When you’ve had a solar photovoltaic system set up, the work does not stop upon the completion of its installation.
Your solar power equipment will require ongoing operations and maintenance services to function according to its ideal capacity.
The top cause of downtime frequency is ageing equipment.
To reduce the risk of equipment failure and downtime, we highly recommend employing operations and maintenance services the soonest as possible!
To learn all about it, check out our quick guide.
Benefits of Entering into a Solar Operations and Maintenance Agreement
There are a lot of benefits to gain from solar panels, like lower electric bills and reducing your carbon footprint. You might be interested to know how to install a solar panel.
An operations and maintenance agreement between the solar plant owners, operators, and the third-party O&M provider has to be duly written and signed to get that in place.
Entering into a solar operations and maintenance agreement (OMA) will provide you with not only legal protection but also the following:
Agreeing to an OMA ensures that the solar plant is maintained and operated optimally. This improved and increased system performance leads to higher energy yield, thus, gaining better financial returns.
With an OMA in place, the operations and maintenance service provider can identify and fix issues before they can affect the system’s performance. That means downtime is minimised, and lost revenue is avoided.
Regular preventive maintenance is also financially beneficial to reduce the chances of unplanned system downtime and the need for replacements and repairs. Naturally, maintenance also extends the life of your solar equipment.
And because your solar plant is well-maintained, an OMA, in essence, helps increase the asset value of your solar equipment because of the decreased depreciation expense.
With a solar OMA usually stating a fixed annual or monthly fee, owners and operators can easily budget for O&M costs. Predictable costs help investors and business owners measure and ensure a good return on their investment.
Learn about solar panels maintenance cost here.
In conclusion, solar operations and maintenance agreements help maximise the return on investment in a solar plant, so owners and operators can achieve their financial goals much faster.
As mentioned earlier, an OMA greatly improves system performance with the help of the O&M providers being able to spot issues before causing serious problems.
We notice how regular inspections and maintenance work ensures the solar plant components work efficiently. Thus, optimal energy production and reduced energy losses are benefited.
OMAs also require enhanced monitoring and reporting of solar performance. Find out how solar photovoltaic work.
O&M service providers can gather data on energy production, equipment performance, and maintenance activities. We can use this to identify trends so a solar plant’s performance can be optimised better over time.
Knowledge of this data also allows room for proactive maintenance for maximum efficiency. This includes cleaning panels, replacing worn-out parts, and checking connections.
Lastly, OMAs ensure your solar plant is operating safely and compliant with local regulations. Identifying potential hazards during maintenance checks is crucial for the safety of your workspace and people.
Solar energy, as we know, is a clean and renewable energy source. It does not emit harmful greenhouse gases that are the culprits of climate change.
By maintaining your solar plants, you are reducing your carbon footprint.
OMAs ensuring maximum efficiency also mean less demand for fossil fuels and non-renewable resources. Solar power requires little to no water and other natural resources.
As a result, you contribute to the conservation of natural resources and the reduction of environmental impact.
Plus, agreeing to an OMA means parties involved must abide by the regulations strictly, especially when disposing of waste products. This can greatly help prevent accidental spills and leaks.
We encourage industries to enter into operations and maintenance agreements for the positive public support it can create. Renewable energy needs to be involved in more conversations nowadays, for the earth’s sake!
What to Look for in a Solar Operations and Maintenance Agreement
Here are the key components in a solar OMA to look out for and be familiar with:
Type of Equipment
These components are maintained and optimised, reducing costs and increasing returns. Some common equipment types listed are:
- Solar Panels – the heart of the solar photovoltaic system where solar energy is gathered.
- Power Inverters – these convert DC power generated by the panels into AC power used in homes and businesses.
- Mounting Systems – these hold the panels in place. They must be secure and stable.
- DC/AC Combiner Boxes – these boxes combine DC power into a single output which is then sent to an inverter.
- Electrical Wiring and Connections – as with any device or equipment, we must ensure they are secure to prevent accidents.
- Monitoring and Control Systems – this may be in the form of software that checks the performance of the solar plant.
- Batteries – energy storage.
Here are the common costs listed in a solar OMA:
- Preventative Maintenance – covers for cleaning solar panels, checking electrical connections, and replacing worn or damaged components.
- Corrective Maintenance – the cost of repairing or replacing components that are no longer functioning correctly.
- Monitoring and Reporting – cost for generating reports on energy production, equipment performance, and maintenance activities.
- Warranty and Insurance – the cost of warranties and insurance coverage in case of damages.
- Administrative and Overhead – the cost of managing the O&M contract, including billing and invoicing.
- Emergency Response– the cost of responding to emergencies, usually during severe weather conditions.
Responsibilities of the Contractor
The job of the contractor should involve some or all of the following tasks:
- Identify problems and develop corrective action plans.
- Schedule and execute preventive and predictive maintenance.
- Visit and inspect project sites to perform installations, repairs, maintenance, oversight, and modifications as required.
- Perform electric, hydraulic, mechanical, and software component inspections, testing, repair, and troubleshooting.
- Provide reports from field operations, status, and constructive feedback.
- Respond to emergency calls.
- Ensure that all O&M activities are compliant.
- Record and report all faults, deficiencies, and other unusual occurrences, and account for time and materials expended on work orders.
- Be responsible for all warranty claims.
Negotiations and Considerations
The following details in the OMA can be negotiated and agreed upon by the parties involved:
The contract length of an OMA will vary depending on the determined period agreed upon by the parties involved.
Apart from the costs listed in the previous segment of this article, contractor profit margins are necessary information that needs to be discussed. These are often built into the overall cost of the OMA.
The following are some of the key performance considerations that should be included in the agreement:
- Performance Guarantees – the minimum level of solar energy production the operator guarantees to measure the owner’s return on investment.
- Maintenance Schedule – outlines the schedule for regular maintenance work, which includes routine cleaning, inspection, and repair.
- Response Time – the maximum time the contractor addresses repairs and maintenance.
- Monitoring and Reporting – requires the operator to provide regular reports on the solar power system’s performance. This should include data on energy production, system efficiency, and other issues.
- Warranty – ensures that any defects or issues are covered during the warranty period, reducing the risk for the owner.
Installing a solar photovoltaic system for your home or business has a lot of benefits.
In doing so, you are also helping the earth heal by reducing your share in carbon emissions. If you haven’t installed one yet, look into our solar PV installation course.
A solar operations and maintenance agreement is integral to owning the solar power system.
We hope this article has provided much information about why you must get into one now.