Achieve Your Solar Asset’s ROI with Operations & Maintenance (O&M)
With the rapid growth of solar and the need for resources to be managed, it is more important than ever to establish an Operations & Maintenance (O&M) contract. Whether the solar site is owned by your company or maintained on behalf of a client, you need the processes in place to effectively maintain the solar asset.
Solar jobs increased 9% nationwide in 2021,1 and the industry experienced another 3.5% growth in jobs from 2021 to 2022.2 O&M has become increasingly popular among site owners who acquire solar assets in a location they’re unable to easily visit – or who don’t have the technical experience to care for the solar assets and site.
Typical O&M Service Plans
Don’t get stuck with a large bill and an even bigger pile of regrets. A solar array is no different than any other investment. It needs attention. To ensure your solar asset is hitting targets, invest in ongoing O&M services.
Daily Production Monitoring
Inverters have the capability to send the data to an online source to show the daily production of the array. Should an issue arise, the users are alerted to action. In most cases, system monitoring will identify trends. Deviations from trends can prevent bigger issues from erupting.
Get people to your site and remedy the issue quickly so the system can get back to producing. The most valuable dispatch services are designated local staff or trusted contractors to handle what needs to be done efficiently.
Annual Site Inspections
Critters love solar, crevasses, and wires. Having an experienced solar electrician and solar installer visit your solar field and comb over the site for cleaning and inspection, and to ensure proper operation of the equipment. This can save you thousands of dollars – and boost production.
Site Issues and Cost Implications
|System Monitoring Malfunction
|Monitoring malfunction leaves the system owner blind to performance and additional system issues
|Tracker Calibration Issues
|Severely impacts system performance with incorrect azimuth
|Up to 80% of revenue loss
|Physical Damage of Modules
|Severely impacts system performance with incorrect azimuth and inefficiencies in operation
|Up to 75% of revenue loss
|Shading Issues (e.g., vegetation, dust, debris, etc.)
|Production loss and safety issues with exposed module parts and electrical components
|Security Issues (e.g., fencing, cameras, defacing property, etc.)
|Inefficiency and safety issues (e.g., electrical fires)
|$100/hour for electrical repair
|Preventative Maintenance (e.g., trackers, modules, electrical components, etc.)
|$75/hour for cleaning
Vetting an O&M Service Provider
It’s important to ask your potential O&M Service provider important questions to identify their level of expertise. Here are a few sample questions to get you started.
- What is your experience with solar energy?
- Do you have experience with this type/size of system?
- What monitoring portal will I use?
- Are you local to the area? If not, how quickly can an issue be resolved?
- Do you have multiple methods of contact if there is an issue?
To learn more about O&M Services, contact Nelnet Renewable Energy's in-house O&M Division at SolarSupport@nelnet.net.