Coordination and communication are two keys to solar success

SolSystems blog article explains what the patriots’ miraculous super bowl victory (however painful) can teach us about installing solar in cities.


Following this years historic Super Bowl, which featured the first ever overtime and largest comeback in the game’s history, many of us left our respective Super Bowl parties with a few takeaways:

– Nothing brings the country together like football (specifically: loving or hating the Patriots)
– Mr. Clean had the best commercial of the night
– It’s never a good idea to bet against Tom Brady (even down 25 points)

But are there other takeaways? Trinkets of truth that one could glean from this amazing come-from-behind win? Of course. Oddly enough, the game can teach us a lot about installing solar in cities.

1. Come Prepared and Stay Prepared

The Patriots’ ultimate success was set in motion long before the game was played, much like the success of a solar project. Preparation is everything, whether you are installing a new game plan for an upcoming opponent or a new rooftop solar array. You have to be ready for when things don’t go as planned. As in the Super Bowl, you never know when you will need two different 2-point conversion plays drawn up. As in solar, you never know when you might have an unforeseen site access restriction or a delay in procuring project critical equipment Great solar installers have great backup plans.

2. Maintain Coordination and Communication

In order to win a Super Bowl or construct a portfolio of municipal solar projects, you need to coordinate a lot of different moving parts. Just as everyone needs to be on the same page from Patriots Owner Robert Kraft and all the way down to the guy who “inflates” the footballs… each of the stakeholders engaged in the solar project needs to understand the project timeline and how it will impact them. This is accomplished with consistent and effective communication between the engineers on the site, “players on the field” and the project managers, “coaches” on the sidelines.

3. Pay Attention to the Details

Anything less than expert attention to the smallest of details can result in major project flaws for a municipal solar installer. As we saw with Tom Brady’s interception, which was returned by the Falcons for a touchdown, even the slightest mistimed or misdirected action can lead to a major setback. Especially in a city where space is limited, it is truly a game of inches, and one solar carport beam out of place could prevent an ambulance or school bus from safely navigating the parking lot. Catching small issues before they turn into big issues can save a lot of time and money and headache in the future (See Julian Edelman’s catch).

4. Minimize Disruptions and Distractions

The stakes are higher in the Super Bowl, just as they are higher in a solar project in a city. When you are working on a hospital or police station where there is critical, emergency infrastructure that can’t be shut down, you must find a way to work around these operations. Distractions will inevitably occur as stakeholders manage competing priorities, but solar project managers must work to minimize them—just as the Patriots coaches kept their team focused on the task at hand despite the game’s media frenzy and Lady Gaga’s captivating halftime performance.

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