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How a solar power plant is maintained

One of the major concerns plant heads have while deciding to go for on-site solar is the maintenance of the solar power plant. Who will take care of the maintenance? How will it be done? How will maximum output be ensured? These are some of the questions that come up.

Under the Build-Own-Operate (BOO) model, maintenance is handled by the solar developer. This ensures equipment life is maximised, and incentives are perfectly aligned for both the parties.  Solar power plants require very little maintenance as there are no moving parts.  

This article provides an insight as to how preventative maintenance is performed on major components of a solar PV system:

 

Solar modules and mounting structures

The regular maintenance activity for a solar array (a number of solar modules connected in series), in India especially, is to keep the surface (glass) dust free. Occasional inspection and checks of the solar module ensures the performance efficiency at optimal levels.

  1. Cleaning: To remove a layer of dust, panels are simply washed with soft water. If the module has thick dirt or grime and bird droppings, which are harder to remove, cold water is used and the panel surface is cleaned with a sponge. Sometimes, soft detergents are also used along with water for easier cleaning. Metal brushes should be avoided to prevent wearing of the panel surface.
  2. Defect Checking: A visual inspection of the modules is done periodically to look for possible defects such as cracks, chips, de-lamination, fogged glazing, water leaks and discolouration. If any obvious defects are found, their location is noted down in the system logbook, so they can be monitored for generation output.If the damage causes the modules to perform lower than the rated value, they should be replaced.
  3. Structure Stability: Module mounting frames are examined to make certain that the frames and modules are firmly secured and mounting bolts are rust free. Junction boxes are inspected to ensure that the wires are not chewed by rodents or insects.
 

Inverter / charge controller:

This component is maintained by minimising dust accumulation. A dry cloth is used to wipe away any accumulated dirt/dust. Post this, a visual inspection ensures that all the indicators such as LED lights are working and the wires leading to and from this device are not loose.

If self-checks are done, note that the charge controller should indicate that the system is charging when the sun is shining.

Wiring and connections

Wiring installations are regularly checked for any cracks, breaks or deterioration in the insulation. Panel boxes are scrutinised to prevent the box becoming a home for rodents and insects. Moreover, the connections are inspected for corrosion and/or burning.

The above six checks ensure that the life of the solar plant is preserved.CleanMax Solar through a combination of remote monitoring and on-ground checks ensures a hassle-free solar energy experience.