Delivery is everything in solar development. Delivery on-time or even ahead of schedule signals reliability to investors and paves the way for more builds, especially those needed at an accelerated pace due to impending, seasonal weather conditions or site takeovers when the original racking partner could not deliver the job. The sooner the plant comes online, the quicker investors recoup capital and the power of solar proves positive revenue.
The proof is in the numbers as a recent time study shows construction using pre-assembled components, such as factory-direct Field-Fast by OMCO Solar, saves both time and money while still leveraging a bankable, high-quality racking system.
How to reduce every area of typical racking costs
Manufacturing: In the current age of high-velocity, precision manufacturing, selecting a mounting structure that’s OEM-direct saves significantly, but don’t just look for a brand with a manufacturing line, look for one with deep experience, solar know-how and proven bankability.
OMCO Solar is part of OMCO Roll-Form, a 60-year industry leader with coast to coast locations. Also, OMCO Solar is now the largest manufacturer of utility-scale solar mounting structures in the United States. With in-house design and engineering teams, OMCO can quickly solve any site-based requirements right on the factory floor to provide build customization whenever needed. Plus, a partner that runs their own factories significantly reduces lead-time for projects that need to get off the ground fast.
Materials: The current state of the industry has largely been negatively impacted by the tariffs, making solar projects cost more. That’s why it’s vital to select an OEM mounting partner with stable materials-sourcing relationships, ideally using steel that’s sourced nationally.
OMCO Solar has been exclusively using U.S. steel for over 60 years and has priority supply relationships in place. With the highest materials handling and stocking standards in the industry, OMCO is a partner who can be relied upon for mounting structures for any size project large or small, no matter what the tariffs bring.
Mounting structure flexibility: There is nothing that slows the rate of install more than having to make cuts to adjust racking in the field. When racking doesn’t have the ability to account for undulating terrain, get ready for a long and laborious build schedule.
OMCO Solar has built all the adjustability an in-field team will ever need, right into their Field-Fast mounting structure. With pre-stamped slots allowing for connections at any grade, without any extra parts or cutting of the rack, sites can be erected at a rate of seven structures per hour (10 panels and 300 Watts between two posts), by a team of two installers.
Logistics and freight: Freight costs add up quickly. By choosing a mounting structure with a nationwide manufacturing footprint, fuel costs and shipping are greatly reduced when product originates from the most strategic geographic location.
OMCO Solar has manufacturing facilities from coast to coast, each with the latest equipment and full capabilities to output as many Field-Fast mounting structures as required. Plus, all locations can customize if needed, with high-velocity, precision manufacturing techniques guided by on-site solar design and engineering expertise.
Unloading and staging: Site unloading and staging time can tie-up manpower and eat valuable time from the construction schedule when parts go missing or racking components need to be assembled in the field for staging.
By choosing a mounting structure consisting of pre-assembled components, there is no need to waste excessive manpower on part staging. Each Field-Fast mounting structure is comprised of only seven bill of materials items, with zero pre-assembly required in the field. No other BoS product can claim that. Plus, all hardware comes to the site marked, presorted and associated with each racking setup. Also, most of the hardware is pre-threaded for simple tool consolidation and ease of construction.
Labor and safety: Team size and safety during construction factor large in final project cost. That’s why mounting systems that allow smaller in-field teams without overhead lifting or the use of heavy-lifting equipment give solar developers a cost-saving edge.
The Field-Fast mounting system can be constructed 100% from ground-level for increased site safety. Construction requires no overhead-lifting or heavy equipment and only two installers are required for complete assembly. Time studies in 2018 rank Field-Fast with a labor efficiency of 85 percent.
Modules: Module changes happen. Sometimes they even happen late in construction. Many mounting structures have panel-specific requirements, making module changes a potentially risky and costly endeavor.
OMCO’s Field-Fast mounting system is compatible with any framed module. Plus, as an official First Solar Ecosystem partner, the Field-Fast mounting system is compatible with Series 6 modules. With Field-Fast, module compatibility presents zero financial risks for solar investors. Best of all, when it comes to pure module installation, two installers can ready 300,000 watts per hour via 100 panels.
Pre-assembly: The time pre-assembly saves on build schedules is exponential and echoes throughout the cost of an entire project. Pre-assembly saves money on transport and logistics, staging and, of course, final in-field construction. It even aids permitting as pre-assembly ensures proper racking builds.
OMCO Solar’s ISO-certified, Field-Fast mounting structure is entirely built from seven, pre-assembled components, expertly fitted and packaged in an OMCO factory and ready for projects nationwide from 500 kW builds to multi-MW projects.
Get ready to build
OMCO Solar continues to help developers attack the tariffs through their high bankability, with the factory-direct Field-Fast mounting system and years of worldwide solar construction expertise. To date, OMCO Solar has leveraged over 8 GW of utility-scale experience and 60 years of custom roll-form manufacturing skills to develop the best solar racking structure on the market.
Jen Degtjarewsky is a guest editor for OMCO Solar.
— Solar Builder magazine