Operations and maintenance (O&M) records are crucial in your decision-making process around capital purchases for energy assets. Historical O&M records show what repairs have been done, when, and when parts of assets have failed. O&M records also indicate how much has previously been spent on repairing or replacing parts of an asset. Auditing the expense-to-asset-life ratio can be helpful when evaluating make and model of a replacement asset.
In this article, you’ll learn what capital purchases are, the top ways O&M records can help guide your decision-making when it comes to capital purchases in energy, and how to keep consistent O&M records with the right computerized maintenance management system (CMMS).
What is a Capital Purchase?
Customarily, capital purchases refer to when you buy a fixed asset. When it comes to energy, that means you could be investing in something as sizable as a solar array. You could also be looking into investing into energy equipment, including wind turbine projects, if you’re looking to diversify your investment portfolio. Capital expenses, also known as capital expenditure, are the funds you use to buy the asset.
As you go through the asset acquisition process, you’ll also need an understanding of operations expenses—yearly cost of repairs, upgrades, and other critical work. O&M records are critical for getting a 360-degree view of your asset, its condition, and what work has been done.
4 Ways O&M Records Inform Better Capital Purchases
The four primary ways O&M records help you make better capital purchases are through detailed life cycle costs, maintenance requirements, repairs and refits, and identifying what you most need to invest in.
1. Clear Overview of Lifecycle Costs
Throughout the life cycle of your asset, each phase requires different amounts of spending, from planning to design to operations. You’ll also have to think of the costs of repair, replacement, and disposal. You should also be aware that some assets decay over time and with use.
As you’re looking at the big-picture costs, you’ll also want to consider costs that may crop up during the repair cycle. For example, repairs—what they were, when they were made, and why they were needed—may cost you more in unbudgeted expenses, parts and labor, and loss of revenue.
For example, some of the most expensive repairs you can make on a solar panel include the solar inverter (which can cost between $1,000 to $2,000 for a new string inverter, per unit). Cracked panels can also be costly, totaling up to $500 for a new panel. Below, you’ll find the most commonly discovered PV faults.
With this documentation on hand, you can make informed financial decisions.
2. Ongoing Maintenance Requirements
If you’re looking to invest in capital assets such as an electrical grid, you’ll also need to be aware of maintenance requirements. While “maintenance” seems like a catch-all term, there are several different approaches to repairs, including:
- Corrective maintenance: Needed to replace faulty or malfunctioning equipment.
- Period-based maintenance: When maintenance occurs at set times, such as one or twice a month, when the asset is operating.
- Condition-based maintenance: Information-driven repair where data is collected by sensors, and the fixes are made prior to the equipment failing.
- Risk-based maintenance: Focuses on the best ways to disburse resources to make repairs and minimize risk.
O&M records provide a holistic snapshot of when the last repairs were done, and an overall philosophy of repair. It will soon become evident if repairs have largely been neglected or not carried out appropriately, and that knowledge will help keep you in a more secure financial position.
3. Refits and Repairs
If you’re looking at investing in an older energy project that needs to be brought up to contemporary standards, you should also look at the costs of refit. Ideally, the work will have been done by now, but refits and repairs are still a critical part of the O&M equation.
O&M records should indicate the working status of an energy project (date of construction, status of repairs, etc.), and allow you to easily assess the status of the system without needing to enter into a purchase agreement before you’re ready.
4. Aggregating Data With the Right CMMS
Even if you’re interested in investing in a project that’s been keeping track of repairs with pen and paper, the right CMMS can streamline all of that data in no time. CMMSes, like 60Hertz Energy’s, provide a 360-degree, on-the-go view of O&M records to make asset management easier.
When you access O&M records through a CMMS, you get easy visibility into asset inspections and work orders, jobs planning and maintenance schedules, and field team logs. You’ll have the information you need to know where to invest, should you decide to move forward with the investment.
Often an Enterprise Resource Planning platform will contain asset registry or asset management content. If your company has not adopted an ERP, the right CMMS will provide “asset management lite” and thus delay your need to implement a full-blown ERP.
Make the Right Capital Purchase With O&M Records Through the Right CMMS
60Hertz’s CMMS, powering over 22,000 asset inspections, is trusted as the go-to choice for asset maintenance. Consolidate data from multiple systems, including O&M records, into one platform, and generate repair activities reports.
You’re also able to schedule maintenance when it’s needed and automate work orders—cutting errors and preventing essential work from falling between the cracks.
Learn more about how the right CMMS can help you streamline O&M records—and your long-term financial success. Contact us today.