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Case Study

Borrego Solar

Borrego unleashes 25% more efficiency from field teams.

The Challenge

Borrego is leading the charge as solar positions itself to go truly head-to-head with fossil fuels. It’s a historic moment. For Borrego, being truly competitive in the energy marketplace means an utter reliance on maximum process efficiency. Time-eating project practices— manually populated spreadsheets, hardcopy drawings anchored to the trailer, lack of mobile access to information—were dulling Borrego’s competitive edge and frustrating its employees.

The Solution

Procore’s cloud-based mobility on the jobsite places all project information at the field team’s fingertips, provides remote project visibility to distant stakeholders, and even organizes the data for later strategic analysis. The immediacy of informed jobsite decisions based on real-time project data has been shown to save each field worker an estimated two hours a day—precious time plowed back into project momentum.

The Results

“We ran a field survey— ‘Would you want to use Procore in your next project?’—we had PMs saying, ‘Even if I had to pay for this out of my project budget, I think the savings would outweigh the cost. Yes, we would like to use Procore on our next project!”
Alejandro Fernandez headshot
Alejandro Fernandez, Director of Business Operations
Borrego Solar

Borrego’s Search for Maximum Efficiency

Alejandro Fernandez is the company’s director of Business Operations, which is to say, he’s well situated to comment on emerging energy trends and challenges. “Renewables—and solar in particular—are starting to go head-to-head with some of the traditional fossil fuels,” he says. “But to do that means these projects are getting thinner and thinner from a margin perspective. And so, it becomes critical that we increase the efficiency of our people and get rid of all barriers that prevent them from adding value to the projects every day through their hard work. It requires that we become more dialed into our processes.”

Arial view of a Solar array built by Borrego Solar

Breaking Down Barriers to Speed

When Borrego launched into their Procore pilot, they were looking for a number of things— and found them in short order. “The part about working through the pilot that was very rewarding was being able to impact people’s lives,” Alejandro says. “Being able to eliminate waste from people’s day jobs—that just brought them such fulfillment.” Borrego had been using a well-known ERP system whose shortcomings were actually adding busywork to Borrego’s project processes—Excel spreadsheets, double and triple manual entries, long walks back to the trailer to confirm this or that project factoid. With Procore, project information travels around the site with the worker. “The really big thing is just having mobile access,” Alejandro says. “Our site superintendents had been printing drawings. A question would come up and they would take a picture with their phone and then walk to the trailer—which is in some cases a 20 or 30-minute walk away—to go upload it or email it and put it in an RFI reference drawing. A couple of hours a day is what we quantified during the pilot as potential savings for each of our field team members.”

Arial view of a Solar array built by Borrego Solar

Preventing 20,000 Mistakes

The modular nature of solar builds also means small, repetitive, unchecked mistakes can proliferate in their thousands and be baked into the project, requiring laborious and schedulewrecking rework to fix later. Procore lets you bring granular project data—all of it—with you on the site. “We had an electrical subcontractor,” Alejandro says, “doing wire management on a large rooftop, and the site superintendent noticed material being installed that he didn’t recall having seen or being approved. And so—right there on the site—he went through the submittals that had been uploaded. He didn’t see it.” At the site superintendent’s request, the subcontractor uploaded the material submittal then and there. The material hadn’t been rated for that use and the engineer rejected it. “We were able to catch it quickly, correct it, and get the right material ordered before 20,000 of these things got installed,” Alejandro says. “The ability now for site superintendents to be there in the field, pull those drawings up in real time and look at them with the sub? Priceless.” The granularity of the captured project data also holds out a downstream promise of efficiency. “O&M will be using all this data to manage the assets as well,” Alejandro points out. “Especially when warranty work needs to be done.”

Arial view of a Solar array built by Borrego Solar

“If you give me Procore, I can manage two projects myself.”

Procore’s onsite mobility, immediacy, and transparency so effectively squeeze out the efficiency gaps, the effect can be that of bringing a mountain down to size. “One of our site superintendents was finishing up work on one of our sites. A new project was kicking off at Borrego and that new project was his next assignment. Unfortunately, the schedules were starting to overlap a little bit. The new project would need to start before the current project was finished. We were looking at bringing on a temporary site superintendent during the overlap, so he could start working on the new project.” Alejandro grins. “Mike wrote us back. ‘Look—if you give me Procore on both projects and a subcontractor on both projects who’s active with Procore and knows how to use it, I don’t need that other site super. I’d rather just manage both projects myself.”

The largest private commercial solar and energy storage company in the U.S., Borrego has installed more than 660 megawatts of solargenerated power with 460 megawatts in design and construction since 1980. In addition, they have over 100 MWh of energy storage built or in the planning phases. Borrego’s O&M team presently has more than 750 MW of utility-scale and commercial systems under management, including many projects built by Borrego’s competition.

Location

San Diego, CA

Primary Industry

Commercial and Utility-Scale Solar and Energy Storage

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