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The energy turnaround could fail due to a shortage of skilled workers

The upheaval in the energy sector, the energy turnaround, also and above all affects many energy supply companies (EVU), especially in rural areas. It is essential to be able to meet the increasing demand efficiently. And one factor, in addition to the digital setup of the RUs, is service provider acquisition and control. Municipal utilities must now secure the right partners as quickly as possible in order to be competitive in the future.

It is already apparent that the order books of regional craft enterprises are full and that a shortage of skilled workers will have a major impact on the implementation of the planned energy turnaround in the coming years.


The President of the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts, Hans Peter Wollseifer, said in an interview: “We have been warning about the shortage of skilled workers for years. […] After all, the tasks in climate protection, for example, are increasing, for which professionally qualified specialists are absolutely necessary. After all, someone has to install and maintain the solar roofs and renovate the buildings to make them energy-efficient. By the way, we are also the ones who have to implement e-mobility. We keep the e-cars running, build the charging stations.”

It is therefore essential to establish a reliable network of service providers and a functioning system of cooperation as quickly as possible. Our experience shows that two approaches are particularly suitable:


Approach 1: Cooperation with supraregional service providers

One approach for the EVU is to cooperate with a supraregional partner who already brings along a pool of skilled workers and takes over the handling of the order in part or even completely. One such partner connected to the epilot ecosystem is IBC SOLAR.

Through the partnership with IBC SOLAR, users of the epilot platform gain access to over 600 experienced solar installers for the assembly and installation of the photovoltaic systems sold.


Challenges: In addition to many benefits, this approach also brings some challenges that must be taken into account: As a regional energy supplier, customer trust is the most valuable asset. Even when contracting service providers, energy suppliers must continue to operate and monitor a particularly tight quality management system. A sophisticated system is needed to coordinate arrangements between different service providers, installers and customers. An administrative effort that has to be mapped efficiently.


Approach 2: Building the regional craftsmen’s network

The business model and unique selling proposition of municipal utilities is and remains the provision of public services. In addition to their technical expertise, they also have local and regional roots and the on-site knowledge that goes with them.

They bring with them the ideal prerequisites for winning over craft enterprises and establishing cooperations. As a role model within the region, the EVU can thus even drive the expansion of charging infrastructure and solar and inspire other companies to also become specialist partners.

However, the focus of the EVU should not initially be on “more is more”, as the administrative effort increases the more partners have to be managed. Cooperation with 1-2 regional companies or specialists is recommended for the beginning.


Challenge: It is important that operational processes, both internal and external, are smartly controlled and that quality control can be guaranteed at all times. It is thus clear that decentralized service provider control via e-mail and telephone leads to intransparency and inefficiency as demand grows.


Solution: The implementation of digital solutions, such as the epilot partner portal, is essential to ensure efficient collaboration and communication with collaborating partners.

  • Here, the RUs invite their partners to the portal free of charge.
  • In consultation with the partner, the utility defines process steps, stores them and assigns them digitally.
  • Task lists predefined by the RU give the partner an overview of the tasks to be processed.
  • Activity logs, comment functions and the uploading of files in the platform enable transparent documentation of the work steps.
  • Throughput times predefined by the utility for each process step are visualized in a traffic light system, and the transparent overview of the status of the order thus guarantees quality assurance, among other things.
  • A messaging function can be used to communicate directly from the platform with the partner and the customer, for example to arrange on-site appointments such as feasibility checks or even installation dates.

Challenge: Of course, digitization also poses challenges for the skilled trades. Established operational processes need to be broken down, which can be met with initial resistance. But the advantages also outweigh the disadvantages on the executive side. A central platform for all participants leads to faster communication and, among other things, reduces time-consuming, tedious follow-up work. And it will be impossible to imagine processes in the future without it.


Regardless of which scenario utilities may choose, quick action is required to meet the growing demand for energy services. This cannot be achieved without digitized processes and solutions.


Feel free to arrange an initial consultation to learn more about the epilot solution and the epilot partner portal.

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