Solar PV O&M Standards and Best Practices

With rising grid interconnections of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, greater attention is being trained on lifecycle performance, reliability, and project economics. Expected to meet production thresholds over a 20-30 year timeframe, PV plants require a steady diet of operations and maintenance (O&M) oversight to meet contractual terms. However, industry best practices are only just beginning to emerge, and O&M budgets—given the arrangement of the solar project value chain—appear to vary widely. Based on insights from in-depth interviews and survey research, this paper presents an overview of the utility-scale PV O&M budgeting process along with guiding rationales, before detailing perspectives on current plant upkeep activities and price points largely in Europe It concludes by pondering potential opportunities for improving upon existing O&M budgeting approacAs greater numbers of photovoltaic (PV) systems are being installed, operations & maintenance (O&M) activities will need to be performed to ensure the PV system is operating as designed over its useful lifetime. To mitigate risks to PV system availability and performance, standardized procedures for O&M activities are needed to ensure high reliability and long-term system bankability. Efforts are just getting underway to address the need for standard O&M procedures as PV gains a larger share of U.S. generation capacity. Due to the existing landscape of how and where PV is installed, including distributed generation from small and medium PV systems, as well as large, centralized utility-scale PV, O&M activities will require different levels of expertise and reporting, making standards even more important. The 3C POWER summarizes recent efforts made by solar industry stakeholders to identify the existing standards and best practices applied to solar PV O&M activities, and determine the gaps that have yet to be, or are currently being addressed management to the O&M.


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