PVComplete Design Services Team

Get to Know the PVComplete Design Services Team

In Product Update, Uncategorized by info@pvcomplete.com

If you are a solar installer or EPC who is looking for engineering expertise you may not have in house or extra bench strength to complement your in-house team, PVComplete’s Design Services Team of experienced solar engineers is a proven and trusted staffing solution. With expertise in residential, commercial and utility-scale solar project execution, our Oakland, California-based solar veterans provide responsive, scalable support customized to meet the unique needs of your growing PV business.

Who are these solar experts who you can engage to help your solar business grow? We sat down with the team this week to learn more about their unique backgrounds and hear their ideas about the future of the solar industry.

PV Complete Design Services Team Headshots

Tell us how you first learned about solar design.

Olivia: When I worked in sales for a solar distributor, our installer customers relied upon us for advice about the best products and how to configure them. To provide that expertise, we participated in quarterly manufacturer training sessions, which served as a constant education in best practices and the latest technology.

Rachel: As a member of the PowerLight team for 17 years (which became SunPower) followed by three years at Sun Light & Power, I was involved in every phase of solar project design and engineering for residential, commercial and utility-scale projects. I started with a mechanical engineering background, but also learned electrical engineering along the way.

Michael: I’ve been working on solar project design since I first participated in a renewable energy pilot program in college, though it was my experience designing hundreds of residential and commercial projects for California-based EPCs and installers that has taught me the most. Of course, I’m also grateful for the guidance of several professional engineers who provided insights and words of wisdom about how to design successful projects.

Daniel: I was introduced to solar design by a one-of-a-kind, super talented electrical engineer in Canada. He was a hippie and a Deadhead who had honed his expertise installing off-grid solar on remote cabins. He ended up consulting for a defense contractor to power radar sites in the Canadian arctic, which was when I met him.

Do you remember the first solar project you worked on?

Olivia: My first project was a homeowner DIY project, and I saw immediately how challenging those projects can be. Homeowners have a lot of questions!

Rachel: I started with a 30 kW system at Fetzer Winery in Hopland, California where I was not only the project designer, but also R&D engineer, procurement, logistics, project manager and installer!

Michael: I had the opportunity to help design and PM a group of about 35 residential installations in a housing development in Mountain House, California.

Daniel: I built hybrid microgrids to power radar sites in the arctic to detect Russian missiles coming over the north pole. The company I worked for realized replacing diesel generators with microgrids reduced the need for refueling, which is incredibly expensive when you are flying diesel into the remote arctic by helicopter, and allowed unattended radar sites to operate independently for a longer period of time.

What types of projects do you enjoy most?

Olivia: My favorite projects are those that use the newest products on the market, because it’s an opportunity to learn new ways to configure solar systems and push the boundaries on what has been possible before.

Rachel: There’s nothing quite like a large commercial project with a nice, wide-open rooftop and main service panels with plenty of amperage to accommodate the system in an easy-going jurisdiction. It’s inspiring when nothing is holding back renewable energy’s potential.

Michael: I like carport projects as they are a great opportunity for the project to offer more benefits than just producing energy. Carports often use little additional space while offering advantages such as shade, lighting, fire protection, and mounting for car charging equipment.

Daniel: The projects that bring me to interesting locations such as the roof of Alcatraz, sewage treatment plants, the Santa Rita Jail, an olive packing plant, a missile testing site, Nellis Air Force Base and the Shiseido manufacturing plant. I appreciate having the chance to see something new that I wouldn’t otherwise encounter and to tackle the unique challenges they present.

What trends do you see that are driving solar design today?

Olivia: With rapid shutdown regulations, all projects use optimizers and micro inverters these days. I’ve also seen an uptick in solar+storage projects as more storage solutions begin to pop up.

Rachel: More customers are requesting battery back-up along with their solar systems.

Michael: We’re seeing large string inverters begin to displace central inverters in C&I projects. As the power density of smaller string inverters keeps on climbing 100kW/unit and beyond, the scale has started to tip in the favor of string inverters, given that they are smaller, lighter and are inherently faster to install.

Daniel: There is a growing demand for rooftop solar on multi-family residential buildings and complexes. These projects used to be really challenging because it was hard to get interconnection permission with so many submeters. But now, with virtual net metering regulations, it’s possible to get an interconnection and you can install 500 kW of residential solar all at once.

If this diverse expertise would make a good addition to your team, call on us to help you get started with project engineering and design on any residential, carport, commercial or utility-scale solar project.