I’ve now worked in large-scale solar for over ten years, contributing to over 2GW of installations and managing multiple projects exceeding 100MW in capacity. 

While my career has primarily focused on the development, design, and installation of solar power plants, I’ve had the opportunity to observe the profound impact of effective Operations and Maintenance (O&M), and how effective partnerships between the various teams involved in a project – including the Developer, the Utility, the EPC and the O&M teams help to ensure successful, profitable assets that will generate clean, renewable electricity for 25 years or more.

In this blog post, I want to share some of my insights and the best practices I’ve observed in solar O&M – and highlight how critical these functions are.

Importance of Solar O&M

Operations and Maintenance is the backbone of a solar power plant’s lifecycle. While the initial installation garners the most attention and makes for the best photo opportunities, it’s the continuous maintenance that ensures the plant operates at peak efficiency. Regular O&M activities help in identifying potential issues before they escalate, thus preventing costly downtimes and ensuring consistent energy production.

Key Lessons Learned

Proactive Maintenance Over Reactive Solutions: I’ve seen numerous projects where unexpected failures led to significant downtimes. Adopting a proactive maintenance strategy can help to prevent such issues. Scheduling regular inspections and employing predictive maintenance technologies can help catch and mitigate problems before they disrupt operations.

Utilizing Advanced Technologies: Advanced technologies such as drones for aerial inspections and thermal cameras for detecting hot spots have revolutionized solar O&M. These tools enhance the accuracy of inspections and significantly reduce the time and labor required, making O&M more efficient and effective.

Challenges in Solar O&M

Environmental Factors: Solar power plants are exposed to various environmental factors that can affect their performance. Dust accumulation, bird droppings, and vegetation growth can all impede solar panel efficiency. Implementing regular cleaning schedules and comprehensive vegetation management strategies is crucial for maintaining optimal performance.

Component Degradation: Over time, solar panels and other components of the plant can degrade. Regular performance testing and capacity testing are essential to ensure that the plant is operating as expected. This involves comparing the actual energy output with the expected output and identifying any discrepancies for immediate action.

Best Practices in Solar O&M

Investing in Training and Education: One of the most valuable investments a solar company can make is in the training and education of its O&M team. Ensuring that technicians are well-versed in the latest industry standards and technologies can enhance the overall efficiency and reliability of their solar plants.

Implementing Robust Monitoring Systems: Advanced monitoring systems provide real-time data on the performance of the solar plant. Leveraging data analytics, O&M teams can gain insights into the plant’s operation and quickly address any issues that arise.


Solar O&M is not just about fixing issues as they occur; it’s about implementing strategies and systems that ensure the continuous and efficient operation of the solar power plant. By focusing on proactive maintenance, leveraging advanced technologies, and investing in training, solar companies can ensure their plants operate at peak efficiency, delivering reliable renewable energy for years to come.

Coming soon, I’ll be releasing new content focusing on this exact topic – Utility Scale Solar Operations & Maintenance – adding to my growing library of highly rated and well respected educational content on the Heatspring platform. You can pre-order the course today!