How ECs Are Winning More Solar Projects With Bundled Cable

Mike ZimmBlog

For electrical contractors (ECs), bidding and delivering the wiring component of a commercial solar farm project can be a complex, high-risk undertaking. Variables like material requirements, labor costs, and completion times can negatively impact an EC’s profitability and create unwanted financial exposure.

A common challenge for contractors is not having a detailed project plan or complete information in hand during the bidding process. This ‘partial picture’ can result in inaccurate assumptions in the planning phase, leading to unexpected costs and delays as the project unfolds.

At One-Pull, we take a unique approach to bundled cable quoting and project delivery that helps eliminate those uncertainties. By partnering with ECs to develop, validate, and execute a detailed wiring plan, One-Pull helps fine-tune and optimize material and labor requirements. Together with our printed, customized PV cable bundles, this approach enables ECs to win more solar farm business and deliver projects faster with greater profitability.

 

The Devil (and the Margin) Is in the Details

Even modest solar farm projects can range from 5-25 megawatts and require 50-500 solar PV cable bundles. Often ECs receive only partial blueprints in the bidding process, and many don’t have the time or the in-house expertise to build out detailed wiring plans with the limited information available. As a result, ECs may order more PV wire than they need or end up taking a ‘brute force’ approach by pulling individual wires in the field as the job progresses. These scenarios can inflate material and labor costs while taking a big bite out of margins.

 

Completing The Picture — A Detailed Plan

For the One-Pull team, blueprints are just the starting point. We use a comprehensive pre-construction checklist to help ECs capture key project details, resolve any outstanding questions, and confirm a range of project parameters. This data allows the One-Pull team to create a high-level wiring plan that provides ECs with a more accurate projection of the material and labor needed to execute the project.

 

‘Measure Twice, Cut Once’ — The Site Inspection

No two solar farm projects are the same, and even the most detailed project layouts often change during implementation. For example, rocks or other obstacles on the job site may require crews to relocate trench locations, significantly altering PV cabling requirements.

That’s why One-Pull conducts a site survey after construction begins to confirm that the wiring plan aligns with the actual job site. It’s an important step that must take place before starting the production of the cable bundles. Once wire cutting and printing begins, those ‘sunk costs’ can’t be reclaimed.

We also visit the site during the pilot installation of the first row to ensure everything goes smoothly. If there is an issue, our team can see it first-hand and work with the EC to resolve it quickly.

 

Reducing Labor Costs: Printing Versus Labeling

Many ECs install solar cable the traditional way, which involves labeling the ends of every PV wire before pulling it. The wire is then ‘roughed in’ by estimating the pulls over acres and acres of the job site. These estimates are rarely precise to the foot, so many wires have to be cut and re-labeled before they’re terminated to the solar module at one end and the inverter at the other. This re-labeling process is time-consuming and labor-intensive.

Instead of labeling, One-Pull custom prints inverter and string numbers every six inches along the entire length of the conductor. That way, there’s no need to re-label the wire if it needs to be cut or re-terminated. Our PV wire printing can save ECs substantial labor costs and countless hours that otherwise might be lost to re-labeling.

 

It Takes a Team

One-Pull takes a team approach to quoting and delivering wire solutions for solar farm projects. Our designers, engineers, and project managers all play a part in providing the most competitive and cost-effective solutions to our EC customers.

This approach extends to our back-office and production teams as well. Our supply chain is among the best in the industry. We create our printed, custom PV wire bundles in a dedicated facility using the most efficient, high-quality manufacturing processes. Post-delivery, One-Pull provides end-to-end support to our EC customers through the successful completion of every solar farm project.

 

Cutting Project Times Boosts Revenue

For ECs, speed is key to increasing revenue. Reducing the time it takes to complete a solar farm project frees up resources to take on other jobs.

One-Pull’s pre-planned, pre-cut, pre-labeled bundled cable solutions can save ECs up to 80% of the time it takes to pull PV wire. For every 1MW of solar farm installation, this equates to 3-5 people completing the string wire installation in a single day versus one week.

 

A Competitive Edge For Electrical Contractors

One-Pull’s comprehensive approach to quoting and delivering bundled cable solar farm solutions helps ECs reduce their risk by optimizing material and labor costs throughout each project. By partnering with One-Pull, ECs can compete more effectively, improve margins, and increase revenue by completing projects faster.