What is O&M?
O&M is an acronym that stands for Operations and Maintenance. It refers to the duties, labor, and functions associated with daily and necessary operations. It encompasses several upkeep processes. These can consist of the replacement and disabling of broken and damaged components and structural parts. In addition to that, ordinary repairs and other similar activities form an integral part of it. They are required to preserve a resource or asset. They become essential to ensure that the property sustains itself for a long time and proffers solely acceptable and high-quality services.
O&M consists of three fundamental and principal functions. They include the following points:
- Minimization of interruptions caused by faults and errors
- Rapid identification, analysis, and resolution of issues and problems
- Comprehensive and detailed reporting with adequate and requisite transparency
What kinds of Maintenance?
Solar Operations and Maintenance refer to the functions, duties, and labor activities that apply specifically to solar photovoltaic (PV) plants. Widely known as solar O&M, they help in the overall optimization of the processes that produce energy.
Several aspects can get associated with solar O&M. They consist of the following facets:
- Preventive Maintenance
As suggestive of the name, preventive maintenance implies the upkeep methods and procedures undertaken as preventive and protective measures. They comprise regular and frequent equipment servicing and checks along with routine inspections of the entire solar photovoltaic plant. They help avoid all unnecessary breakdowns and production losses. They also aid in ensuring that the lives of the workers in the plant are not at bay.
- Corrective Maintenance
Corrective maintenance aims to rectify and repair the equipment and parts of the solar photovoltaic plant that underwent a breakdown. It helps get the station up and working in a short span. It also reduces unwanted and sudden downtime.
- Condition-based Maintenance
Condition-based maintenance uses real-time or live data to analyze the situation and condition of equipment in a solar PV plant. It predicts the imminent breakdowns and prioritizes the resources and the activities.
The three approaches may employ some or all the services that an O&M proffers. They entail the following:
- Energy forecasting
- Preventive maintenance
- Performance diagnostics and monitoring
- Warranty administration
What are the Risk Management and Maintenance Aspects of O&M?
- Maintenance Aspect
The aspect of maintenance includes both the unscheduled and scheduled elements. The former involves issues and problem solving and fixing once their indications start appearing. The latter gets outlined by the product manuals supplied by the equipment manufacturers.
Scheduled maintenance is better because it reduces the cost and frequency of unscheduled work. It helps to achieve an ideal system that can operate at high efficiency and performance level. It can get owed to the uncomplicated systems and methods of recovery and constant monitoring.
- Risk Management Aspect
Risk management proffers the ability and capability to identify the aspects that can result in damage and hazards. It helps predict the consequences and probabilities of the issues arising. Risk management enables asset managers and photovoltaic plant owners to plan out the routines. They can do so for their mitigate issues and unscheduled maintenances.
The use of magnetometers to check and calculate the azimuth angle to eliminate the possibilities of hazards is an example of risk management.
What are the Market Trends of USA Solar O&M?
In recent times, the market and number of solar photovoltaic installations have risen steeply after its worldwide recognition and awareness in 2000. The criteria and estimation that people expected by 2015 was that the solar capacity on the soil of The United States of America would reach 18.3 GW. However, in actuality, it had gotten fulfilled, and its value far exceeded the limit.
Along with the increase in the solar PV market, the USA market for solar O&M also grew. It can get owed to the escalating need for appropriate engineering, process management, procurement of raw materials, and execution of plans. A solar PV plant represents and serves as a heavy investment and gets run by following strict efficiency and production targets.
A solar power plant requires a high level and standard of Operations and Maintenance for both third-party suppliers or providers and in-house functions and needs. It helps maximize the value of the return that the investment proffers. Additionally, it helps reduce the frequency of payback times and improve the eminence and reputation of an individual who owns stocks and shares.
Solar O&M Market Size in the USA vs the World
In the last decade, the market size of solar O&M has experienced an increase in the annual average growth rate all across the globe. It got incremented to as high as 42%.
The market has the help of beneficial federal policies such as declining costs, Investment Tax Credits in the solar sector, and growing demand for clean power and electricity across the public and private domains. They led to a considerable rise in the installation of solar PV. It stands at more than 100 GW in today’s time. It was enough to supply electricity to 18.9 million homes worldwide.
According to research, the global solar O&M in 2019 stood at USD 50 billion. The market trends suggest that by 2026 it would reach USD 200 billion.
The USA has gradually positioned itself as one of the leaders in the market. It stands true since the introduction of the concept of solar O&M. As of 2020, the industry generated as high as $25 billion due to private investments. More than 10,000 American companies work in the market in almost every US state.
Who are the Primary Players in the Solar O&M Market in the USA?
Primarily, four types and kinds of companies remain involved in the solar O&M market in the USA. They can get categorized into the following groups:
- EPCs Engineering, Procurement, and Constructions) and Traditional Project Managers and Developers
This group covers the independent and self-governing power producers. They manage and oversee all their operations and assets. In some cases, they can also do so for third parties. Generally, EPCs proffer a service wrap, and O&M forms a part of it.
A well-known example of EPCs and traditional project managers and developers includes Recurrent Energy. EDF Renewable Energy and Mortenson are other renowned companies under this group.
- Vertically Incorporated and Integrated Developers
These types of developers consist of vital players who remain focused on building and developing their portfolios. They deliver a colossal variety of services from O&M to EPC.
Some companies that fall under vertically incorporated and integrated developers consist of Belectric, SunEdison, Urban Green Energy, First Solar, and SolarCity.
- Asset Managers and Project Owners
This category involves asset managers, project owners, and companies that rely entirely on third-party services and help for O&M provisions.
A few exemplars of asset managers and project owners include BHF renewables, Capital Dynamics, NGR Yield, E.ON Climate and Renewables, and TerraForm.
- O&M Specialists
O&M specialists, as the name suggests, refer to the companies that specialize in proffering O&M services. These businesses do not own their unique assets. They provide their help and assistance to different and diverse third parties.
A few companies categorized as O&M specialists comprise MaxGen Energy Services, Ingeteam, True South, SMA, and ESA Renewables.
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