Did you know that the primary cause of lost production is inverter failure? Standardization of maintenance practices can reduce these failures and improve your bottom line. And this is precisely where an inverter preventive maintenance checklist can help.
Why Your Solar Project Needs an Inverter Preventive Maintenance Checklist
A single inverter failure can lead to a loss of up to 25 MWh/day or $1250 per day . There are numerous factors that can affect inverter’s performance , such as faulty installation or design, consumables (e.g. fans, fuses, breakers, and switchgear, etc.), exposure to heat, humidity levels, and failing to put in place an effective maintenance strategy.
Creating a comprehensive preventative maintenance checklist for your PV solar system and inverters is essential to ensuring the longevity of your system and maximizing its return on investment.
This checklist should include regular operations checks, maintenance tasks, inspections, and timely repairs or replacements to ensure optimal performance.
What Should Be in Your Preventive Maintenance Checklist for Inverters
The key to successful and efficient solar operations is a robust operations and maintenance plan. By proactively preparing with preventative maintenance, you can protect against unplanned downtime and maximize your assets’ performance over their service life.
Plus, consistent workflow becomes the norm when implementing an effective maintenance checklist tailored for easy scalability in any solar business.
Inverter Failures Lead to Thousands in Lost Revenue
Find out how 60Hertz Energy’s CMMS can help save your inverters.
Here are some essential maintenance tips you should consider when creating your ultimate inverter preventative maintenance checklist:
1. Inspect battery terminals for corrosion and loose connections. Regular inspection and cleaning of terminals can prevent arcs and overheating.
2. Inspect the battery environment . Extreme temperatures can affect performance. Ensure it is in a cool and dry location with plenty of ventilation and no exposure to moisture or sunlight.
3. Inspect connections for signs of loosening or wear and tear, as these can lead to short circuits or other electrical problems down the line.
4. Inspect the control panel regularly for warning messages or error codes that could indicate a problem with the system’s components or indicators of potential failure.
5. Schedule regular maintenance. Have your solar inverter installation serviced regularly according to manufacturer recommendations — typically once every two years — to ensure its proper functioning over time.
6. Cleaning the air intake filter on your solar panels every six months will increase their efficiency and help extend their service life by preventing dirt and dust from clogging up important parts like fans and cooling systems.
7. Check that the cooling fan is working properly by inspecting it for signs of dust build-up or signs of malfunction such as noise, vibration or poor air flow from vents in the system’s housing unit.
8. Adjust drive parameters at least once every 12 months to keep them within manufacturers’ specifications. This helps maximize output performance while minimizing power loss due to changing environmental conditions like extreme weather events or temperature changes throughout the day/night cycle.
9. Examine wiring connections during a visual inspection. Make sure to look out for any exposed wires that could lead to short circuits due to direct contact between conductors carrying different voltage levels in your system’s components.
10. Test proper installation and periodically check solar panel brackets are securely fastened at all points and properly installed — including around frames, mounting posts and rails. This will eliminate possible risks due to wind stress or other natural occurrences over time in outdoor installations.
For example, if you are using a 4 kW solar panel, your inverter capacity should be 3 kW. If you are using a 6 kW solar panel, your inverter capacity should be 4.5 kW.
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Collecting Data to Plan for Inverter Maintenance
Acquiring accurate, timely data is essential for successful solar inverter installation. Most importantly, data informs preventative maintenance repair or replace decisions. This information provides tips and insights into keeping your inverter running as efficiently as possible.
Good data analysis can lead to effective asset life management and prevent costly repairs or replacements. A data-driven approach helps you understand the local conditions that could lead to problems with the inverter over time and how long it will last, such as weather , wildlife and environment.
Collecting data enables you to take preventive maintenance steps rather than reactive ones, avoiding future failures that could be financially costly. Having data on hand ensures that the investment made in your solar installation lasts longer and yields more profit for the assets’ optimal lifespan.
Collecting inverter performance data allows technicians to spot trends or changes while alerting the team to any potential issues that might be present, allowing them to address these issues before they become serious problems.
Planning out maintenance schedules based on data collected from the inverter can help technicians save time and money and prevent more severe problems that could arise due to a lack of maintenance.
SunEdison collated failure data revealing the most common causes of PV solar system failures and energy loss due to resultant downtimes. This data was gathered through deriving from over 3,500 tickets across 350 commercial systems – this research provided invaluable insight into improving efficiency and reliability for these components.
How Your CMMS Simplifies Inverter Maintenance
Utilizing a comprehensive CMMS platform, like 60Hertz , can simplify managing inverter data and optimize maintenance decisions to avoid losses. Centralizing views on critical data eliminates the time-consuming and frustrating process of manually “tab jockeying” between multiple vendor portals to interpret and take action.
With 60Hertz, you can aggregate data into a single view and record vital asset information needed to inform decisions about your energy production systems with a click of a button. This system optimizes performance by reducing unexpected outages due to failures or faulty equipment.
Not only are there significant labor savings associated with automating data collection tasks for solar operations and maintenance activities, but with predictive analytics technology, you’re also able to avoid outages and optimize power generation and quality, ultimately improving customer satisfaction.
Here are some more ways a CMMS can help simplify your inverter maintenance:
1. Real-time monitoring of solar inverter operating conditions helps to optimize performance and ensure the quality of products produced by the system, thus helping to reduce downtime and increase energy efficiency.
2. A CMMS provides an efficient workflow for scheduling, tracking, and completing maintenance activities related to solar inverters. This method helps to reduce labor costs and keep components in optimal condition.
3. Detect minor malfunctions before becoming major issues, allowing technicians to anticipate problems and take corrective action quickly.
4. Technicians can easily access detailed information about a system’s components, such as frequency and voltage settings, temperature readings, and more.
This helps technicians diagnose problems accurately and identify areas that require adjustment or replacement parts for optimum functionality as well as providing quality evidence for warranties.
5. Data-generated reports provide detailed inverter performance over time and allow maintenance personnel to track any anomalies in the system’s operational output or energy usage levels that could indicate potential failures.
6. Documentation supports solar inverter installation projects, ensuring that all relevant details are documented correctly so that future service visits are fast and accurate – saving time for both technicians and clients.
Optimize Inverter Maintenance With Solar’s CMMS of Choice
Only with a CMMS like 60Hertz can you fully optimize the maintenance of the most pivotal pieces of solar equipment, document all maintenance activities and utilize data capture to reap optimal power generation for your particular inverter model and its manufacturer’s recommended lifespan.
Interested in seeing the power of a CMMS for yourself? Book a demo today.