Time is money in commercial & industrial solar – for solar installers, EPCs, and system owners. Unfortunately, PV system downtime and operations and maintenance team inefficiencies lead to lost revenue for all stakeholders. The good news? Solutions have emerged to address C&I solar system performance pain points. Here are five common issues in commercial solar O&M, and how to solve them.
1. Alert! You have too many alerts
Visibility to alerts on potential issues with a PV system isn’t the problem. The opposite is more likely true, as the sheer volume of alerts can be overwhelming. This means that trucks get rolled for false alarms or issues that could have been resolved remotely and important alerts aren’t noticed quickly enough or are missed altogether.
SOLUTION: Smarter monitoring and machine learning technology. The future of solar O&M in C&I has to start with software purpose-built for the task. At Omnidian, we use our proprietary AI-powered technology to monitor assets, cut through the noise of false alerts, and remotely diagnose the root cause of issues.
2. Drowning in downtime
Asset downtime and underperformance drain the return on investment for system owners and drive up OpEx for installers and operators. The solar industry benchmark is 6.06 truck rolls per MW per year. Assuming $950 per truck roll, that’s $5,757 per 1 MW.
SOLUTION: Outsourcing asset performance management. Maximizing PV system uptime while limiting truck rolls requires accurate remote diagnosis of issues, proactive preventive maintenance (PM) and timely corrective maintenance (CM).
“We took a lot of time to research who the right partner would be for us. We found one match: Omnidian.”
Angela Burke, Director, O&M, Pivot Energy.
3. Building an in-house service team
Every major solar developer eventually reaches the build or buy decision stage: Do I want to build an in-house team from scratch and develop an entire service program, or do I want to partner with an established, trusted expert?
SOLUTION: Contract with a third-party network. At Omnidian, we have a vetted nationwide field service network that covers over 33,000 ZIP codes. All O&M service work is coordinated and reviewed by our team for quality.
4. Reporting roadblocks
Accurate and easily accessible performance reports for C&I assets are critical. Deciphering myriad disparate reports isn’t as difficult as actually maintaining performance across your portfolio, but it can be just as tedious. Managing multiple providers means receiving service reports and energy production info in various formats. Can you easily locate the information you need? Is it even there?
SOLUTION: Standardize reporting process and format. Omnidian has developed easy to access, centralized and standardized reports for all system and performance data with consistent metrics across your entire portfolio.
No protection from the unpredictable
In C&I solar, doing every O&M task right is no guarantee of perfect PV performance. Extreme weather events have received a lot of headlines, but non-extreme climate variations (changes in cloud cover, seasonal rainfall anomalies, smoke from fires), have a consistent variable impact from minute to minute. An unforeseen solar flare or cloud at peak demand time could cost you thousands in mere minutes.
Solution: Performance guarantee. Omnidian takes on the weather risk to guarantee a more consistent cash flow. We are able to take on this risk because of our long history of value-added performance results. Our dedicated portfolio managers—backed by our team of engineers, data scientists, and solar industry veterans—track the health and production of your assets to help ensure maximum system uptime.
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