Learn about some of the common issues that affect the performance of photovoltaic plants and how to overcome them to maximise the plant's reliability and productivity.
In the last five years, the rapid growth of photovoltaic (PV) power plant development has expanded beyond Europe to Asian and American markets.
However, the dramatic expansion of the market due to high levels of demand has resulted in the widespread use of inappropriate equipment, a lack of thorough testing, rushed construction deadlines and a shortage of appropriately skilled personnel. Owners and investors of PV power plants should be particularly concerned with how these issues can impact the reliability, productivity and financial stability of their investments.
Many problems could arise due to improper installation, poor choice of components or insufficient expertise at the operation and maintenance stage. The slightest defect or failure in a component could result in expensive downtime and unscheduled maintenance. Therefore, PV power plants require regular maintenance and inspection to ensure that components and grid connectivity function correctly. In addition to undergoing inspections required by owners, PV power plants may also have to comply with government-mandated inspections.
PV stakeholders need to choose a partner with a high level of technical expertise to set right what may have gone wrong during the initial PV power plant boom. Such a partner needs to provide in-service inspection services to help identify points of weakness as well as develop optimal solutions for improvement across the lifetime of the plant. These services should include inspection of regular maintenance, problem identification and analysis, visual inspection of the plant, on-site testing using mobile laboratory facilities, and inspection of various types of systems and components. Stakeholders also require a suitable service provider for final acceptance test and performance acceptance test for PV power plants, as well as definition of improvement measures. It is important to choose an independent provider to provide assurance of the impartiality and objectivity of its reports.