How Important is Solar Asset Management?

Earlier this month, I read an article in PV Magazine estimating the loss of underperforming solar assets to the tune of $4.6bn. And this is just in the US! 2023 was a record-breaking year for solar installations (413GW), increasing over 55% from 2022. Obviously, a greater number of installations signifies a greater probability that there are some underperforming solar assets operating in the fields and on the roofs. This article got me thinking about when the industry "really" started to care about operating assets and when the technology improved. 

When I started EnergeiaWorks in 2010, the US installed 878MW of solar PV. Since then, we have seen an industry growth of 40,000% in only 13 years! In 2010, I could count the solar independent power producers (IPPs) on one hand and I could count the utility-scale PV projects on two hands. Thanks largely to an increase in Federal and State incentives and decreasing equipment costs, solar energy projects went from alternative energy to mainstream energy rapidly. Just this week, I had a conversation with John Drummond from CPS America (our 2015 placement!) who recalled his early days of working in solar, and remembering back to when there wasn't even a mass marketed solar inverter.

For the first three years of EnergeiaWorks history, we filled ZERO roles in asset management and operations & maintenance (O&M).  

Our first asset management placement was Steve Ondishin at ConEd Solutions in 2013.  The timing was not surprising given this graph of solar installations — take note of the utility-scale jump in 2016.  

With the ITC deadline looming, developers scrambled to get projects through the queues.  2016 was the first remarkable year for EnergeiaWorks in terms of asset management and O&M talent requests. We saw an annual increase of 5–10% in these segments through 2019. Since then, our asset management and O&M talent requests have been growing steadily each year by approximately 15–20%.

As shown by this 2018 Solar Jobs Census, 2016 had the largest year-to-year growth (24%) in domestic solar jobs .

Another reason the US solar industry increased attention to solar assets is because of the development model shift. With the fast-growth of large-scale solar development and construction, our industry shifted from a develop-to-flip model to a develop-to-own model. My research indicates that there are about 7,000 renewable energy developers in the US market that focus on residential, commercial, community solar, and utility-scale wind and solar. With about half of project developers now owning their assets, performance is much more important. 

Are You Hiring Asset Management and O&M Talent?

Since EnergeiaWorks started placing talent in asset management and O&M in 2013, we've been consistently sourcing top solar, energy storage, and wind energy in the US and Canada.  We typically can count on 30% of our revenue each year coming from these types of placements. If you're looking to hire top talent in asset management, operations, maintenance, or performance optimization professionals, reach out to us today. You can find me at Solar & Storage Live in Philadelphia in April and CLEANPOWER in May or you can meet Victoria and Matt at Midwest Solar Expo and RE+ Texas.  We're happy to help with your 2024 hiring plan and talent acquisition.

Receive a bonus for a referral to our new website

If you are currently exploring a new job in your renewable energy career, we invite you to have a look at our careers portal. Refer a candidate to EnergeiaWorks and if they get hired, we’ll send you an EnergeiaWorks solar backpack with a $1,000 check. Visit our freshly redesigned website to submit!

March 31, 2024 William V. Liuzza

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