Origis Energy is a developer of solar power facilities throughout the world, and has successfully implemented utility-scale solar projects in Italy, Belgium, Slovakia, Greece and other international locations. However, when Origis began work on a solar project in Camilla, Georgia, for utility company Georgia Power, it ran into difficulties with tight deadlines and limited supplies.
Located on a 150-acre site in Mitchell County, the Camilla solar project would be one of the largest in the state, capable of supplying energy use for nearly 6,000 homes. But before the project could come online, Origis needed to find a supplier capable of meeting an accelerated deadline. However, the first manufacturer Origis worked with ran into timing and supply issues. Working with a new supplier on an even shorter deadline, threatened to raise the cost of the project and cause additional delays.
Origis partnered with Trina Solar in order to meet its tight production schedule. As the world's leading solar manufacturer, Trina managed to shuffle inventory and move up its internal timeline to get the panels sent off to Camilla on time. Of course, as Murphy's Law would suggest, the project was still not without complications.
Additional challenges arise
Logistical hurdles again threatened to present delays. For starters, a third party, working to coordinate shipping for Trina and Origis, imported the solar panels to a port in Newark, New Jersey, nearly 800 miles away from the intended port of Savannah, Georgia. This presented the potential to bring increased costs through ground transportation and slow production as the panels were brought down the East Coast by truck.
Additionally, instead of shipping the panels through more secure closed trailers, the third-party provider sent the panels on their way to Savannah in open flatbed trailers. While Trina and Origis were able to detect the error before all the trucks had left New Jersey, several panels still arrived in Georgia via open flatbed trailers with their packaging saturated from rain storms. Avoiding damage to the panels during unloading required careful and time-consuming work, again threatening to delay the project's implementation.
Despite the unique challenges presented by the Camilla project, Trina and Origis took quick action that got the site back in line with its timetable. Trina brought a technical service representative to the site to inspect the panels for any damage and replaced modules as needed.
"These were some of the most challenging circumstances I've seen operationally at a solar project site," Dave Rowland, manager of Technical Service at Trina Solar, noted.
All told, 78,160 ground mount Trina panels were brought to the Camilla site. Once the project came online in December 2013, it resulted in carbon dioxide reductions of 27,000 tons per year
"With supply tight, we were glad Trina could quickly shift capacity to meet our immediate needs as well as honor their supply agreement even through the unique logistical hurdles," Johan Vanhee, COO and Partner at Origis Energy, said in a statement. "We were really lucky to have such a strong partner on board."
Of course, logistical and operational challenges like those faced at Camilla are not uncommon. For both large- and small-scale projects, it's important to have a strong manufacturing partner capable of adapting to unforeseen events and willing to stand behind and ensure the quality of the products it delivers. As the world's leading solar panel manufacturer, Trina has the superior product, expert personnel, bankability and experience to meet tight production deadlines and make projects successful even when things don't go as planned.
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