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Solar Preventive Maintenance Checklist for Ground-Mounted Plant

By 2027, it is expected that the global market for ground-mounted solar energy will be worth $9.65 billion, expanding at a CAGR of 9.56% from 2022 to 2027 1. The solar system with the ground-mounted panels is fixed tilt and is simple to install in a large yard or field. Ground-mounted solar power plants are an essential component of the renewable energy landscape. Implementing a strong preventative maintenance program is essential to ensuring maximum performance and lifetime. Here we will describe a thorough maintenance checklist for ground-mounted solar plants to maximize energy production and lower downtime.

Monthly Inspection Checklist for Ground-Mounted Plant

Visual Inspection

PV modules are used all over the world. These are forced to operate in a variety of configurations and extreme weather conditions. This makes them vulnerable to various defects, leading to significant yield losses 2. Various methods are used to find, locate, and identify occurred defects. If you notice any of the following conditions: encapsulant browning, hot spots, milky pattern, encapsulant delamination, and bubble formation, back sheet polymer cracks, junction box connections corrosion, busbar, front grid, and anti-reflection coating corrosion and discoloration, and junction cables insulation degradation, the modules are likely deteriorating more quickly than the typical rate of 1% per year 3.

Module Array

Physical damage is to be checked for in solar panels, such as cracks or delamination or any other physical damage.

Maintain maximum light absorption by cleaning the modules to get rid of any dirt, dust, and debris.

In order to avoid shadowing, check the growth of the surrounding vegetation.

Racking and Mounting System

Look for corrosion, loose bolts, or other indicators of degradation while inspecting the structural integrity.

To get the most sunshine exposure, check the module alignment.

Assess whether any ground settling has changed the location of the array.

Electrical Systems

A photovoltaic system normally consists of a number of photovoltaic modules, an inverter, a battery pack for storing energy, a charge controller, a connector cable, circuit breakers, fuses, disconnect switches, voltage meters, and, optionally, a solar tracking device.

Quarterly Inspection Checklist for Ground-Mounted Plant

Wiring and Connections

Check the wiring for any evidence of overheating, exposed wires, or loose connections.

Make sure all electrical connections are securely attached by tightening them.

Make sure that there hasn’t been any rodent damage by checking the insulation on the wire.

Inverters and Transformers

Inspect the inverter housing for any indications of water damage, excessive heat, or strange noises.

Ensure that the voltage and current levels are within the prescribed range by monitoring them.

Check the ventilation and fans in the cooling systems to make sure they are working correctly.

Grounding and Lightning Protection

Static electricity that builds up in an aboveground structure is continuously discharged down an electrical channel to the ground. This frequently stops lightning from ever attracting to begin with. Electronic equipment is protected by electrical surges being absorbed by lightning arrestors and surge protectors 4.

Checking the grounding system is important for safety and lightning protection.

Ensure that surge protection devices are operational before inspecting lightning arresters.

Monitoring Systems

Solar panel monitoring systems assist in ensuring the optimal performance of your solar panels. They keep checks on the efficiency, condition, and energy usage of your solar system. These systems also keep track of specific parts, such as solar batteries and EV chargers 5. Finally, they offer warnings when the energy production of your system declines or experiences problems.

Check Data Logging to make sure data collecting systems are correctly recording.

Ensure the plant can communicate with the monitoring station by checking the links for communication.

Cleaning and Vegetation Control

Shading can reduce the solar panel efficiency. Even shading only one cell out of 36 cells can able to reduce electricity production by 75%. 6 According to studies, one of the best methods for managing solar panels is to remove vegetation. Uncontrolled vegetation can cover solar panels and shade them, reducing their efficiency and raising the danger of fire and pest infestation as well as the need for more frequent maintenance.

Modules should be cleaned by using a non-abrasive cleaning to get rid of dirt, bird droppings, and other debris.

Trim the vegetation to keep the area around the modules clear and prevent shade.

Annual Inspection Checklist for Ground-Mounted Plant

Environmental Considerations

The PV modules must be exposed to the atmosphere in full sunshine. Therefore, environmental variables including irradiance, temperature, dust distribution, soiling, wind, shade, humidity, etc. have a significant impact on the performance and efficiency of the PV module. When crystalline silicon solar cells are exposed to light, it causes changes in their electrical properties, which is known as light-induced deterioration. Within the first few hours after the new panel is exposed, losses vary from 0.5% to 1.5% 7.

Evaluate the integrity of erosion control features when inspecting erosion control measures.

Make sure water is correctly draining around the plant by checking for drainage problems.

Security Measures

Check the fencing and access points to make sure the perimeter is secure and the access points are locked.

Review the surveillance system to ensure that the security cameras are operating as intended.

Documentation and Reporting

Keep complete documentation of each maintenance activity.

Document any anomalies you find and submit them for follow-up action.

Seasonal Considerations

Higher or lower temperatures can affect efficiency. Consequently, moderate temperatures are ideal for solar panel performance. A solar panel’s output can drop by 0.3% to 0.5% for every degree over 25°C, which has an impact on overall electricity production.

During hot weather, make sure there is adequate ventilation and cooling.

Prepare for winter by insulating sensitive parts against cold temperatures and snowfall.

Ground-mounted solar plants need to have a strict preventative maintenance program in place if they are to succeed over the long term. Regular checks, maintenance, and prompt repairs will not only improve energy output but also increase system longevity. Following these criteria will help create a dependable and long-lasting source of clean energy.

Originally published at futr.energy/knowledge

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