Solar PV Maintenance
WHY MAINTAIN YOUR SOLAR PV SYSTEM?
Solar PV systems are subject to sustained high working loads during peak months. This can place components under considerable stress, it is important that the condition of components are regularly checked to capture early signs of deterioration and premature wear and tear. This can prevent more significant problems later, reducing the possibility of complete breakdown, therefore minimizing downtime and maximizing yield.
HOW COULD MAINTAINING YOUR SOLAR PV SYSTEM BENEFIT YOUR BUSINESS?
It is widely acknowledged that high-quality O&M services mitigate potential risks, improve the Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCOE) and Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) prices, and positively impact the return on investment (ROI).
HOW CAN LONGEVITY PARTNERS HELP YOU?
At Longevity Partners, we believe that operation and maintenance (O&M) of PV systems consists of three dimensions:
A monitoring system is vital to tracking inverter performance, recording how much energy the system is producing in real time, and generating auto alerts to notify you of system faults.
Secondly, regular visual inspections of the system components is essential. This includes:
Solar panels: Discolouration, dirt/debris accumulation, peeled coatings or backing sheets, and other signs of change or wear can all be symptoms of common panel degradation problems like PID, corrosion and soiling, which affect the performance of your panels.
Electrical ancillaries: Wires, clips and other ancillary parts should be corrosion-free, well secured and neatly installed. The health of these ancillary components can affect both the performance and the safety of your system.
Mounting frame: The base rail, roof hooks and other parts of the mounting system must be free of corrosion and structurally sound.
Inverters (and all other electrical equipment): It is vital that any signs of wear or anomalies are investigated or rectified.
Cleaning requirements depend highly on your environment. In dusty areas, dirt builds up more quickly, necessitating a more frequent panel clean (even every few months) while coastal areas can see salt accumulate. This needs to be removed to prevent equipment degradation and energy yield loss.
The need for cleaning also depends on how your PV system is laid out. Tilted panels facilitate “self-cleaning” thanks to the rain, and this can, in some cases, make extra cleaning unnecessary. In fact, studies are split on the benefits of cleaning panels: whether it’s worthwhile and if so, how often. I’ll get to this shortly. Detergents and anything abrasive should be avoided when cleaning solar panels; water and a robust sponge, cloth, hose or wiper generally suffice.