Solar Asset Management
July 29, 2021
Solar power is the world’s 3rd most used renewable energy source and the world’s fastest growing renewable energy source.
Did you know?
The annual growth rate of cumulative solar energy capacity has averaged 25% during the last five years!
Because it’s unobtrusive, relatively cheap to install and once commissioned requires relatively little maintenance compared to other renewable energy technologies such as wind or hydropower.
It’s important to note, however, that whilst solar energy generation assets require relatively little maintenance, it is not a ‘fit-and-forget’ technology. Like any piece of complicated equipment it will need regular maintenance.
Solar Arrays Have No Moving Parts - Why Bother With Maintenance?
There are several layers to this answer.
Firstly most insurance companies will insist on at least an annual inspection of your array by a suitably qualified engineer to maintain cover. If the worst were to happen they would want to know that the system was safe and compliant prior to the event that you are claiming for.
Secondly, some of your product warranties will only remain valid if correctly maintained. It’s unlikely that a warranty claim on an inverter will be valid if it was damaged because its mounting had failed for example.
Finally, by adequately maintaining your solar array, your system is less likely to develop faults that could impact on your income/savings. A 30kW inverter – offline for two weeks in the summer – could potential cost you up to £1,000 in lost revenue/energy savings.
What Does Solar Maintenance Actually Involve?
BeBa Energy have spent the past 11 years designing, delivering and maintaining commercial solar assets. With this in mind we have worked closely with our client to develop a comprehensive set of maintenance plans that keep your system safe, compliant and generating. By working with our clients to design the plans, we have recognised that a belt-and-braces approach isn’t right for every site so our plans have been honed to ensure there is suitable cover for every type of client.
All of our maintenance plans include the following as a minimum –
- A 60-point check of the key components of your solar system including (but not limited to) –
- Ensuring points of isolation continue to operate correctly
- Testing the DC strings to ensure the solar panels are operating correctly
- Checking inverter mounting integrity and stability
- Updating inverter firmware (if required)
- Cleaning of inverter filters (where appropriate)
- Ensuring all cable continue to be appropriately contained and secured
- Checking cable-duct integrity
- Identifying signs of corrosion or water ingress into the inverters or cabinets
- Testing the operation of the RCBO for auxiliary supply (where appropriate)
- Visual inspecting of the solar panels from ground-level to identify any issues with the mounting system or whether or not the panels would benefit from a clean
- Checking for signs of rodent activity
- A detailed annual report designed to satisfy most insurance companies
- Access to our 24-hour helpline
It’s a fact of life that occasionally, despite everyones best efforts, things can go wrong. Accordingly, it makes sense to ensure you are covered should your system stop working unexpectedly. In addition to our basic level of cover described above, we also offer plans that provide one-free call out per year so that you are not faced with unexpected bills.
Please note though that with basic or middle-of-the-road cover, the onus remains on the system owner to notify us of any issues relating to performance. If you do not have remoter monitoring installed this may mean regular manual checks of your inverter to ensure the system is operating correctly – particularly during the summer months when every hour matters.
Prefer Someone Else to Worry About Your System?
If you are too busy to spend every waking moment checking the performance of your solar array, why not enlist us to worry about your system for you?
Our top plan – Premier – will see us fit some innovative hardware and software that will communicate with our HQ every 5 minutes. Our team of engineers are on-hand to alerts caused by under/over-production, communication errors and nuisance tripping. What’s more, because we monitor over 400 systems nationally, we can also compare the performance of your system with others in your area to ensure your system is performing in line with those.
Should your system develop a fault that cannot be rectified remotely, we will dispatch an engineer to site to investigate the issue free of charge.