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Solar PV Panel Maintenance: Everything you need to know

To ensure optimal performance of a Solar PV system maintenance is crucial. This requires not only skilled solar power system operations and maintenance crews but also advanced equipment. In recent years, the solar power industry in India has undergone significant changes, with larger project sizes, expanded geographical reach, and multi-GW portfolios for developers. As a result, developers now own multiple projects across multiple states and various types, including rooftop, utility-scale, and floating solar. To manage these rapidly growing O&M requirements, solar power plant operators need to leverage existing resources and innovate their operations and maintenance platforms. In this article, we will explore the different types of Solar PV maintenance.

What is a Solar PV Panel?

Solar PV panels are devices that turn sunlight into electricity. They work by using special materials that create voltage and current when they get hit by light.

What is Solar PV Panel Maintenance?

Solar panels usually don’t need a lot of attention, just some regular cleaning and making sure nothing blocks the sunlight from reaching them. It’s important to keep the panels clear of any obstacles that might cast shadows, as solar panels work best when they have a clear path to the sun.

How do you maintain solar PV panels? 

Keeping your solar panels clean is important for them to work well. You can easily clean them by using a hose or a bucket of water to wash away dust or dirt. Jan suggests that this is the only thing you really need to do yourself, and you can even hire someone to do it for a low cost.

If there are any other problems with your solar panels, you can ask the company that installed them to check for issues. They will be able to tell you if there’s any other maintenance that needs to be done.

It’s a good idea to keep a record of any time you clean your panels or have them checked. This will help you remember when to do maintenance and take good care of your solar panels.

How often do solar PV panels need maintenance?

Solar PV panels are easy to take care of. The main problem is dirt and debris getting on them. How often you need to clean them depends on where you live and the weather.

If you live in a place with storms, you might need to clean your panels more in stormy seasons. If it hasn’t rained for a while, it’s a good idea to check if dirt has built up on your panels.

Most solar companies suggest cleaning your panels at least two times a year, no matter the weather. This helps prevent too much dirt from piling up. The longer you wait, the harder it is to clean.

Check the manual that comes with your solar panels. It will have tips on how often to clean them and how to do it.

Types of Solar PV Maintenance

Corrective Maintenance
Corrective Maintenance

Corrective Maintenance:

Corrective maintenance is a proactive approach aimed at mitigating problems related to mechanical and electrical components. This type of maintenance takes place after a normal planned maintenance period and can be performed by either human technicians or Artificial Intelligence. Remote corrective maintenance is also possible, allowing the maintenance team to access the site through phone or email. This type of maintenance helps to reduce the time needed for repairs and minimize the impact of abnormal operations or failures on the solar plant.

The main objective of corrective maintenance is to restore any damage to the PV plant and prevent further harm. This includes checking for design or material faults that may have affected other components within the system. Additionally, corrective maintenance also involves activities such as asset performance reviews and comparisons between actual performance and past planned operations.

Preventive Maintenance
Preventive Maintenance

Preventive Maintenance:

Preventive maintenance is a proactive approach aimed at addressing potential issues before they become problems and cause costly downtime and loss of revenue. For solar panels, preventive maintenance is crucial for maintaining the reliability of the system and ensuring it operates at peak performance for longer-term savings.

The goal of preventive maintenance is to minimize the risk of equipment failures and unplanned downtime through routine and regular maintenance. This includes regularly testing electrical connections, monitoring panel fixations, and ensuring overall good condition of the panels. Solar panel manufacturers provide guidelines for inspection, and large-scale power plants often assign teams to conduct these inspections to prevent failures. If any issues are identified during the tests, corrective measures will be taken to resolve them.

By performing preventive maintenance, it is possible to save money by avoiding expensive repairs and associated downtime, resulting in increased profits.

Predictive Maintenance
Predictive Maintenance

Predictive Maintenance:

Predictive maintenance is a crucial aspect of ensuring the reliability and longevity of solar PV plants. It involves taking proactive measures to prevent malfunctions and damage to systems and assets. Analytical monitoring systems, such as Futr OS, are utilized to assess the performance of PV systems and detect possible issues. By collecting real-time and historical data, predictive maintenance enables predicting and identifying problems even before they occur.

Investing in the right equipment, spare parts, and AI-powered solar asset management systems is crucial in reducing maintenance costs. Ongoing solar PV installation and maintenance, and field service are also important in the maintenance program as effective O&M requires integrated planning and execution across multiple disciplines. Making the right O&M decisions can lead to improved performance, reduced downtime, and enhanced asset utilization.

Originally published at futr.energy/knowledge

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