This project addresses the needs of the rapidly growing photovoltaic (PV) operations and maintenance (O&M) industry to ensure that solar projects are maintained at a high level of consistency and quality. A working group of financial and legal firms, solar developers, O&M service providers, and utilities will contribute to a PV O&M Best Practice document, sharing field data in a performance database and a failure and reliability database. The group will also create a PV O&M Cost Model to estimate costs of delivering a PV O&M program that considers system characteristics and which conditions determine the optimal cleaning and repair schedules for solar projects. This work will enable financial firms to easily categorize, predict, and support solar projects with lower financing costs, which will increase the effectiveness of O&M and the resulting energy delivery and reduce the cost of maintaining PV systems.
The project combines the Solar Access to Public Capital (SAPC) working group at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) with the Technical Production working group from Sandia National Laboratory. The team is developing standardized maintenance protocols, as well as collecting and interpreting operating and production data from solar installations. NREL and Sandia are incorporating the costs and performance of energy storage costs into these tools.
O&M execution risks rank amongst the top three concerns of equipment manufacturers, rating agencies, and investors. The tools developed under this project will enable the capture of rich datasets that will reveal the impacts of O&M practices, geographical and regional variances, and inform the continued refinement of O&M best practices. This work will lower the financing costs associated with solar installations.