personal, and do not necessarily reflect these held by pv magazine.

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