Building trust and renewables: Alltrade’s recipe for success

How an industrial contractor conquers solar, wind, battery storage, and more.

Building a sterling reputation in the renewable energy sector doesn’t come easy. It takes years of doing things right and building trust. 

For Alltrade Industrial Contractors, its journey to becoming a respected contractor in the field can be traced back to its very inception. Its first major project was performing the electrical scope on a 10MW solar project outside of Ottawa in 2011. From there, the team quickly built up a solid reputation for executing renewable work. Within four years, it had 350 team members working across Ontario, with many focused on utility-scale solar and wind projects during the province’s Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program.  

“We didn’t know much about the market at that point, but we won the electrical self-perform scope and we took that project on,” said Kevin Ritzmann, Alltrade’s Senior Director, Energy. “We learned a lot, and this was just as the FIT program was launching in Ontario. We didn’t really realize how big that would be for us at the time, but we just focused on doing a good job on this first project.”

Banking Experience

With the FIT program in full swing, Alltrade’s growing skills were in high demand.  

“It seemed like all of these projects came at once due to the funding that came in Ontario. They were all very focused and schedule driven—you had to be able to execute on time,” said Ritzmann. “That was the main driver.”

Its renewables resume today is impressive: Alltrade has worked on over 1GW of utility-scale solar projects in Canada, 500MW of wind projects, and 360MWh of Battery Energy Storage (BESS) projects. Some of the most notable are the 102MW Sollair Solar Project, the 300MW Henvey Inlet Wind Project, and the Elmira BESS Project (Alltrade’s first major BESS project), and its first BESS augmentation project.

One key to Alltrade’s success has been its company culture of empowering workers and giving them the necessary resources to achieve their goals. This cuts down on red tape and allows the agile team to move quickly and keep projects on schedule.    

“We have always been very focused on empowering the people, the team members doing the work by providing the right tools, information, and material,” said Ritzmann. “Most people naturally want to do a good day’s work, so supporting them through the challenges of construction so that they can achieve their personal and professional goals builds trust and loyalty over time.”

Growing a Reputation 

Reputation is everything when it comes to renewable projects. Clients have to trust that their contractor will perform quality work on time. One of the ways Alltrade builds trust is by getting involved early on in a project.  

“We are able to provide guidance and advice as well as show our customers ongoing or completed projects so that they can see our work firsthand,” said Ritzmann.

Over time as projects are completed,this success can enhance a company’s   reputation. 

“Having a strong track record of executing work safely, with a high level of quality, and delivery on time is very important when you are talking to owners,” said Ritzmann. “We have been fortunate to have been on many projects over the last 13 years in this industry. We have seen what works and what doesn’t and have been able to avoid many major challenges by having this experience.”

Getting it Done, Together

Alltrade also doesn’t believe in silos. Instead, the company has adopted a partnership mindset with suppliers and subcontractors; a victory for one is a victory for all. 

“We want everyone to be successful on the project so that it’s a win-win-win for all involved. We want to continue working together on the next project and take all the efficiencies gained and lessons learned and apply them moving forward together as a team.  This approach has proven to be very valuable to us over the years in maintaining a good reputation in the industry.”

Working together is especially critical for renewable energy projects, which can be deceptively complex. Executing takes a detailed understanding of the full project process, from permitting and interconnection to detailed design and long-lead procurement. Thinking quickly is essential when challenges arise.

“Once you actually start on site, you have to maintain that assembly line of installation while facing inevitable material delays and geotechnical challenges,” he said. “Knowing what challenges your client will face and avoiding those pitfalls on the front end as much as possible and working together closely with the owner to collectively come up with innovative solutions is how trust is built.”

The entire process is a carefully orchestrated dance that cannot be interrupted. Using solar as an example, Ritzmann explained that sequencing is critical. The civil work has to go first, the pile foundations next, and then your rack and panel installations follow. If you have a log jam in one area, the entire flow gets backed up and problems compound quickly. 

“Scheduling is very important, making physical space for the work on site is important,” said Ritzmann. “And, of course, you can’t install material that you don’t have, and you can’t order the material without a design.”

That’s where Alltrade’s early involvement and collaboration shine. The team can work together to anticipate any potential interruptions and solve them before they happen. 

“We don’t go into a project crossing our fingers,” said Ritzmann. “We have a plan. If you don’t have one when you hit the site, it’s already too late. It’s very difficult to make that time up once you’re in construction, and it’s very, very expensive.”

If you are looking for a trusted partner, Alltrade offers full turn-key Engineer, Procure,and  Construct (EPC) solutions on utility-scale solar and battery energy storage projects up to any system size across Canada. Alltrade offers value by self-performing the electrical scope up to 230kV and above to be able to handle the interconnection process for clients and help manage the overall schedule to complete projects on time. 

Alltrade has experienced estimators, engineering managers, project managers, and construction managers, as well as key superintendents and field supervisors who are involved throughout the construction process.  

Alltrade is supported by its parent company, Barton Malow, which was listed among the top 400 contractors of 2024 by Engineering News-Record (ENR). Barton Malow checks in at No. 19 with $6.4 billion USD in revenue.


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