“Proper maintenance and monitoring are essential for ensuring optimal performance and longevity of rooftop solar projects. By addressing common O&M issues, we can improve the reliability and safety of these systems, and maximize the benefits of solar energy for both homeowners and the environment.”

O&M Issues in Rooftop Solar Projects: Common Findings and Possible Solutions

As rooftop solar projects become more prevalent, it is increasingly important to ensure that they are properly maintained to maximize energy generation and prevent safety hazards. In this article, we will discuss some common O&M issues in rooftop solar projects, as well as possible solutions based on industry best practices.

Solar Module Issues Solar modules are the heart of any rooftop solar project, and as such, they are subject to a number of issues that can impact their performance. These issues include early degradation, microcracks, potential induced degradation (PID), and snail trails. To prevent these issues, it is important to choose high-quality modules from reputable manufacturers that have undergone IEC certifications. Additionally, regular inspections and monitoring can help identify issues before they become major problems.

Safety and Protections Proper safety measures and protections are essential for any rooftop solar project. Unfortunately, many installations suffer from incorrect earthing, insufficient lightning protection systems (LPSs), underrated fuses and surge-protection devices (SPDs), and disregard for fire-handling systems. To address these issues, it is important to ensure that all safety measures and protections are installed properly and meet industry standards.

Installation Methods The way in which rooftop solar projects are installed can also impact their performance and safety. Partial shadows on array, long runs of direct current (DC) cables, loose connections and wear and tear of cables, and corrosion in structure parts are common issues. These can be prevented by following best practices for array design, including shading analysis and careful placement of cables and connections.

Commissioning Commissioning is the process of ensuring that a solar project is installed and operating correctly. Unfortunately, many rooftop solar projects are commissioned without independent inspection, and there is a lack of commissioning tests. To address this, it is important to require third-party inspections during commissioning, and to establish clear commissioning tests to ensure that projects are operating as expected.

Performance Performance is a critical aspect of any rooftop solar project, and lower energy generation is a common issue. Additionally, intermittent monitoring of systems and slow or no follow-up on corrective actions prompted by monitoring can impact performance. To address these issues, it is important to establish a regular monitoring schedule and to follow up on any corrective actions promptly.

O&M Inadequate maintenance and no schedule for preventive maintenance are common O&M issues in rooftop solar projects. To address these, it is important to establish a regular maintenance schedule that includes preventive maintenance, such as cleaning and inspection.

Documentation Finally, documentation is a critical aspect of any rooftop solar project, but it is often overlooked. Absence of proper documents with customers, planning and design documents not shared with customers, and unclear PPAs or contracts can lead to confusion and disputes down the line. To address these issues, it is important to establish clear documentation requirements and to share relevant documents with customers.

In conclusion, rooftop solar projects can provide clean, renewable energy and cost savings for consumers, but they must be properly maintained to ensure optimal performance and safety. By addressing common O&M issues through best practices and industry standards, we can ensure that rooftop solar projects continue to provide benefits for years to come.

Categories: Solar