PV power plants are not maintenance free; they require a regimen of continual monitoring, periodic inspection, scheduled preventive maintenance, and service calls. These actions address unplanned outages, repair and restart, and various O&M activities needed to enhance long term up-time, performance, and economic viability. Experienced O&M providers are fully equipped to provide ongoing operations and maintenance services to ensure peak efficiency for utility solar systems.
There are several major approaches for handling the O&M of solar PV systems, each with different system efficiency and system/component lifespan tradeoffs. At their core, each approach, listed below, attempts to achieve the three key aims of an effective O&M strategy: to reduce costs while improving availability and increasing productivity. Below is an image depicting the process (cycle).
Operations & Maintenance Cycle
O&M Program Highlights
Preventative Maintenance (PM)
- Panel Cleaning
- Vegetation Management
- Wildlife Prevention
- Water Drainage
- Retro-Commissioning – Retro-commissioning identifies and solves problems that have developed during the course of the PV system’s life. This includes I-V curve testing.
- Upkeep of Data Acquisition and Monitoring Systems (e.g., Electronics, Sensors)
- Upkeep of Power Generation System (e.g., Inverter Servicing, BOS Inspection, Tracker Maintenance )
- On-Site Monitoring/Mitigation
- Critical Reactive Repair – Critical reactive repairs address production losses issues
- Non-Critical Reactive Repair – Non-critical reactive repairs address production degradation issues
- Warranty Enforcement
Condition-Based Maintenance (CBM)
- Active Monitoring—Remote and On-Site Options
- Warranty Enforcement (Planned and Unplanned)
- Equipment Replacement (Planned and Unplanned)