What Is Solar O&M And Why Do You Need It?

In any industry, operations and maintenance (O&M) are a crucial part of keeping the system running properly and efficiently. The solar industry is no exception and solar operations and maintenance (O&M) services or programs are required in order to maintain a standard level of performance for a solar energy system.

Advantages of module level power electronics in O&M for commercial systems  | Solar Power Portal

Regular servicing helps you to optimize the productivity you get from your solar power plants while reducing costs for maintenance and repair. Compared to most other power generating systems, solar power stations are simple to maintain. However, you need to make sure that you invest in high-quality O&M which is carried out professionally. This is one of the most important ways to make sure that your solar power plant stays in good condition, does not experience unnecessary breakdowns, and runs at peak performance levels.

There are three main aspects to solar O&M — preventative maintenance, corrective maintenance, and condition-based maintenance.

Preventative maintenance (PM)

Preventative maintenance, as the name suggests, includes regular inspection and servicing of your equipment in order to avoid the system from malfunctioning, which can cause unnecessary losses in production. This kind of maintenance takes place before your solar power system has witnessed any sort of breakdown, and the upfront costs associated with it are usually low to moderate.

Corrective maintenance (CM)

Corrective maintenance pertains to corrective action required to be taken after your equipment has already experienced a breakdown. Although this strategy may not appear to cost much on the surface, there is a higher risk of component failure and potentially higher costs on the backend. That can otherwise be avoided more easily with proactive, preventative and condition-based maintenance.

Condition-based maintenance (CBM)

Condition-based maintenance is when your solar power systems are monitored using real-time data. This strategy places a high priority on optimizing operations and maintaining peak performance levels, and can even be done by third-party providers and integrators. However, it comes at a higher cost than the other two strategies of maintenance, but these may actually pay off because your system runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

So, it is safe to say that no matter which strategy you employ, solar O&M is a crucial aspect of your solar power system to ensure that it continues to operate at optimal levels at all times. Timely maintenance significantly reduces the possibility of breakdown and production loss. O&M providers like VEMC can offer planned maintenance schedules to optimize equipment performance and minimise downtimes. Additionally, creating an elaborate breakdown impact analysis of solar plant sites is necessary in order to prepare a priority matrix for spare management and better maintenance.

For more information on our products, feel free to contact us on +91 98199 07445. We would be happy to assist you in finding the best match, based on your requirements. As a leading solar power plant company in India, VEMC provides seamless end-to-end services to its clients. VEMC is ISO 9001:2015 certified and a pioneer in the field of electromechanical engineering products, allied equipment, and services.

O&M Issues in PV Solar Energy

Solar PV Operations and Maintenance

Solar power systems have a life-span of 20-25 years which makes their Operations and Maintenance (O&M) very important. This is to maximise energy production and minimise maintenance costs over the lifetime of the system. Maintenance is a continuous process which not only reduces the risks and costs associated with sudden breakdowns, but also keeps the system at prime efficiency levels. Fortunately, solar systems have lower maintenance and servicing requirements as compared to other energy generating technologies. In this blog, we’ll take you through some of the common O&M issues of photovoltaic (PV) solar systems and the approach to deal with them.

Natural Degradation

All solar cells degrade naturally, regardless of the environment they are installed in. However, the rate of degradation depends on the material of the PV panels. For instance, monocrystalline silicon panels have the lowest rate of degradation while copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) panels have one of the highest. Since the material directly affects the cost of the panels, choosing the type of panels is essentially a planning, budgeting and investment decision.

Lightning Protection

Lightning strikes can damage the solar power system by causing a power surge within the array. It is important to have a grounding system in place to redirect the energy from the lightning, away from the panels and into the ground. While the mounting system of the panels itself plays the role of grounding it, the material of the mounting system must be chosen carefully. This also depends on the type of foundation of the system. Besides having a robust grounding system in place, it is advisable to install surge protection equipment for backup safety.

Failure of Components

Cracking of panels and their visual discolouration can affect the efficiency of the panels. Both of these are irreversible damages. High temperatures can damage the solar panels by producing hotspots on them. Inverter downtime is another common issue with PV solar systems and their scheduled maintenance is a critical part of a solar O&M strategy. For static solar panels, ideal panel orientation is necessary to get the highest output. In case of tracking systems, it is important to regularly check the moving parts like gearboxes, motors, and actuators.

Weather Conditions

The environment impacts the durability of PV systems and adequate measures must be taken to offset its effect. For instance, regular cleaning and wiping may be required in windy or arid areas while sloping solar panels can avoid an accumulation of snow in cold regions. In the case of hailstorms, protective covers could be useful to prevent damage to the panels.

That said, it’s absolutely necessary to have an O&M plan in place for your solar plant to alleviate long-term costs. At VEMCO Solar, our valued clients are provided with customized plans to fit all their needs. VEMCO Solar (Check out our story) offers end-to-end solutions and has empanelled channel partners with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India, for solar PV rooftop, small power plant system integrators, and installation. Guided by the knowledge gained by VEMC over 72 years, our aim is to be by your side at every step of the way. VEMC is ISO 9001:2015 certified and a pioneer in the field of electromechanical engineering products, allied equipment, and services. Please feel free to contact us on +91 98199 07445.