Do I have any obligations, as an owner of the rooftop solar plant, after I sign an operation & maintenance contract?

After signing the operation & maintenance contract with the contractor, the owner of the rooftop solar plant has following obligations: Information: In order for Contractor to adhere to any Project Contracts on behalf of Owner, Owner should provide Contractor with all manufacturer’s manuals, spare parts lists, plant data books and drawings, or any part thereof. Owner shall also provide Contractor with copies of all Project agreements and any amendments thereto and any other documents that define the plant’s operating requirements; Access to Plant: The Owner shall provide Contractor and its employees with access to the roof where the RTS Plant has been installed – as required for the performance of Contractor’s duties under this Contract. The Contractor shall schedule maintenance in advance with the Owner; Provision of water & Electricity: The Owner should provide water & electricity free of cost for maintenance purpose to the Contractor; Notice of Damage: Owner shall promptly notify Contractor if Owner becomes aware of any damage to or loss of the use of the RTS Plant; Periodic statutory clearances: Necessary statutory approvals on timely basis as may be required from the competent authorities like Chief Electrical Inspector approval, shall be arranged by the owner of the plant;

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How should the disputes be resolved, if arises between the owner of the plant & contractor responsible for operation & maintenance?

If any dispute arises between Owner and Contractor, the parties shall attempt to settle such dispute in the first instance through discussions. The designated representatives of Owner and Contractor shall promptly confer and exert their best efforts in good faith to reach a reasonable and equitable resolution of such dispute.  If the representatives are unable to resolve the dispute, the dispute shall be referred to the responsible senior management of each party for resolution.  If the parties are unable to resolve the dispute, either party may pursue any remedy available at law.

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What are the various classification of activities pertaining to Operation and Maintenance (O&M) of rooftop solar plant?

The various activities related to operation and maintenance of rooftop solar plant can be classified as below: Preventative maintenance: It comprises of routine inspection and servicing of equipment with a specific task periodicity of all key components. This is done ?to prevent breakdowns and unnecessary production losses. Preventive maintenance is carried out in a manner to maintain the component warranties in place. The O&M contract includes scope of services under preventive maintenance and each task periodicity. Corrective maintenance:  It covers the activities to be performed to restore component/s to a status where it can perform the required function. The corrective maintenance takes place after a failure detection either by remote monitoring and supervision or during regular inspections and specific measurement activities. Usually the contractor is obliged to comply with certain response times when there is a need of corrective maintenance. Condition-based maintenance: Condition-based maintenance implicates monitoring of equipment condition and plant operations on a real-time basis and addresses a potential problem at a very early stage to prevent downtime. This approach uses periodic measurements to detect evidence that equipment is deteriorating, with the aim of extending service life by avoiding impending problems.

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What is an Operation & Maintenance contract?

An Operation & Maintenance contract establishes a contractual relationship between the plant owner, and the contractor of the project. It performs an essential role in the operations phase of the plant, and has a significant impact on the projects’ long-term success. Accordingly, it is a key document from the point of view of both, the Owner and the Contractor. A well drafted operation & maintenance contract can, not only bring transparency in responsibilities & activities, but also ensures in maximizing the energy generation from the plant and enabling it to function smoothly.

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Why Operation & Maintenance of Rooftop Solar Plant is required?

Rooftop solar plants are not maintenance free, they require a regimen of continual monitoring, periodic inspection,  preventive maintenance, corrective maintenance and service calls. These actions are required to enhance up-time, performance, economic viability, address unplanned outages & repair etc. Operation & Maintenance of a rooftop solar plant is essential to maximize both energy yield and the plant’s useful life. Rooftop Solar Plants lifetime are expected to be 25 years or more, so safe and proper maintenance is an integral part of successful and reliable operation.

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What is the loading ratio of inverters?

Loading Ratio or DC to AC ratio of an inverter is the ratio of Rated Array Power (DC kWp) to Rated Inverter Output (AC VA). This can be expressed as a percentage value. For example, if array output of 55kWp DC were connected to a 50kW inverter, the Loading Ratio would be: (55kWp / 50kW) x 100= 110%. One can find the Rated Array Power (DC kWp) & Rated Inverter Output (AC VA) of an inverter on the datasheet provided by the inverter manufacturer.

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Where can I view instantaneous generation of my solar rooftop plant?

Generation of the system can simply be viewed on the display unit of the inverter or through local & remote monitoring which can be performed by most common connection techniques like RS232 for local monitoring, RS485 and powerline for inverter interconnection. For wireless connection Bluetooth, GSM & Wi-Fi are most common used. An inverter measures parameters like: Immediate DC voltage and current readings from the PV array  Immediate AC voltage and frequency readings  Output power (W)  Lifetime energy produced  Switch-on/off time for the day  Up-time & Down-time for the day  Cumulative hours of operation (h) 

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