As solar photovoltaic (PV) systems have continued their transition from niche applications into large, mature markets in the United States, their potential as financial investments has risen accordingly.
Mainstream investors, however, need to feel confident about the risk and return of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems before committing funds. A major influence on risk and return for PV is operations and maintenance (O&M)—but O&M practices and costs vary widely across the United States, making these variables difficult for investors to predict. To address this barrier to continued PV investment, the PV O&M Working Group has developed a new best-practices guide for PV O&M.
The guide encourages high-quality PV system deployment and operation that improves lifetime project performance and energy production. Optimizing and standardizing PV O&M can increase efficiency of energy delivery, decrease costs and downtime, extend system lifetime, ensure safety, enhance system appearance, and satisfy the requirements of financing and warranties. The best-practices guide offers information and recommendations aimed at increasing the effectiveness of O&M services, reducing O&M costs, improving the transparency of PV assets for investors and rating agencies, providing an industry framework for quality management, and reducing transaction costs.
Checklists throughout the guide help users take concrete steps to improve their O&M practices. The guide is most relevant to fleets of thirdparty-owned, grid-connected PV systems in rooftop and ground-mounted configurations for residential, commercial, industrial, and utility-scale applications.