Solera’s Experience in the Field with Solar-Log® WEB-4U
The team at Solera has installed more than 3,000 solar PV plants since 2008. The company’s extended service portfolio includes designing, procuring, installing, monitoring and maintaining the plants after installation. Silvia Blumenschein-Schutz, CEO of Solar-Log® North America, sat down with Solera’s Managing Director, Reiner Stauss, to find out how this solar solutions provider seamlessly manages all of these services for such a large fleet.
Solar Installation and O&M
Silvia: How many plants are you currently monitoring and what is the size range?
Reiner: From our company location, we currently monitor around 2,000 plants of various sizes, with an upward trend. We look after residential plants from about 5 kW as well as commercial and industrial plants with several hundred kW size.
Silvia: What is your role at the company? How big is the team that you manage?
Reiner: As Managing Director, I determine the basic course of the company and am responsible for its economic and strategic development. Our team currently consists of almost 80 employees. The great momentum in the field of renewable energies is also reflected in our company and we are continuously increasing the number of employees.
Silvia: How did you get started in the solar installation business and how long have you been in the solar industry?
Reiner: My personal enthusiasm for photovoltaics and other renewable energy in connection with my studies of industrial engineering have marked the way. I have been employed by Solera since 2008.
Silvia: What kind of O&M services does your company offer? How long have you been in the O&M side of the business?
Reiner: Through the Solera partner company ezee Energy, we offer on-site plant monitoring and services. We can look back on many years of experience and expand these offers constantly.
Solar Installer Challenges
Silvia: What would you say are your biggest challenges when it comes to installing solar plants? How have you overcome those challenges, or what do you do in your daily business to help ease those challenges?
Reiner: Our current challenges are less technical. Rather, great efforts are required to find suitable personnel – especially in the assembly sector. Germany is still in an economic boom and many companies complain about a shortage of skilled workers. That also applies to us. We invest many ideas in recruiting new employees.
Silvia: What would you say are the biggest challenges with O&M? How do you deal with those challenges?
Reiner: Here, too, the recruitment of employees is a current problem. There is a great demand from our customers for O&M services. In order to meet these requirements, we are looking for well-trained service technicians. Another challenge for us is to react even faster and to be available to help our customers as quickly as possible.
Solar Performance Monitoring and Management
Silvia: Why did you select Solar-Log® as your monitoring platform? Which features do you use most often or find to be the most valuable?
Reiner: We are convinced that Solar-Log® is the ultimate in professional monitoring. Manufacturer independence is an invaluable advantage. Solar-Log® is therefore compatible with all relevant components. The variety of functions for recording and optimizing our own power consumption inspires us again and again. Thanks to many years of experience, Solar-Log® has a wealth of know-how from which we benefit.
Silvia: What attracted you to the Solar-Log® WEB-4U service? In what ways has Solar-Log® WEB-4U helped you and your business?
Reiner: Since we have been extremely satisfied with Solar-Log® for many years, it was a logical step to also use the services of Solar-Log® WEB-4U. The faultless operation of our customers’ solar plant systems is extremely important to us. We have an excellent reputation and of course we want to keep it! The professional support as needed, facilitates our work enormously.
Silvia: Using a specific plant as an example, can you describe one example of when the Solar-Log® WEB-4U service proved its value?
Reiner: There are many examples, I’ll just pick one for now. Recently, the Solar-Log® sent a fault message to one of our industrial customers with a large system. Through the Solar-Log® WEB portal, we had an overview of the system and very quickly determined that a major failure had occurred and we were able to react immediately. We saved the customer from a painful outage and thanks to the fast service, we were able to strengthen our relationship with this customer even more.
Check out a selection of Solera’s solar plants on the Solar-Log WEB Enerest™ platform: https://solera.solarlog-portal.de/920.html
About Solera GmbH
Solera is an electrical installation company in Geislingen, Germany. Founded in 2008, Solera now employees over 50 people in two locations. Solera covers all areas of renewable energy including photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, combined heat and power plants, and modern wood heating systems for the residential and C&I segments.