Reden Solar began as an offshoot of Fonroche Solaire, a company founded in 2008. Fonroche Solaire originally specialized in photovoltaic panels, managing the entire production cycle from design to implementation and site maintenance. The company later diversified into biogas and methanation, and split into two separate entities:
• Reden Solar, specialized in designing, implementing, maintaining and operating photovoltaic panel sites;
• Fonroche, which maintains its biogas and methanation operations
Today, Reden Solar employs around 100 people and manages 550 photovoltaic power plants , 515 of which are in France alone. Our Madrid office supervises the company’s international operations, covering Central and South America, India, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. The company has grown significantly in recent years, with revenues totaling several million Euros this year.
We have 2 teams of technicians.
Reden Solar’s operations consist of installing and maintaining photovoltaic agricultural greenhouses, ground stations, shading structures for parking lots, and solar panels on industrial rooftops.
Reden Solar has grown rapidly. Before we began using Praxedo’s solution , our maintenance and operations departments had a very basic way of working. As Coordinator, I managed my technicians’ work orders using Excel spreadsheets.
Our 4 operations managers are responsible for monitoring the photovoltaic sites and generating a work order whenever a problem or outage is detected at a particular station. Previously, they would provide a paper copy of the work order to the technician, who then carried out their service call and followed up verbally, usually by phone. The operations managers used a monitoring platform to manually track the activities that took place at each photovoltaic site.
This process left plenty of room for error and wasn’t automated. The company also wanted to move away from paper for environmental reasons. As our team of technicians expanded, it became increasingly clear that the way we were working was completely outdated. On the planning side, we encountered the same limitations. With 2,200 service calls to manage a year, our Excel spreadsheets had become pretty complicated to manage.
These challenges convinced our director to implement field service management software. He explored the market, identified several possible suppliers, and chose Praxedo as the best fit.
We have been using Praxedo since 2018.
Optimized scheduling and maintenance
Our operating process is as follows:
Operations managers track production at our photovoltaic sites, using their monitoring tools to identify outages. As soon as a problem is discovered, the operations manager generates a work order request using the Praxedo platform.
As maintenance coordinator, I then use the Praxedo platform to review the requests, create the work orders, and plan my technicians’ schedules using the planning tool on the web interface.
Praxedo allows us to manage high volumes of work orders
I have 10 technicians regularly servicing our 515 photovoltaic sites. On average, a technician will carry out 2 or 3 work orders each day, often at different locations. The mapping tool is especially useful for planning optimal routes and travel times. We’ve come a long way from the Excel spreadsheets.
Efficiently managing recurring service calls as well as emergencies
Technicians make routine visits, recurring service calls (preventive) as well as respond to emergency calls (curative). Praxedo’s scheduling interface helps us manage all types. It’s super easy to schedule recurring maintenance for a particular client, site, or piece of equipment.
The mobile app makes life easier for our maintenance technicians
Our technicians manage their service calls using the mobile app on their mobile phones. They receive work orders containing all the information they need, including the customer’s contact details. They can also see the history for jobs on each panel they are inspecting or repairing.
Forms customized to the type of work order
We can customize work orders the way we want – for example, the rooftop plan for an industrial building where panels are installed can be added to a specific work order and not others.
We use different forms for preventive vs curative service calls, which generate different reports. These are preconfigured, so technicians just need to capture the information in the app. It’s easy and fast, and prevents errors and omissions. If a field isn’t completed correctly, they cannot move on to the next. That ensures the procedures we put in place are followed.
Time-stamped and geocoded photos in work order reports
Another very important element for us is that technicians can add before and after photos of the panel they have worked on into their work order reports. Photos are automatically geocoded and time stamped. In terms of traceability, this feature has allowed us to make a huge leap in service quality.
Once the work order is complete and the form is filled out, the technician signs the form digitally, directly in the mobile app. The work order report is then automatically synched in real time to be used by the team at the main office. The Operations Manager validates the work order using the Praxedo work order management platform, and with one click, emails the work order report to the client.
The main benefit of Praxedo’s field service management software is being able to efficiently track work orders.
We have access to every photo, all the information captured by every technician during service calls, and a history of the work carried out on each piece of equipment. From an operations standpoint, it has changed our lives. For every work order, we know exactly what our technicians have done, where, and when; and can explain our actions to customers when necessary.
Having access to work order history means technicians are better prepared for service calls. Knowing how past outages were resolved, they can resolve customers’ issues much more easily. It’s definitely an advantage for Reden Solar in terms of service.
Praxedo helps us optimize technicians’ workflows, and management appreciates having an account of every service call conducted.
Better customer service thanks to work order reports with photos
With comprehensive work order reports that include photos, we appear more professional. Since we began using Praxedo, customers clearly view Reden Solar in a more positive light. They are reassured when they receive reports and photos promptly – they know what we’re doing, as well as when and how we’re doing it. Customers really appreciate our quick and clear follow-up, and they perceive Reden Solar as a modern, efficient company.
It’s also important to mention how using Praxedo has allowed us to minimize customer disputes. Customers tend not to argue when presented with a complete report with before and after photos as proof. Our customer interactions are a lot smoother now.
So easy to use, everyone was on board right away
Uptake of the mobile app was immediate – we introduced it over a two-week test period with three digitally-savvy technicians, then deployed it across the rest of our teams. In a month and a half, including the training period, the transition was complete. There was no debate; technicians immediately recognized how Praxedo’s solution could benefit them. Now, not one of them would go back to paper.
I feel the same. Before Praxedo, we received feedback from technicians verbally and there was a lot of back and forth. Digital work order reports make the Operations Managers’ jobs – and mine – a lot more straightforward. We’re on top of our planning, our equipment, and our customers.
Loads of time saved planning work orders
Nothing on earth would make me want to go back to the old way of doing things. I’m done with Excel. The Praxedo interface allows me to see, at a glance, the status of all our current and upcoming operations.
The mapping tool really simplifies planning in that we can easily fit an emergency call between two regularly scheduled maintenance calls. We just need to check technician availability and location in the tool.
Reden Solar is expanding. We are continuously adding sites, and expect to hire more technicians in the near future. We also anticipate relying more on sub-contractors.
We would like for Praxedo to continue to support us as our business grows. As we reflect on our strategy going forward, we are considering equipping our sub-contractors with the Praxedo field service management software as well.
Right now, we’re at an intermediate level of functionality. Sub-contractors carry out service calls and send us their reports by email, and Operations Managers complete the corresponding reports in Praxedo. We’re leaning on everyone having the Praxedo system – that would allow the whole process to be automated. We are actively considering this option.