SMA Solar Technology AG

Large-scale PV power plants : Maintenance Pays Off


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Large-scale PV power plants are an investment in the future. Careful planning and SMA technology perfectly adapted to operator needs ensure that every plant is profitable and produces high yields. Regular maintenance is necessary to guarantee all plant components run safely and optimally, long term. They prevent smaller and larger defects from being overlooked and thus exert a considerable influence on plant operation. Here are three good reasons why maintaining a PV power plant is good practice.

1. Obtaining the SMA factory warranty and complying with contractual obligations

Regular maintenance, including documentation, is essential in allowing SMA to provide the best possible support, free of charge, on-site and whenever necessary. Care should therefore be taken to ensure that the plant is inspected at the prescribed maintenance intervals during the five-year SMA factory warranty. However, regular maintenance is a genuine must for optimum operation, not just during the term of the warranty but also particularly once it has expired.

Providing evidence that there has been regular maintenance is also important in concluding a service contract for spare parts and repair work, for example. In fact, one of the customer’s contractual obligations (if they have a service contract) frequently involves guaranteeing compliance with the maintenance intervals and then providing evidence. This also applies to service contracts with SMA.

2. Functional reliability and no hidden costs

Routine maintenance secures stable and reliable plant operation—even after several years. When conducting maintenance work, a trained engineer can see, for example, whether the cooling air supply on the inverter is still operating correctly or whether they must take action. It is also important to thoroughly check again and again whether all safety devices are operating correctly. A faulty safety device that does not react if the emergency stop button is pressed could have devastating consequences. But with the passage of time, even more could happen to endanger safety: contaminated air filters, loosened electric connections and wear on components that are exposed to extreme weather conditions are just a few examples. In general, maintenance allows wear and minor defects to be detected early on so they can be rectified immediately and no unnecessary consequential costs are incurred.

3. Stable operation means higher yields

Maintained and cared-for PV power plants enjoy stable operation. As the heart of each and every PV system, the inverter is in charge of optimum system operation and should be regularly checked by trained experts. The following generally applies: only if all components are perfectly matched to each other and are free of defects can a PV power plant generate the highest yields. Regular maintenance therefore increases the plant’s yield in many cases.

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