Field Service Management for Solar Operation and Maintenance Service (O&M Service)

Field Service Management for Solar Operation and Maintenance Service (O&M Service)

A solar power plant would deliver full return on your investment only if it runs smoothly over its lifetime. The maintenance of solar power plant helps in maximizing its uptime and extends the life of the plant. The solar power supply without any interruptionretains the stream of economic value generated by each kilowatt hour of creation. A proper service and maintenance is very essentialforconfirming optimum performance while minimizing the downtime risks. A properly maintained solar installation can actually achieve 10 to 30% better than one that is not.

With continuous growth and maturity of solar power plants, the industry must focus on its operation and maintenance system. Normally, the lifetime of a solar power plant is expected to be around 25 years or more, and therefore, its safe and proper maintenance is a vital part of successful and reliable operation. Having a logical focus on maximizing return on investment (ROI) and system production, system uptime is the main operation and maintenance or O&M objective. Without proper O&M service, system components could be out of warranties.Also, it can damage individual components and will demandextensive repair work. The unforeseen damages, such as from a bolt of lightning or the cables catching fire because of overheating, may cause losses of up to 10 percent of forecast yields.Certain precautions, such as the necessary cooling of the inverter station, proper cabling, etc., must be carried out professionally. Otherwise,it may cause afailure of individual components as well as invalidate warrantee.As an operator of a solar power plant you must comply with regulations and standards and observe a fixed maintenance schedule with the associated audits.

Ideally, O&M issues should be discussed pre-construction of solar plant. The site manager,who is a part of field service management and work order solutions, administersoverall maintenance and the ordering of equipment and spare-parts. He is also responsible for keeping the communication with landowners, the local electric utility as well as state and local government officials. There are numerous third-party companies who perform O&M services to help stop problems going unobserved and prevent future issues. Usually, a site manager and project technicians work at the plant site.A good field service management firm will have a dedicated team of field-service engineers and technicians who actively supervise the quality and performance of a solar project with effective maintenance. A normal maintenance contractmust include services such as site visits, electrical system checks, solar inverter preventative maintenance, audit energy production, evaluate network voltage and frequency, inventory and spare parts management, environment conditions control and coordinate warranty repairs.

With technological advancement, the solar O&M service companieshave started increasingly using software and monitoring services that helps them proactively pinpoint faults in a system. It also helps them assess the financial benefits of service and maintenance by evaluating repair costs against the value of energy lost. There are some software that can monitor systems in real time and even provide data archival for more than 10 years. This allows plant managers as well as system owners to make intelligent decisions regarding O&M service expenditures. Annual or semi-annual diagnostics and preventive maintenance definitely help in addressing any potentials issues and ensure the system will continue to perform as designed. Therefore, software providing field service management and work order solutions is certainly helpful in improving the service quality as well as ease in maintenance of solar power plant.

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