November 16, 2023

Exploring Cutting-Edge Solutions for Commercial Electrical Contractors


6 Min. Read

Developed countries are going through one of the most significant energy revolutions in history with the process of electrification, and opportunities abound for electrical commercial contractors to capitalize on new trends, but there is a need to adopt modern solutions.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the top solutions contractors can adopt to support commercial electrification, create value, and differentiate themselves.

The Modern Challenges Faced by Commercial Contractors

The changing market is creating challenges for commercial electrical contractors who find themselves unprepared to navigate electrification projects with ease and at-scale. With $133 billion in private investments for the renewable energy sector in 2023, projects tend to increase in scope and complexity, requiring advanced expertise in new areas.

Electrical commercial contractors must also adapt to quickly charging expectations and code requirements regarding sustainable practices and when customers expect transparency and measurable results, as well as data-driven evidence that supports the adoption of sustainable energy systems, it can be easy for contractors find themselves feeling overwhelmed and underprepared to meet these expectations and take advantage of energy transition technology opportunities.

The regulatory environment is another challenge that requires contractors to adapt to changing regulations, including local rules, licensing, and permits for electrification. In some areas, the lack of existing regulations can make it challenging to determine the best practices and safety procedures.

Labor shortage remains one of the top challenges, with 80,000 new electricians needed yearly to support electrification, and existing electrical commercial contractors need to invest in training to keep up with the latest tech disruptions such as smart grids, energy management systems, or the Internet of Things (IoT).

The Benefits of Smart Grid and Energy Management Systems

As electrification projects grow in complexity, the demand for smart energy management systems is supporting the development of a market that could be worth $103.9 billion by 2028.

Electrical commercial contractors can unlock new opportunities by becoming familiar with how modern energy systems can be applied and are using technology to effectively manage the production, storage, and distribution of energy. Use cases include reducing costs, optimizing efficiency, and modernizing the electrical grid infrastructure by integrating off-grid assets such as solar arrays.

Components include sensors that collect data at multiple points, automated controls, or decision-making software. Capabilities such as managing battery storage levels, determining the most cost-effective and efficient energy source in real-time, and switching between power sources based on this analysis will be crucial to integrating renewables into the energy infrastructure and supporting the adoption of the pro-consumer model, where consumers are also energy producers.

Businesses, utilities, and municipalities will increasingly adopt smart energy management systems to build a flexible infrastructure that integrates local energy production and increases resilience. Opportunities will only increase as more EV manufacturers offer vehicles with bidirectional charging, a technology that turns EV batteries into a portable source of energy that can be connected to the grid.

Adoption of Building Information Modeling (BIM)

Becoming an expert in building information modeling will open new doors for electrical commercial contractors, especially in commercial markets.

BIM refers to the collection and use of data to gain visibility over several processes and building systems. Contractors can use BIM to create 3D models of wiring systems, assess performance, and optimize designs. Working with these digital resources can help design buildings that use less energy or integrate complex electrification systems.

The BIM market has a projected annual growth of more than 12% and will be instrumental in supporting the widespread adoption of eco-friendly buildings. BIM is already revolutionizing the construction industry, and contractors who fail to take advantage of this technology and integrate it into their plans will quickly find themselves falling behind their competition.

Adopting BIM can prepare contractors for joining modern design teams that work on complex projects. Using these standardized digital design files improves collaboration with other teams and supports multiple project management goals, such as reducing costs and shortening project completion times.

The Internet of Things and Connected Devices

The IoT makes quality data available to everyone by adopting open systems that allow for the seamless transference of information between different devices, regardless of program platform, manufacturer, or device. This technology facilitates the adoption of advanced energy management solutions while empowering users to make data-driven decisions.

For electrical commercial contractors, learning to integrate IoT devices into energy systems could open new opportunities as the IoT establishes itself as a major electrification trend for the future.

The IoT will become more important as utilities implement an open system where connected devices can easily communicate with each other. This model will support data collection at the edge with the IoT, creating visibility over residential energy use, EV chargers, batteries, solar arrays, and more. Data collection at the edge will result in a more responsive infrastructure that better adapts to fluctuating demand.

Electrical commercial contractors can differentiate themselves by learning to design and implement customized IoT systems that solve unique problems. Examples include real-time monitoring, remote control, predictive maintenance, outage detection, or more accurate billing.

Sustainability Solutions: Solar, Wind, and Energy Storage

A quarter of the electricity produced in the U.S. now comes from renewables. Solar is leading the way, representing half of new energy production projects. As grid-scale and commercial projects continue to grow, the energy infrastructure is increasingly relying on clean energy on a large scale.

There are multiple opportunities for electrical commercial contractors willing to acquire new skills and certifications, ranging from solar PV installation to integrating smart solutions. These projects also create opportunities for steady revenues with maintenance plans.

Battery storage is another area with interesting opportunities to explore as renewable energy solutions don’t produce energy 24/7, which means there is a need to store produced energy for later use.

Battery technology has evolved and is more affordable and efficient than ever before. Battery Energy Storage Solutions (BESS) are emerging as a tangible solution for businesses, municipalities, and utilities. Installing these systems can create value for customers looking to increase resiliency, manage costs, and use clean energy.

Training and Safety: Embracing Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

Augmented and virtual reality could become important differentiators for electrical commercial contractors. AR and VR technologies can blend the real and the virtual to create interactive design and training experiences for electricians without the usual learning curve and any hazards of working with new electrical systems.

AR and VR make training accessible and affordable, cutting down on your expenses and ensuring your electricians can avoid costly mistakes in the field. These technologies also open up new possibilities for remote learning experiences and can help with information retention by providing apprentices with realistic training scenarios and risk-free hands-on experience on their schedule.

This approach to training feels immersive and can increase engagement. Additional benefits include faster training, better information recall, and increased safety once apprentices enter the workforce. This can also create avenues for experienced electricians to refresh their skills and easily learn and become familiar with new energy transition technologies and safety requirements.

AR/VR is one of the many technologies that generally require a partnership with an industry leader for successful adoption due to its complexity in establishing comprehensive training programs that address all facets needed for a rigorous training and educational program.

Partnerships for the Future

The future holds many growth opportunities for electrical commercial contractors if they take advantage of the possibilities energy transition projects can open. Now is the right time to explore modern solutions, including energy management systems, BIM, the IoT, and AR/VR to stay ahead of the curve and prepare your business for the future of electrification.

Acquiring expertise will give you a competitive edge when it comes to creating value and identifying unique use cases. You can prepare for the future now by seeking training and building partnerships with forward-looking businesses.

As a trusted electrification leader, Qmerit can help you take advantage of future opportunities with training, business coaching, and more. Get started by learning more about renewable energy trends for electrical contractors and contact Qmerit today to learn more about joining the most trusted network of certified electrical contractors in North America!

Author: David Santillo

David Santillo

Senior Vice President, Contractor Support