Solar Delivery Options for Distributors, Manufacturers and Contractors

Larry Bernstein

November 20, 2021

Larry Bernstein

The United States solar energy market has experienced tremendous growth over the last few years. With many concerned about the environment and looking to reduce their carbon footprint, it’s no surprise that markets project high demand for solar power to continue. Evidence of the increasing use of solar panels is visible by driving through neighborhoods across the country. Delivery of a PV solar system can be a challenge since solar panels are heavy and delicate.

So, how can a PV installer, licensed builder, or licensed electrical contractor be confident that solar equipment will be successfully delivered to their customer? Let’s look at the option distributors, manufacturers, and contractors for solar delivery.

PV Modules, Panels, Railing, Wiring and Hardware

Whether you’re a distributor, manufacturer, or contractor, sending your products - modules, panels, railings, wiring, hardware, etc. – through the supply chain, you want to feel confident that delivery will be handled professionally. Everyone wants to wow their customers, and nothing disappoints or causes more headaches than a damaged product.

Curri specializes in moving construction-related equipment, including solar panels and the accompanying modules, railing, wiring, and hardware. Our professional fleet takes pride in transporting equipment, no matter the size or delicate nature. We handle it with care. Therefore, Curri can help you deliver solar PV equipment from point A to B and enable you to keep your promises and peace of mind.

Transport Options for Every Stage in the Supply Chain

Snags in the supply chain in the United States have been reported in the news. Moving items, such as solar panels through the supply chain, takes the coordination of all those involved in including truckers, drivers, rail, and more. Therefore, if one entity in the supply chain is off, the whole process is impacted, and empty shelves become a reality. This lack of reliability is frustrating for manufacturers, distributors, and everyone else involved in the process, including the end customer.

For those solar installers who are counting on having solar equipment shipped and delivered to them, the lack of reliability is particularly disappointing. If they do not receive the equipment to install, jobs may be delayed and even lost.  

Last Mile: Local Job Site Delivery

Viewed as particularly challenging as it relates to logistics, last-mile delivery is difficult to navigate for stores. Drivers are handling all types of items, yet one thing they have in common is they are time-sensitive. And in the case of solar panels, delicate. So, transport of these items needs to be done carefully.

If you are a contractor at a local job site waiting for solar systems from a distributor, your only concern is getting the product on time. The challenges involved in delivery are for someone else.

Middle Mile: Regional Couriers

Before the solar equipment gets to your local brick and mortar store, distributors and manufacturers need to move it there from a warehouse or distribution center. Transporting items between these two entities is just as important a part of the process. After all, a local retailer (even if it’s a chain) can not stock panels, modules, and railing needed for solar installation without reliable transport between themselves and the warehouse. The product can be stuck in massive distribution centers while end customers are waiting.

This is where regional couriers come in. They tend to have high on-time delivery rates, better knowledge of local areas, and faster delivery times (than national couriers). By utilizing, these services distributors and manufacturers can feel confident that solar equipment is moving along the chain.

Freight Shipping: LTL and FTL, Straight Trucks and Semis

LTL (less than truckload) is a way to ship freight via semis. Multiple shippers’ freight is transported on the same trailer. On the other hand, there’s FTL (full truckload). Like LTL, FTL typically uses semis though straight trucks may also be used.

Transporting freight via LTL tends to be more reasonable cost-wise. However, the freight may be loaded and unloaded from trailers and warehouses multiple times before reaching its destination. The excess handling of the product means there’s a greater chance something could be damaged. This is particularly concerning when it comes to transporting solar panels since as noted, they are sensitive.    

On-Demand Direct: Hotshot Transportation

As needed or on-demand direct shipping is when freight is shipped directly to their destination rather than to an interim location such as a warehouse or distribution center. It is sent on demand and could be a one-shot deal. Distributors or manufacturers often use it for some of their most important and time-sensitive deliveries since it skips the middle mile.  To ensure this transportation mode saves time means hotshot drivers need to be found quickly. If so, customers will be impressed by the speedy delivery, and the one-shot deal can turn into something much more.

Another advantage of hotshot transportation when it comes to solar panels and solar PV systems is that there is less handling of them in this mode. This means the solar equipment should arrive at its destination in fine condition. Therefore, it can continue along its journey and get to solar installers quickly and ready to be placed on the roof.

Curri Can Handle Anything

Curri can handle sensitive PV solar system equipment and make sure it gets to its destination quickly, reliably, and professionally. Our array of drivers can move solar panels through every stage in the supply chain in the entire continental United States. Whether for a one-way hotshot or a regular route, we can deliver solar energy systems and other construction equipment from point A to point B. From manufacturer to doorstep, we've got your delivery needs covered.

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