Many Sub-Saharan African markets have already added the first tens and, in some cases, hundreds of MWs of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity, with significant growth expected in the coming years. As markets develop, concerns increase around the long-term reliability and performance of solar assets, as they strongly affect project bankability and return on investments.
As power plants age, the industry has realised that proper “health care” is indispensable for power plants to meet performance expectations. Today, O&M has become a standalone segment within the solar industry, with an increasing number of solar companies in Africa providing specialised services. Yet there are still significant quality discrepancies between services from different providers.
To address these challenges, SolarPower Europe joined forces with GET.invest and ten African solar and renewable energy associations from Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe to develop the Africa edition of the O&M Best Practice Guidelines. Our joint African- European O&M Task Force was launched in September 2020, assembling 30 leading solar experts from Africa and Europe. The result is a guide that we hope will help African solar stakeholders increase quality in the O&M segment.
This document is aimed at O&M service providers, as well as other parties involved in the operation of solar power plants, such as owners and investors, lenders, technical advisors and data-related service providers. It will help establish common standards and increase transparency in the sector. It is also worth noting that solar O&M is especially value intensive, as a segment that supports many local jobs, and drives important solar innovations, notably in the field of digitalisation.
O&M Best Practice Guidelines: South Africa