Infrastructure and Energy Alternatives (IEA) is a significant power in heavy civil building. By means of its subsidiary White Building, the corporate is constantly battling with market chief Mortenson for the highest wind energy EPC within the nation. It’s actually no shock that after setting up effectively over 23 GW of wind tasks throughout the US and Canada, IEA thought it was time to get extra invested within the photo voltaic trade.
Joe Broom, senior VP of photo voltaic, mentioned IEA (No. 19 on the 2022 Prime Photo voltaic Contractors checklist) had labored on photo voltaic tasks previously, principally in Canada, however the focus shifted in 2019 to the increasing U.S. market.
“[IEA] had dabbled in photo voltaic, however wind was their bread and butter,” he mentioned. “The board made a strategic determination to focus on different renewable segments, notably photo voltaic. They gave me a five-year annual working plan and we principally met that in 12 months 3. The photo voltaic market, regardless of the entire challenges, stays very strong as a result of there aren’t sufficient high quality EPCs available in the market to deal with the entire work that’s within the queue.”
IEA initially took on tasks beneath 100 MW to “get the boldness again up,” Broom mentioned. At the moment, the corporate is extra streamlined, solely working with two or three element suppliers to completely be taught efficient set up processes to complete tasks effectively and shortly. IEA is now bidding on a lot bigger tasks and retaining very busy.
“One quarter this 12 months, our photo voltaic revenues have been on par with the wind revenues,” Broom mentioned. “It’s not shocking to me, however I believe [to others at IEA], it’s sort of a shock to the system,” particularly since wind contracts are staying regular although the US is transitioning to an offshore building market.
Whereas Broom describes White Building’s dominance within the wind building market as one thing the corporate fell into after subcontracting on an early wind farm, the corporate’s rise within the photo voltaic charts is working in response to plan.
“Once we went public [in 2018], it gave us a chance to herald board members with ability units and experience in different industries. That’s the technique: to not put all of your eggs in a single basket, to take a look at different segments — photo voltaic being an ideal instance,” he mentioned. “We’ve additionally began a battery storage apply, so we’re planting seeds. We’re doing lots organically to broaden our progress into renewables, not simply particularly wind.”
Broom mentioned one of many benefits of working with a big firm is leveraging its workforce.
“That is among the prime constraints available in the market — the supply of labor. We have already got a labor power on the wind facet that we will simply cycle by means of on the photo voltaic facet,” he mentioned. “Whereas labor is a problem, and naturally we wish to pull in as many native hires as we will on these tasks, we nonetheless have a superb abundance of labor inside our present ranks that we will leverage. That’s been the key sauce as to why we’ve been capable of make the pivot and develop so quickly.”
Whereas photo voltaic could also be a stronger focus for IEA proper now, the corporate isn’t forgetting about wind.
“Internally, there’s nonetheless an amazing quantity of pleasure on wind,” Broom mentioned. “Each week we undergo the alternatives for wind and photo voltaic, and certain, wind could also be getting just a little harder however there are nonetheless alternatives on the market. I don’t suppose we’ve decreased the quantity of bidding effort on the wind facet. However we’ve definitely amped up the bidding effort on the photo voltaic facet.”
This story was featured completely in our 2022 Prime Photo voltaic Contractors difficulty. See the difficulty and full checklist of prime U.S. photo voltaic installers right here.