Best Practices in Photovoltaic System Operation and Maintenance

Organization
NREL/Sandia/Sunspec Alliance SuNLaMP PV O&M Working Group

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Publish Date
December 2016

Version
2.0

This guide considers Operation and Maintenance (O&M) of photovoltaic (PV) systems with the goal of reducing the cost of O&M and increasing its effectiveness. Reported O&M costs vary widely, and a more standardized approach to planning and delivering O&M can make costs more predictable. More efficient planning and delivery of O&M offers to reduce the cost from a range of $0 to $40/kW/year to a more uniform $10/kW/year. But the bigger payoff for improved O&M is increased performance. Actuarial data indicate that comprehensive O&M could improve the average performance ratio of systems from 88% to 94%, which is a substantial increase in revenue and environmental benefits of a PV system. Drivers to improve PV O&M include the following: increase efficiency and energy delivery (kWh/kW), decrease downtime (hours/year), extend system lifetime (say from 25 to 40 years), reduce cost of O&M ($/kW/year), ensure safety and reduce risk, enhance appearance, and meet requirements of financing and warranties.

Laks Sampath of Alectris was one of the industry professionals who assisted in the creation of this document.