Reducing the Installed Cost of Solar
I have a simple idea that can reduce the installed cost of solar.
Pre-assemble the solar panels into multi-panel blocks before shipping to thecustomer roof. Make (and test) all the electrical and physicalconnections between the each of the panels in the block at the factoryor warehouse. This will reduce the number of connections theinstallation team needs to make on the roof which will allow a team toinstall more kW each day.
Imagine connecting 5 200W panels into a 1kw block at the factory. You may pay a little more to ship the panelsto the customer site and lifting the panels to the roof (assuming a roof mount), but once on the roof you will be connecting 1kw blocks withbasically the same labor you used to need to connect 200W.
Therewill be some optimal size to the pre-assembled blocks that balances outthe on roof savings with the extra transport and lifting costs. Smallerfirms may only want 3 panel blocks so a two man team can handle thepanels on the roof, while a large commercial installer with trucks andequipment could pre-assemble full strings of panels.
Thepre-assembly should take place in a workspace (factory) designed tofacilitate the assembly work, and it goes without saying that factorylabor is cheaper (not to mention safer and more comfortable) than onroof labor. I’d guess this could lower installed cost by$0.20/watt–perhaps more in high labor cost locals.
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