Tips for Staffing Large-Scale Renewable Energy Projects
The growth of the solar energy and wind energy industries is being driven by large-scale renewable energy projects. As these projects continue scaling in size, solar and wind energy businesses find themselves facing several challenges. As energy staffing professionals, Progressive can address many of these challenges.
Large-scale renewable energy project challenges
There are several challenges facing firms in the renewables sector, including the quality and skill sets of available talent, geographically remote site locations, workforce retention, and safety and other regulatory standards.
The construction stage of a large-scale renewable energy project, whether it’s a solar farm or a wind farm, will typically need talent across different disciplines, including:
- Project Management
- Construction Management
- Health, Safety and Environment (HSE)
- Skilled Labor and Technicians
- Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC)
Accessing this talent in today’s tight labor pool is a daunting task and, in worst case scenarios, can result in delays that only contribute to rising overhead costs. Moreover, the fact that solar and wind construction projects are often located in rural and geographically remote areas only makes talent attraction and retention that much more difficult.
Renewable energy owner/operators also need to ensure their staff is fully enabled with the necessary equipment, including vehicles, devices, and PPE, to essentially hit the ground running. The construction phase of a large-scale renewable energy project often requires the ability to quickly ramp up and ramp down, so having a contingent workforce that can effectively begin work on day one is essential.
Employment solutions for large-scale renewable energy projects
When considering working with a construction staffing agency or energy industry recruiters, renewable energy firms should ask themselves a series of questions:
1. Do we need contract staffing or direct hire?
Most businesses that are developing and constructing large-scale renewable energy projects find that contractors often make the best fit. Due to the duration of these projects, contractors know that their employment has an expected start date and an anticipated end date. Additionally, all renewable energy construction projects are susceptible to delays, whether they’re due to design issues or weather-related, construction delays. These two factors result in staffing flexibility being one of the most cited benefits of contract staffing. With contract staffing, you can avoid carrying extra staff during slower periods, such as during the winter, or you can have all hands on deck when racing to meet a deadline.
2. What types of skills do we need candidates to have?
Another benefit of hiring contract workers is the opportunity to provide expertise that might be missing in your current team. Our deep bench of talent is already familiar with the construction of large-scale renewable energy projects. With each project completed, our contractors are acquiring new skills and are ready to apply them to the next construction project.
Download the Expert Guide to Renewable Energy Staffing
Want to know what staffing success looks like for large-scale renewable energy projects?
Download our complimentary guide to learn about our talent screening process, the enhanced services and employer of record services we offer, and read case studies of utility-scale wind and solar energy projects that Progressive supported.
3. What do these workers need to be the most efficient while on the job?
Renewable energy construction workers need to be able to hit the ground running. Owner/operators need contractors that are fully enabled with the appropriate tools and technology to maximize efficiency, including:
- Vehicles with tire treads for specific driving conditions.
- Electronic equipment, including laptops and mobile devices.
- Personal protective equipment, including hard hats, safety glasses, reflective vests, appropriate footwear, and fire-retardant clothing.
In addition, renewable energy firms should partner with a construction staffing agency that coordinates travel and accommodations for its contractors. By providing these types of enhanced services, contract workers can shift their focus to providing high-quality work, and owner/operators can focus on completing their projects in the most efficient way possible.
4. How can we retain the contingent workforce we do hire, especially if we’re in a geographically remote location?
One of the challenges that owner/operators encounter is contractors unable to commit to the entire duration of a project. This typically results when a construction staffing agency:
- Fails to fully vet the skills and capabilities of the contractor and/or
- Doesn’t fully communicate the requirements and expectations of the job
Companies should look for hiring firms that have an established screening and selection process to ensure all professionals are reliable, able to perform the job, and an excellent match for your company.
5. What regulatory and compliance issues do we need to address for third-party hires?
Navigating employment law and the intricacies of federal, state, and local regulations can be challenging. And with new rules and regulations emerging, and the potential for fines and penalties, it is more important than ever to ensure workforce compliance.
Progressive is part of a larger publicly traded company and therefore maintaining stringent compliance is in our very DNA. To further limit exposure to a wide range of risks facing our clientele, Progressive maintains rigorous contractual compliance and employs substantive measures to further mitigate risk. This includes proper employee classification upfront and adhering to guidelines under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Looking to staff a large-scale renewable energy project?
With the construction of utility scale solar and wind farms projected to grow exponentially throughout the decade, finding skilled professionals for construction projects will continue to be a challenge.
Do you have a solution in place?
Contact us today to find out how you can best prepare to face these challenges, or download our Expert Guide to Renewable Energy Staffing to learn more.