Continuous Improvement of Solar PV Plants

Operation & Maintenance and Asset Management Services are an integral part of a solar PV asset. They are necessary to preserve profitability and Return on Investment of a solar PV Asset; this is the most common understanding. Such services, if properly planed and implemented through a Continuous Improvement concept, can lead to a financial performance increase and optimization.

Depending on the actual performance status, such concept may deliver immediate and impressive results in case of clearly underperforming Assets. The concept is very useful in cases of (apparently) good performing solar PV Plants. The difference is that the benefits are evident over a longer period of time and are smaller in scale. Performance increase of just a few percentage points though still deliver a significant financial benefit for the Owners of such Assets.

O&M and Asset Management are still today perceived as service expense necessary to preserve the income only and in many cases they are undervalued or overlooked as a revenue enhancer. This occurs because Investors and Banks do not have a good understanding of the potential of a Continuous Improvement concept. Unfortunately this misconception is very prominent also among O&M Contractors.

The O&M Contractor is a long term partner of the Owner, or, at least, this is the way it should be. Out of all the parties involved during the life cycle of such an investment, from the initial project concept until the long term operation, the O&M Contractor and Asset Manager is the only party with common interests with Owners. The better a solar PV Asset performs the maximum the benefit for both parties, especially in the framework of bonus agreements when performance exceeds a certain minimum agreed threshold.

Before assuming any guarantees by taking over a plant, an O&M Contractor will have to go through a thorough technical due diligence of the Plant. This is absolutely necessary in order to fix any inherent deficiencies of the Plant and restore its ability to perform. These reviews and improvements can occur at any point in the PV plants life cycle, from conceptual design to plants in service for years.  In this respect, the O&M Contractor can be a valuable Partner to the bank and the investor with their interest completely aligned with them.

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