A lot goes into solar project design, from determining how to maximize production to ensuring everything is ready for the energization date. One of the keys to project success is selecting the right site preparation partner.
As one of the first crews on the site, any mistakes and delays from your site preparation partner impact the project's overall success. The right partner is critical to keep your solar project on track.
Considerations When Selecting a Solar Site Preparation Partner
When comparing solar site preparation partners, look beyond the numbers and evaluate them based on more than just cost.
Many contractors can remove vegetation and grade a site. However, not all of them know what to look for when developing land for a utility project. This lack of experience can lead to costly consequences when unexpected challenges arise.
If you have a stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP)—as most solar design projects do—your site preparation provider must have experience working with one. Failure to comply can be both costly and damaging to your brand.
When site preparation partners have to hire subcontractors or rent equipment, it opens up room for error and can add costs. What if a subcontractor can’t meet their deadline? Eliminating as many variables as possible will help smooth the process and reduce the chances of hiccups.
Look for a provider with robust in-house resources—including equipment, trained crews, and materials for temporary roads—to make the process as streamlined as possible. You also get the benefit of better pricing because subcontractor markups are eliminated.
When you work with an experienced site preparation team, they often have proprietary solutions you won’t find anywhere else. Whether it’s scheduling software that keeps the project on track, in-house safety training programs that help prevent incidents, or temporary road installation methods optimized for efficiency, the specialized systems developed through experience and expertise will only enhance your project.
Although cost is always a consideration, site preparation is not an area where you want to cut corners. This partner lays the groundwork for your solar design project. If it’s not done correctly, it can cause significant issues and potentially increase the project's overall cost.
When comparing estimates, it's crucial to understand everything that is (and is not) included. An estimate based on the square footage of the land or kilowatts may not be tailored to your specific site. If this is the case, you can expect change orders and additional costs. On the other hand, a detailed estimate that accounts for site conditions will be more accurate, allowing you to have more predictable costs.
Involve Site Partners Early in the Solar Project Design Process
When you work with a site preparation partner, you rely on them at every stage of the design process to identify efficiencies, set realistic timelines, and prepare contingency plans.
An experienced site preparation partner can help you navigate common challenges such as building relationships with neighboring property owners, creating staging areas to keep local traffic to a minimum, optimizing site access to minimize restoration efforts, and more. The sooner you get an experienced civil contractor site preparation partner on your team, the sooner you will benefit from their expertise.
YAK ACCESS: Your Solar Project Design Partner
YAK ACCESS provides an end-to-end solution for solar site access, including clearing and grading, pile driving, rack mounting, and restoration. With deep experience in the utility sector, we know how to prepare for the unexpected, comply with SWPPP documents and other regulatory requirements, and uphold your brand's values.
To learn more about everything that goes into getting the land ready for solar installation, read The Complete Guide to Site Preparation for Solar Energy Projects.