November 13, 2017

THE TEN QUESTIONS YOU NEED TO ANSWER FOR SOLAR ASSET MANAGEMENT SUCCESS

by Etienne Lecompte

As I look at the world I always try to think exponentially. It’s a challenge most of the time. The way I see the PV world evolving, and the solar panel trade tariffs introduced in the US are only a minor setback in the unmistakable growth of solar (cue Eye of the Tiger playing in the background). I think that trying to impede the globalization of the solar industry through regulation is an exercise in futility.

I’m an optimist, and I think we have an opportunity in front of us. In the face of uncertainty, and potentially, increased development cost, we should focus on optimizing our installed base. I was in Europe for Solar Asset Management EU, and it was interesting to step outside of our North American bubble and talk about what’s really happening in more mature solar markets. The consensus was that we’re seeing slower growth in Europe, and companies over there focus heavily on HOW they operate their assets and businesses to lower the OPEX of their projects and portfolios, as opposed to growing their portfolio for growth’s sake alone,like SunEdison.

The keys to OPEX reduction are threefold in my opinion. Businesses need to look at their people, processes, and use of technology. If you want a balanced approach to better business, this is how you’re going to achieve it.

 

People

Your people are pretty important. This isn’t news to anybody. They’re the basis of your future success, and you need to make sure you’re creating teams that perform.

Ask yoyrself the following:

  • Do I have the right people in the right roles?
  • Do people have access to the right information at the right time?
  • Is knowledge centralized in a few key people?
  • Is my team too busy/not busy enough?

Depending on how you answered these questions, you should have some idea of what you need to do to make your teams work better. If you’ve got issues with access to information, then you need to take steps to improve access to the right information at the right time. It shouldn’t make or break a project or a task if one of your team members is out sick.

 

Processes:

A broken process will rarely be solved by technology. There’s no point in going for efficiency through asset management tools if you don’t have a clear idea of where your business is going, and how you’re going to get there. Ask yourself:

  • What are the business goals that we need to achieve? Are we an Asset Owner, Manager, Optimizer, etc?
  • What % of time is the team focusing on value adding activities for us to reach our business goals?
  • What would happen to our processes if we doubled in size?

Technology: the last part of the equation

As your friendly, neighborhood asset management software company, this is where I come in. Welcome to my wheelhouse! When I talk to our users, I see a lot of the same questions being asked:

  • How can I support my people and processes with technology?
  • What tools do I have in place, are they the best, are they adapted to my business goals?
  • What manual processes do I wish I could automate?

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution, in business, but there are always enough commonalities to learn from. Technology should be built to empower your team, simplify and support processes, and make information easier to access.

At PowerHub I have had the chance to work with small and large companies where these questions and more are constantly being re-assessed. If you want to chat Development and Asset Management processes reach out to us. We’re in the business of helping you grow.

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