Unpredictable supply chain disruptions continue to impact various solar system components, and commercial solar developer, operator, and asset owner DSD Renewables (DSD) is changing its procurement approaching in 2023 as a result. DSD is seeking deeper partnerships that ensure long-term access to necessary building materials to develop projects and meet growing customer needs.
Example? DSD signed a one-year agreement with PanelClaw, a U.S. manufacturer of solar panel mounting systems, to supply panel racking for a 150 MW portfolio DSD will begin deploying this year — about 160 projects in California and Illinois.
“Volatility will continue in the supply chain short-term,” said Robb Jetty, COO at DSD. “Fortunately, DSD’s partnership with PanelClaw will mitigate delays, standardize our engineering processes, provide predictability on some hard costs and ensure we have access to the materials necessary to deploy our portfolio of projects.”
This is a unique approach as most commercial solar projects are typically conducted on a singular, transactional basis. Given the market fluctuations seen in the past 12-24 months, DSD reviewed design processes to identify what could be standardized and remain efficient.
DSD’s partnership with PanelClaw ensures a secure supply of domestically sourced racking systems to efficiently deploy solar projects over the next year and maintain market competitiveness as demand rises for solar projects, while supporting domestic manufacturing and labor.
With a fixed supplier of racking systems, DSD can reduce design times and speed up permitting processes for projects, while eliminating the need to find new suppliers for each deployment.
“PanelClaw has readily understood our goals and has helped us take a new procurement approach that allows for efficiencies that we couldn’t create through one-off projects,” said Carl Newton, DSD’s VP of Strategic Procurement & Estimating. “They’ve been a proven supplier for us in the past, and we look forward to this new, exciting chapter with them.”
The portfolio the agreement will support, which includes solar installations with The Home Depot, allowed PanelClaw to work with its domestic suppliers to lock in competitive pricing and strategically look beyond a single project at a time. The agreement further reinforces the domestically focused initiatives of the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, offering opportunity for additional tax benefits.
“Working with DSD on an entire portfolio allows us to pilot a new approach to the commercial solar developer and supplier relationship,” said Costa Nicolaou, CEO at PanelClaw. “With a defined portfolio, we were able to ensure the availability of domestic raw materials, manufacturing, and labor necessary to support these solar projects, which is critical in today’s unpredictable supply chain. Our partnership with DSD will not only help build a more sustainable future, but also to support a more streamlined domestic solar supply chain.”
DSD is exploring a second long term supplier agreement with PanelClaw next year to support its 2024 build plan.