40MW Pole-Mounted Solar Installation Contract — Central and Southern New Jersey

November 2009–May 2013

Riggs Distler was the prime contractor on this major project to deliver 40 MWs of solar energy to over 6,500 homes throughout New Jersey’s service territory.

Our team installed 180,000 solar panels on 180,000 unique utility poles throughout our host utility’s network. Each panel was equipped with its own microinverter to deliver solar energy directly into our client’s grid. Project work included the tracking and organization of 26 pieces of data for each of the 180,000 panels installed, including serial numbers, pictures of each installation, GPS coordinates, and other information.

Challenges Overcome

Work on the project required more than just construction. Riggs Distler developed an accountability process for each of the 180,000 installations, collaborating with technology experts to invent new software for data, cost, and deliverable tracking. We used the system to provide real-time status and performance updates to the client as the project progressed.

Installations often required liaising with utility pole owners to secure permissions and/or arrange co-ownership of poles. Not every pole was ideal for panel installations, and our host utility had originally hired an engineering firm to make determinations on which poles were acceptable. However, these investigations would have slowed down the project’s timeline for delivery significantly. Instead, Riggs Distler absorbed the engineering firm’s work into our own agenda, completing the pole investigations and assessments as part of our execution, saving the client substantial time and money.

Results Delivered

When it comes to problem solving, Riggs Distler always promotes innovation from within to meet client needs. On this project, we were able to eliminate the need for a subcontractor by handling assessment work on 900,000 potential installation sites internally. Providing a turnkey solution allowed our client to reduce project costs and keep their construction schedule on track.

Riggs Distler installed the new network successfully, delivering increased clean energy to residents throughout the host utility’s service area. This important project was an excellent example of our ability to provide turnkey solutions to complex problems, and our work helped the State of New Jersey become the leading installer of new photovoltaic capacity for the first time in 2012.