Our team handles both the day-to-day and long-term logistics of operating small utility and commercial solar assets, ensuring peak performance and system reliability. We understand what it takes to properly monitor, maintain, and deliver the maximum potential from a solar system regardless of location, type, equipment, or vintage. Each aspect of our O&M services contributes to maintaining an optimally productive solar energy system.
Key Components of our O&M services include:
- System audits and onboarding
- Preventative maintenance and system inspection
- System monitoring and event notifications
- Problem diagnosis and resolution
- Performance and event reporting
- Warranty coordination and enforcement
- Proactive analytics
- Vegetation management
System Audits and Onboarding
Quite frequently there is a disconnect between what an EPC views as a fully built project that has reached Final Completion and what an owner accepts. We bridge this gap via an extensive audit that includes a full drone aerial analysis, a non-conformance summary list, a visual mechanical checklist, an IR of all enclosures under load, and an as-built review with any discrepancies red-lined against the EPC drawings.
Preventative Maintenance and System Inspection
Perhaps the single most important deliverable of any O&M service package is the annual comprehensive system maintenance inspection to assess both the system equipment and meet the warranty maintenance requirements. We can customize our PM assessments based on the needs of the system owner and upon the preceding aerial thermal drone inspection analysis. Our team utilizes this analysis to identify many potential issues in advance including shading, soiling, and other module-level performance losses, as well as providing our technicians with actionable punch lists to be address during the field inspection. Through methodically testing each system component verifying proper functioning during their rounds, defects and performance issues can be caught prior to generational impacts arising.
Energy Support Services is compliant with all Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry’s electrical and licensing requirements. It is not widely known, but MNDLI requires solar contractors to pull permits for all extension or modification of wiring on a solar array. Common O&M activities that require permit pulling include all module and inverter replacements. ESS is experienced in navigating both the State permitting office and the 70+ municipalities that oversee their own permitting requirements.
System Monitoring and Event Notifications
Our Operations Manager and technicians monitor daily the PV systems’ performance throughout the day to identify and respond to Data Acquisition System (DAS) alerts, irregular production profiles, and other factors that indicate actionable system performance issues. Source-of-error reports and troubleshooting action plans formulate once alerts are received, vetted, and acknowledged. We can provide customized event notification reports catered to your needs and use data trends to prevent future system outages.
Problem Diagnosis and Resolution
Not all system issues can be determined or mitigated remotely. Therefore we deploy daily our field technicians to troubleshoot and address performance problems that require on-site attention. Our work order escalation procedures ensure that our customers are fully informed as work orders progress from detection, to evaluation, to mitigation, and finally issue resolution. An important aspect of this resolution process is the leverage we can bring through our relationship with our development arm affiliate – New Energy Equity – on the manufacturers, DAS providers, utilities, and EPCs with whom we interact.
Performance and Event Reporting
Through our enterprise class software system, we use detailed performance data to build a complete overview of your system’s health. System performance reports are tailored to your needs and are available on a quarterly, semi-annual or annual basis.
Types of reports for your PV system could include:
- Preventative maintenance activities
- Visual, mechanical, and electrical testing results
- Thermal imaging (both aerial and handheld)
- Civil (roads & erosion), security, and vegetation issue updates
- Alert histories
- Event summaries
- Performance analyses
Warranty Coordination and Enforcement
Warranties are only as good as the effort made to track, document, and enforce them. Be it the module, the inverter, or the transformer, etc., a manufacturer frequently needs urging to comply with their product. EPC and other contractors also at times require some incentive to back their performance. Our experienced field team goes the extra mile to identify workmanship and manufacturer defects. We compile detailed information about every non-conformity and take the time to document and build a warranty case for your claim and then ensure action on part of the responsible entity.
We harness the power of data analysis to ensure that assets are operating smoothly and with little risk to your bottom line. Our technical expertise and data analytic tools closely monitor the health of your system and we utilize alerts and common sense to identify underperforming assets, resulting in increased performance and minimize production losses.
- Alerts – Proper alert configuration is critical to the health of every solar system. We onboard all new projects by reviewing alert thresholds and ensuring that all triggers are appropriately configured. Inadequately configured alerts may fail to trigger or may trigger long after production losses are realized. O&M teams that rely solely on alerts overlook performance losses and leave production gains on the table.
- Analytics – Your system has thousands of interconnected components. Our team uses visualization tools and analytics to plot your system’s production and compare performance across five-minute increments. With this approach, we can identify string, and even at the module level, losses that sometimes go unrecognized when solely reliant on alerts.
We spend a lot of time watching grass grow. Seriously. As a provider of renewable energy solutions, we know the importance of balancing environmental responsibilities with financial returns. We work with you to develop a rational, safe, cost-effective, regulatory compliant vegetation management plan suitable for your specific solar array and location. Every DG solar system has a different climate, seed mix, permitting and zoning requirements, aesthetic concerns, and community involvement. We take the time to understand your needs and implement a plan that meets contractual requirements. For instance, the Minnesota market, where we have established a strong presence, requires complicated pollinator-friendly vegetation that must meet certain criteria to maintain county and state compliance. Our team understands the intricacies of navigating local AHJ’s and permitting institutions. Whether it is manual removal, spraying of pre-and post-emergent approved chemicals, or the utilization of sheep or other livestock to control the vegetation, we have your assets covered.