4 tips to maximize the ROI of your solar energy system with a thoughtful maintenance strategy - by Kristen Brandt

June 09, 2017 - Spotlights
Kristen Brandt,
Solect Energy

The average solar array has a lifespan of about 25 years—and as technology advances, that span will continue to grow. However, in order to maintain panels to last their lifespan and beyond, it is important to be aware of your operation and maintenance (O&M) options and the necessary upkeep associated with your panels. Keeping your system operating at optimal efficiency through O&M services will not only allow your business to get its full return on investment, but will save your company time, stress, and money when the time comes.

Schedule Regular Check-Ups Generally, solar systems require little maintenance over the course of their lifespans—but truly optimum performance is only achieved with regular upkeep. By committing to scheduled maintenance sessions, not only will it keep your array operating at optimum efficiency, it will dramatically reduce down times, and associated headaches, if an unexpected problem arises. It will also help you maximize your return on investment; after all, ROI is directly tied to your system’s performance. Having someone complete annual preventative maintenance, and make site visits to inspect all components of your solar installation is essential to avoiding any issues and lost revenue.

Monitor your System in Real-Time Another way to stay one step ahead of your system is to invest in real-time, web-based monitoring, which measures the production of electricity from your array and sends an alert to your maintenance company if it drops below its expected levels. Having this kind of visibility ensures your business’ solar system will be operating at the optimal output by constantly tracking its performance. If problems occur, real-time alerts will facilitate the fastest possible response. Furthermore, collecting this data has the added benefit of enabling businesses to identify opportunities for improvement in their energy use and efficiency, while also helping to forecast future production. 

Pay Attention to Your Soft Assets SREC management is often a component of operation and maintenance services that is overlooked, as it is not tied directly to the physical production of the array. However, it is an essential element in enabling you to achieve (and potentially exceed) your return on investment (ROI) goals for your solar project. Both SREC management and net metering support, impact your revenue streams and managing them appropriately helps you to make the most, financially, of your array. Having an expert financial team carefully track the SREC market assures that you won’t miss a prime opportunity to cash in your SRECs; after all, this is the final and most important step in turning your array’s production into revenue. Furthermore, many companies will offer services that help you stay informed including quarterly performance information, SREC reporting, tracking and trading, and market information communications.

Be Proactive with Corrective Maintenance Occasionally, issues with your array could arise that are not covered as part of scheduled maintenance. However, corrective maintenance services ensure your solar array is protected from any unpleasant surprises so that you won’t be stressing about potential  repairs. Corrective maintenance generally includes making repairs, restorations, and improvements that you would not receive in a regularly scheduled preventative maintenance session.

In order to ensure your solar energy system is operating correctly and efficiently, it is important to provide it with the necessary maintenance and regular inspections. At Solect, we offer a suite of comprehensive solar operation and maintenance services to help maximize solar production, which provides businesses with an array of benefits.

Kristen Brandt is the director of marketing for Solect Energy, Hopkinton, Mass.