A Day in the Life of a Solar Field Manager
Every day, Sunnova works with production homebuilders like you. We understand the rhythm of new community construction and work tirelessly to ensure every installation is successfully completed on time. To achieve this, for every new home community, we assign a designated on-site Solar Field Manager. Having a quality management professional by your side is essential for getting the job done right!
But what does a Sunnova Solar Field Manager do, and how do they make a difference? Let’s take a closer look.
In a nutshell, our Solar Field Managers oversee every step of the solar installation on the job site from start to finish. This involves a wide range of tasks like providing guidance and technical support for construction managers, coaching and training installers on new processes, and inspecting on-site quality and safety compliance.
Solar Field Managers also manage communications between all trade partners. By reviewing solar plot plans, they ensure that everyone is working from the same roadmap. It is our job to make sure your teams are aware of what is being done on the job site - a place where no two days are the same. Should unexpected setbacks occur that could impact construction timelines, our Solar Field Managers will make recommendations and adjustments to keep everything on track.
By continuously coordinating with all parties involved in the project, the dedicated Solar Field Manager will get the process underway and keep it moving as smoothly as possible, allowing no construction delays. From installation to activation, they will always stand firm as an integral part, leading our hard-working teams to install state-of-the-art solar systems adding to the fit and finish of the home.
Solar Spotlight: Joe Ostrowski
Behind every Sunnova installation is a hardworking Sunnova Associate. For this month's Solar Spotlight, we are highlighting someone who is well-respected by his coworkers and is unabashed at breaking a sweat to get the job done: Meet Joe Ostrowski, Sr Solar Field Manager – Central.
During the 6 years he has been with the company, Joe has always gone above and beyond and proved that he is an invaluable team member. Not only is he a solar pro, but he also rocks it out as the shred guitarist of our Central region’s rock band. Let’s get to know him!
How would you describe your role as a Solar Field Manager to a homebuilder who is new to solar?
I would let them know that I am the interface between the installers and the construction managers. I facilitate pre-construction meetings to familiarize and inform them of our program and procedures. In addition, I conduct safety and quality assurance audits as well as tracking the building progress continuously. I serve as the go-to person if an issue arises in the field.
What’s the most interesting aspect of your day-to-day?
Interacting with the installers! As a long-time solar veteran, it is always nice and refreshing to chat with the guys doing the work that I did for so many years. I love going over the challenges, methods, and stories.
Looking back it has been amazing to see how fast Sunnova has evolved to better serve our builders. What are some of the changes that we have adopted along the way that really brought value to our process in the field?
I used to track the sites with pen and paper every week. Since then, we have evolved and adapted to the rapid changes to maintain our leading edge in the industry. We now use Salesforce which allows digital tracking and automation. Furthermore, when I first started, the module size was 265 watts, and we will be installing 380-watt panels as of early next year thus allowing more power per array footprint. Additionally, the Enphase microinverter monitoring technology has advanced to allow for a more efficient installation and more reliable reporting.
Earlier this year Sunnova proudly completed a notable commercial project, the Vitri at Scottsdale Quarter in which you performed a QA inspection. Was there any variable that made this project so unique and outside of our typical scope?
The sheer size and scope of this install set it apart. This was an awning type of install along the parapet wall, which was quite different than the typical new construction residential install. I was beyond excited to be a part of such a large-scale commercial project that has such an impact on the surrounding landscape.
Were there any installation challenges and how did your team overcome it?
The challenges were mostly in the design differences from our traditional scope. This was an exceptionally large and complicated project with many variables. Thanks to Geoffrey Berlin’s vast design knowledge, we were able to communicate with the local AHJ and the construction manager to come up with an effective plan to complete the install.
I must admit that during my first visit with Mark Chapman, it was quite intimidating stepping onto such a massive construction site. However, once we met with the applicable trade supervisors to discuss and coordinate the logistics of how it would ultimately work, I felt much more confident. In addition, Sun Valley Solar also did an excellent job and was instrumental in the success of this project.
How do you like to unwind?
I have been playing guitar for almost 40 years so I would say that it is my favorite activity however, I enjoy hanging with the family, hiking, biking, and playing with our beloved pooch, Tilly.
What changes would you like to see in the renewable industry?
I have been intrigued by the trend towards storage and battery technology in the solar industry. I would like to see full off-grid communities here in Colorado. I have also been following the development of Perovskite solar cells, a technology that has demonstrated rapid increases in conversion efficiency in recent years. I look forward to seeing its promising efficiency gains.
That wraps up our Q&A with Joe Ostrowski! We’re proud to have him leading our Central field team and helping homebuilders keep construction timelines on schedule. Be sure to follow us on social media and check back often for future “Solar Spotlight” articles!