Solar Operations and Maintenance
A Solar Power Plant requires periodic maintenance ranging from cleaning of solar modules to repair of components such as combiner boxes to ensure a reliable supply of solar power for 25 years. In this blog, we will give you some guidelines on how you can go about maintaining your solar power plant.
All Solar Power Plants require cleaning of solar modules at some point in time. Soling and other dirt accumulation on Solar Modules can have a significant impact on the power production of Solar Modules. The frequency of cleaning will largely depend on the pollution and weather in the region. It is recommended to clean Solar Modules using soft water early morning when the solar production is low and the module temperature is low. We found this REC module cleaning guide to be comprehensive and simple to understand. We would recommend that you download the guide and go through the same.
Monitoring of Solar Power Production
Regular monitoring of solar power production will help us get a bird's eye view of Solar Plants performance. You can compare a day's solar production against the previous day/month/year/an estimate based on data availability, and the features available in the Solar Inverters Monitoring Portal. If we have visibility of Solar Production at a module level, that would help us pin down inefficiencies in the system to a module level, and tackle it. Many inverters come with advanced diagnostics functions, which will help us understand systems performance issues better. If you are investing in a Solar Power Plant, always ask for a web-based monitoring access to the system at-least at a string level so that you get an overview of Solar Plants present and past performance.
A thorough visual inspection of different components of a Solar Power Plant will help us understand multiple issues, a few of which are listed below:
Module Defects such as de-lamination, cell-burning, corrosion, junction box detachment
Structural issues such as loose bolts/clamps, corrosion of joints/structure, vegetation, pest infestation
Earthing issues such as loose contacts, copper/aluminium galvanic corrosion
Cabling/Conduiting issues such as water seepage, inappropriate bend angles, pest infestation
Issues in combiner box such as corrosion, loose connections, localised heating
For large solar power plants, it may not be practical to look at each module/structure individually. In such cases, an appropriate sample is inspected. Many a time, sample solar modules are tested using an I-V curve analyser to test their performance. Any electrical testing of Solar Plant is done in such conditions where panels anticipated output is atleast 50% of the peak output of the plant.
It is recommended that the Solar Plant is subjected to a thorough visual inspection by an experienced Solar Installer at least once a year.
Thermal inspection can reveal a lot of details that are not revealed in a simple visual inspection. The drone-based thermal inspection came as a blessing to many of the MW scale solar power plants. The basic principle of thermal inspection is that variation in temperature as shown in thermal images in a Solar Power Plant is an indication of issues in a Solar Power Plant.
We would strongly recommend reading this article on thermal inspection, to get a good understanding on the thermal inspection principles and process.
Predictive Maintenance and Data Analytics
The data collected from Solar Power Plants globally is increasing exponentially. When we use the data collected from solar plants for advanced data analytics, we get intelligent systems that can give you insights such as a measure of health of solar assets, and a prediction on components failure before it happens.
At Cares Renewables, we are focused on delivering quality solar power plants to our customers and partners. Please leave a comment, if you have any queries on this blog. Visit https://www.caresrenewables.com/savegen to view a few of our case studies. #Solar #Safety #AdvancedSolarPlant #SaveGen