Why is O&M important and how can the maintenance activities be categorised?

Operation & Maintenance (O&M) of a rooftop solar plant is essential to maximise both energy yield and the plant’s useful life. Rooftop Solar Plant’s lifetime is expected to be 25 years or more and by ensuring O&M at appropriate time intervals, one can minimise the losses and increase the energy production from the plant.

Benefits of proper O&M

  • Keep plant efficiency on the desired level
  • Increase plant uptime
  • Improve safety
  • Reduce curative costs

Maintenance can be broadly classified into two main categories i.e. Preventive Maintenance and Curative Maintenance.

Preventive Maintenance:

As the name suggests preventive maintenance (PM) is carried out as a precautionary measure to maintain efficiency and ensure the maximum availability of a system. The PM is planned in advance and majorly involves routine inspection, servicing & repair which prevent any faults from occurring.

The scheduling and frequency of PM depend on a number of variables such as environmental conditions, location, warranty terms, etc. A balance between the costs of scheduled maintenance and the resultant generation must be analysed to arrive at the most appropriate situation.

The main checks under PM include:

Module cleaning Mounting structure integrity
Cabling connections Inverter servicing
Vegetation control Hotspots detection
Junction box servicing Earthing protection

Curative Maintenance:

Curative maintenance is carried out to identify and rectify any component failure so that the system can be restored to an operational condition. The response and the repair time are the major variables to consider while assessing the Curative Maintenance.

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