Demand for Solar Energy Reaches All-Time High

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Solar power is projected to provide nearly 30% of U.S. energy needs by 2050; Utah-based Vector Engineers, a national leader in solar residential certification, reports skyrocketing demand for its services.

'...The value you add to our model is exceptional.' - Ron Hisel, Senior Director of Operations, Posigen Solar

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, solar power is now capable of powering more than 5 million American homes.(1) By 2050, say the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and National Renewable Energy Laboratory, solar will be meeting nearly 30% of U.S. energy needs.(2)

As one indicator of the rate of solar growth, Utah’s Vector Engineers reports skyrocketing demand for its services in drafting structural certification letters, an essential part of the paperwork involved in a residential solar installation. The procedure, notes Vector Principal Engineer Roger Alworth, is for a solar installer, once the contract has been signed and the system designed, to submit engineering drawings and a building permit application to the appropriate housing authority.

Before that can happen, however, a frequent requirement is for a structural engineering firm licensed in the state where the system is to be installed to review the drawings and issue a residential solar certification letter, which is submitted to the housing authority along with the permit application and the plans.

“The solar industry’s growing at a phenomenal pace,” says Alworth. “We were talking to more and more people, and we were hearing some horror stories about these certification letters. There were installers having to wait a week—or two or even three weeks, in some cases—to get their letter back. Meanwhile the project was frozen in place, which is expensive and wasteful. You’ve got materials and equipment and manpower allocated, not to mention a customer who’s committed to a new source of power for their home.”

As recently as a year ago, Vector was preparing about two hundred structural certification letters a month for some twenty installers. Aware of the need for fast turnaround, the firm, which is licensed in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, developed internal processes that enable it to return within a single business day. As of late August 2016, it had prepared more than 10,000 letters and was preparing 1,500+ letters per month

“We can do this,” says Alworth, “without any compromise whatever in quality, and we can do it overnight in most cases. As far as we can determine, we are the national leader in this essential part of the process. We’re proud of the leadership role we’ve taken on, and as the industry continues to boom over the next couple of decades, we’ll be there to help it grow.”

About Vector Engineers:

Founded in 2002, Vector Engineers is a full-service structural engineering firm with over 1,000 clients throughout the United States. The company’s areas of expertise include multi-family, residential, commercial, telecom, bridges, industrial, and solar. Services include the design of new structures, the analysis and redesign of retrofit and repairs of existing structures, as well as residential and commercial solar structural certifications. Expert witness experience includes structural defects, foundation settlement, building code analysis, and soil and structure stabilization. Vector’s team includes thirty engineers, a full drafting division, and support staff. The company is headquartered in Sandy, Utah, with satellite offices in Layton, Utah, St. George, Utah, and Tustin, California.    

1. “Environmental and public health benefits of solar power tallied,” ScienceDaily, May 18, 2016.

2. Pierce, Erin R., “Top 6 Things You Didn’t Know About Solar Energy,” U.S. Department of Energy, June 6, 2016.

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Jamey Johnston
Vector Solar
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