Everything is going good on the front of Strategy, Innovation, and Global Partnerships for our nation. Our solar power capacity is growing through leaps and bounds. Even “India’s Green Vision” is narrated through Solar Power and on its course to achieve 500 GW of green energy by 2030. So what needs to be done to ensure this course? The answer boils down to Solar PV panels operation & Maintenance.
Operation & Maintenance (O&M) is the bedrock to ensure that the solar power system gives the best possible generation. It has to be a regular practice, as it improves the equipment’s life by preventing excess depreciation and impairment.
Now it comes to what Solar O&M means in detail:
Operations & Maintenance, generally referred to as O&M services, is a set of activities or programs that deals with the practices, tasks, and resources that help systems run efficiently. Technically, it has three basic operations:
- It identifies problems rapidly and resolves it
- Minimizes the downtime that occurs due to frequent faults
- It reports every system issue
In this write-up, we will analyze how the phenomenon of O&M works with the solar PV plants and optimize them to produce energy for a longer time.
It has become a significant separate market segment from its engineering, procurement, and construction service.
As per the report, Global non-residential solar operations and maintenance (O&M) spend is expected to hit US$15 billion by 2030. (Source: Saur Energy International)
Solar PV is one of the most resilient energy generation technologies operational in the market. But as it deteriorates over time through multiple factors, it can negatively impact its performance. This holds more relevant with a standard residential installation, as excessive dust build-up results in a dip in production, ultimately leading to a loss more on solar savings.
Those losses tend to increase more as the size of the Solar PV system grows. This is why utility-scale solar farms invest in daily cleaning to maximize facility-wide power production.
However, panel cleaning is just one aspect of Maintenance. And for most solar systems, it represents the lowest-hanging fruit. More advanced servicing includes:
- Regular systems inspections
- PV panel repositioning
- Inverter maintenance
- Grid reconnections
Different aspects of solar PV operations include:
Administration: It ensures the optimal use and changes in Solar O&M activities
Conducting Operations: It includes daily operations of the system so that it can work on its maximum efficiency to deliver maximum efficiency, minimize cuts, and adjust settings such as electricity factor
Monitoring: It monitors the plant’s yield, compares it with the daily load, and raises a warning in case of any decrease in the daily production of a solar PV company.
Different aspects of solar PV maintenance include:
Preventative Maintenance: It includes frequent checks & inspections of equipment to avoid breakdowns and production losses
Corrective Maintenance: It includes prompt repairing to minimize unplanned downtime
Condition-based Maintenance: Generally, it refers to predictive Maintenance. This process is carried out based on a detailed analysis of some parameters of the degradation of an item. The solar O&M service team performs this through regular checks, forecasts, and data analysis through data analytics.
Importance of Preventive Maintenance
It is regarded as the core maintenance service for a solar module company, which comprises frequent checks & inspections of all the plant activities. Preventive maintenance is quintessential as it is not carried out when a problem emerges. It is carried out at infrequent intervals to ensure the system’s best performance. The preventive maintenance fends off upcoming breakdowns and saves a lot of capital. All the operations related to cleaning also come under preventive Maintenance.
Now, look at the advantages of the preventive Maintenance:
- It reduces the time invested in component repairing and saves the replacement costs
- Puts an end to downtime
- It paves the way for an efficient, better inventory management
- It ensures the long life of components because of improved operational practices.
Importance of Corrective Maintenance
Corrective maintenance involves any activity related to restoring a solar PV plant system, equipment, or component to an earlier functioning state. It emerges after fault detection by remote monitoring or inspection. It can sort any live issue at the site so that operations can continue to work efficiently.
These are advantages associated with corrective Maintenance:
- Any fault cause and location can be identified and solved accordingly
- It reduces the short term costs
- It paves the way for minimum Maintenance
The Roadmap to Conclusion
Regular Solar PV operations and Maintenance ensure a photovoltaic system’s high technical, operational, safety, and economic performance throughout its lifespan. In totality, it maximizes the overall return on investment (ROI). Furthermore, it nullifies most of the potential risk and maximises production.
The latest modules have a life span of about 20 years as per the market standards. Hence Solar O&M services are required to maximize the potential & performance of the plant for a longer time. As the whole world is aiming at increase their green energy production, countries are coming up with large plant sizes and developers are looking forward to maximize their output to better performance levels through regular Solar O&M services checks.