Solar power plants require only low maintenance. But low maintenance doesn’t mean no maintenance!
So, the question is: For such maintenance, can you make do with your existing staff, do you need a dedicated team in your company, or do you need an external set of professionals?
Maintenance can be done by your existing team of workers (who are employed for other activities), if you have a rooftop solar power plant of a small capacity, say less than 10 kW.
Should your rooftop solar power plant be much larger (say greater than 300 kW), you might want to have perhaps one person dedicated to monitor the power output, check cables and sub-components, and supervise regular maintenance such as panel cleaning.
However, if it is a large rooftop solar power plant or a ground mounted solar power farm, O&M is best left to solar experts.
Usually an expert solar O&M team is trained in preventive maintenance of your power plants rather than just the usual break and fix maintenance routine. The external O&M team also deals with warranty and inventory management for the power plants. All these will ensure that the energy yield from the power plant is optimized and the returns to your investment is maximized.
Whether you use an internal or external team, ensure that they are well trained for the following:
- Use of automated monitoring systems for the solar power plants that provide alerts and updates to the web and smartphones,
- A trained eye to spot problems, and
- Have undergone training on how to clean modules in an effective manner.
Effective maintenance can increase output of your solar power by up to 5% for 25 long years. A huge bonus for just ensuring that you put in the right people and systems!