Operation & Maintenance 2.0

By: Mate Heisz., Business Analyst

Operations & maintenance is a vital, yet often forgotten, element to boost and sustain Europe's solar potential. The lack of standardisation and guidance for O&M activities was identified by SolarPower Europe and its members to be a major issue in the industry, which is why on 7 December at our O&M and Asset Management event in London we launched the Operation & Maintenance Best Practice Guidelines 2.0. 

The result of the work of SolarPower Europe's O&M Task Force members, which represents more than 70 experts across the entire solar value chain, including O&M contractors, asset owners, asset managers and monitoring tool providers, the guidelines are built on industry experience and therefore offer the most authoritative guidance on how to optimise technical and economic performance of solar PV systems.

"Europe is the continent with the largest and oldest fleet of solar plants, we need proper health care for the assets to meet performance expectations. These O&M Best Practices Guidelines are necessary for the European solar industry to stay healthy and continue to grow long term" said James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe. 

Building on the first edition of the guidelines, the version 2.0 dives deeper into the topic.

"Over the course of the past twelve months, the O&M Task Force has extensively refined the guidelines and included an additional chapter on technical asset management and cybersecurity. With this report we aim to establish an industry-wide standard for professional O&M which will be of great benefit to our sector" commented Vassilis Papaeconomou, Managing Director at Alectris and O&M Task Force Leader for SolarPower Europe.

Another important new feature of the guidelines is the integration of contractual recommendations in line with the recently established Global Solar Energy Standardisation Initiative (SESI). This initiative is a collaboration between the International Renewable Energy Agency and the Terrawatt Initiative, with the strong support of SolarPower Europe and the Global Solar Council, working to harmonise standards in the solar industry. The SESI brings together the solar industry, legal sector as well as other stakeholders from finance, insurance and beyond aiming to streamline and reduce costs to enable the deployment of solar globally.

In terms of O&M, the SESI is an important addition as the potential to reduce costs is further strengthened as together they create a complete toolkit for effective, cost efficient and simplified solar O&M. The SESI provides the final destination while the O&M Best Practice Guidelines 2.0 provide the road map on how to reach this destination.

We can no longer consider O&M as a standalone segment in the solar value chain if we want to take the European solar industry to the next level. Effective solar O&M is a massive opportunity to streamline the sector and accelerate solar deployment in Europe - the O&M Best Practice Guidelines 2.0 is the first step in realizing these opportunities. 

To learn more about the O&M Best Practice Guidelines 2.0 and the Global Solar Energy Standardisation Initiative, listen to an informative podcast on this topic here. 

To join the SolarPower Europe O&M Task Force, please contact Mate Heisz.