Solar Basics: Role of O&M in a Solar System


O&M, shorthand for Operations and Maintenance, is a necessary tool for keeping a roof-mounted, ground-mounted, or carport/canopy-mounted commercial solar PV system running smoothly. As with any working technology, detecting and fixing any issues that may arise is key for optimal performance, and a sound O&M plan helps protect your solar investment. Read on to learn about what solar O&M entails and why it’s so important.

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What Is O&M?

Solar energy systems deploy tried-and-true technology with warranties of 25+ years. They have no moving parts and silently produce clean energy when the sun is shining. However, having real-time solar system monitoring and maintenance to prevent, identify, and fix any problems that might arise is important for ensuring the longevity and optimal performance of the investment. Solar O&M providers can perform both reactive services (tending to immediate issues) and proactive services (taking steps to ensure that problems don’t occur in the first place). Some examples of their services include:

  • Live system monitoring and alert triage
  • Emergency response and dispatch
  • Corrective maintenance and system repairs
  • Scheduled preventative maintenance and system testing
  • Array/panel cleaning
  • Weed and vegetation control

Other available services include spare parts inventory management, warranty service coordination/administration, and annual maintenance reporting.

Asset Management

An O&M provider can also provide additional services, including Asset Management. Administrative in nature, the primary purpose of Asset Management is to ensure that the project is receiving optimal Return on Investment (ROI) by tracking how well your solar PV system is delivering on your cost savings and financial goals. Asset management spans a variety of needs such as:

  • System performance and financial analysis
  • Utility bill analysis and net-metering audits
  • PPA billing and administration
  • SREC/incentive program monetization strategies
  • Regulatory/compliance services
  • Risk assessment and mitigation

Why Is O&M Important?

Your solar system’s renewable energy output and financial potential often go hand in hand, so a properly monitored and maintained system is essential to seeing a positive return on your investment. Remote system production monitoring provides insight into how your system is performing and can help detect equipment failures and damage or other difficulties that could go unseen if your system is roof-mounted or located off-site. When issues arise, swift action should be taken to correct a system malfunction. Beyond that, regular check-ins and preventative maintenance make sure that today’s tiny hiccup doesn’t become tomorrow’s costly problem. With a robust O&M plan in place through a reputable provider, you’ll be able to ensure that your system gets the most out of its 25+ year lifespan.

Interested in solar energy but not sure how to start? Consider PowerFlex, a company with more than a decade’s worth of experience in providing turnkey solar and energy storage solutions to businesses across the nation. We manage all aspects of a solar project -- from the beginning stages of development to a seamless handoff to our trusted O&M and Asset Management partner, MaxSolar. Contact us today for a free solar assessment.