Rugged Laptops in Renewable Energy: Enhancing Field Operations and Efficiency

Renewable energy companies, including manufacturers, generation providers, contractors, consultants, and engineers for renewable energy projects, are at the heart of the energy transition. Incorporating technology that supports a more sustainable future for field operations is an important step in building an end-to-end business model focused on decarbonization and responsible resource usage.

Rugged laptops may seem like a small change to operations, but it can bring significant benefits to sustainability efforts. Portable devices are critical for renewable energy technicians in the field. Laptops use less energy than desktops, and it makes environmental and financial sense to have them as the primary computer for employees who constantly move between offices and field operations.

But technology for a sustainable technology goes beyond energy consumption. Here are key enhancements that technology aimed at a more sustainable future can offer:

Reducing Environmental Impact Through E-Waste Reduction

Limiting landfill waste and consumption of resources is crucial to running more sustainable operations.  That’s why Panasonic’s TOUGHBOOK rugged computers are a preferred choice for renewable energy businesses; these rugged laptops and 2-in-1 devices are durable and reliable even under harsh conditions.  TOUGHBOOK devices with modular design enable the device often to be retrofitted for new applications without buying a new machine. Rugged mobile devices stay in service significantly longer than consumer-grade counterparts, contributing to less landfill waste, and our printed circuit boards (PCBs) can often be repaired rather than replaced. We also offer a recycling program to help you safely and responsibly manage your end-of-life devices.

Adding to the environmental benefits of TOUGHBOOK laptops is their remarkable longevity. In comparison to consumer-grade devices, which often last less than a year under similar field conditions, rugged laptops have an average lifespan of 5 to 7 years. Furthermore, the failure rate of TOUGHBOOK devices is notably lower, boasting a 3% failure rate, which is the lowest in the industry for laptops. In contrast, consumer devices can fail up to 7.5x more frequently. This stark difference in failure rates highlights the robustness and reliability of rugged laptops, aligning with sustainable practices by reducing the frequency of device replacements and minimizing the impact on environmental resources. Such reliability is essential for ensuring uninterrupted operations and avoiding the productivity losses that are often associated with device failures.

Sustainable technology reduces e-waste from your company that goes to landfills

TOUGHBOOK rugged laptops meet certifications such as MIL-STD-810G for environmental resilience and IP65 for water resistance. This means they can withstand rain and mud, drops and vibrations, and extreme temperatures. This toughness is vital for field technicians to successfully complete operations at solar farms, wind farms, and other renewable energy installations located in remote areas. Solar and wind installations are, by their nature, sited in sunny and windy locations, so technology used by field crews must be capable of handling those conditions as well.

Rugged laptops like the TOUGHBOOK series can accomplish the work required while minimizing breaking, failing, or needing multiple replacements that generate waste and use more resources.

Another key to reducing waste is choosing a rugged laptop to handle a variety of tasks in the field. Rather than having multiple devices — using metals and plastics and drawing additional electricity — renewable energy companies’ technology should include customizations and accessories to truly be an all-in-one solution.

TOUGHBOOK rugged modular laptops deliver exactly this capability with their adapters, chargers, hand and shoulder straps, and more. Field service technicians can retrofit their TOUGHBOOK devices based on the needs of the specific application using a comprehensive range of xPAK expansion modules. Taken together, these features allow renewable energy companies to consolidate their needs more into a single device, ultimately reducing overall resource consumption and contributions to landfill waste.

Enhancing Resource Efficiency and Sustainable Practices

We’ve mentioned that Panasonic builds TOUGHBOOKs for a long service life and offers out-of-warranty support for even longer. But no device can last forever, so it’s important that renewable energy companies integrate specific sustainable actions into their technology strategies. Panasonic provides a free recycling program for devices when they reach the end of their useful life. We also partner with Call2Recycle for standalone battery recycling. Keeping these materials out of landfills is vital for environmental health and supporting sustainability efforts. Additionally, Panasonic prioritizes the use of recycled plastics and metals in the manufacturing process for TOUGHBOOK devices — a key step in your company’s journey toward a circular supply chain.

Streamlining ESG Metrics Reporting

Organization-wide impacts are more important than ever because all functions of a renewable energy business — from technology to fleet management to employee safety — matter for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics.

Reporting on these metrics has become standard practice for large companies — especially given the impending disclosures of climate data to the SEC. However, smaller organizations without a corporate board structure to report to must also consider these factors. In today’s competitive labor market, younger workers are critical to building a robust and enduring workforce. Now, these critical workers are turning down offers from companies that don’t meet their expectations on sustainability metrics. For renewable energy businesses, a reputation for sustainability is essential.

Technology that reduces waste and enhances resource efficiency plays a pivotal role in supporting an organization’s ESG metrics while also making it a more appealing workplace. TOUGHBOOK devices carry certifications like ENERGY STAR and EPEAT, which provide important third-party validations for ESG reporting. And, they support all aspects of an environmentally conscious approach to renewable energy operations.

Building a More Sustainable Future

Renewable energy companies are driving the energy transition. The renewable energy sector is robustly supported by utilities, renewable energy manufacturers, generation companies, third-party contractors, and consultants & engineers. These diverse groups are deeply integrated into renewable energy projects, contributing significantly to the industry’s advancements. For these companies, providing sustainable technology to employees and accounting for all their potential environmental impacts is not only responsible but recommended as standard practice.

Technology aimed at enhancing sustainability reduces waste and costs by extending devices’ useful lives. As power generation becomes more complex and distributed, utilities and renewable energy companies are laser-focused on developing innovative, reliable installations that can be managed with a skilled workforce and the right technology tools. Our rugged mobile solutions are critical tools in your efforts to create a more sustainable future by helping to streamline the management, maintenance and repair of your portfolio of renewable power generation resources across geographic regions.

By enhancing their field operations with rugged laptops, renewable energy companies are demonstrating their commitment to making a positive impact on our planet today and in the future.

Learn more about how Panasonic TOUGHBOOK improve sustainability for energy companies.