Comprehensive Guide to Operations and Maintenance of Solar Power Systems

A solar power plant is made up of components such as solar panels, inverters, combiner boxes, distribution boxes, mounts, and connecting wires. Malfunctions in any part of this setup can affect the entire system’s functionality. Minor issues may result in reduced power output, while severe problems can lead to substantial damages, including fires.

Statistical analysis reveals that the majority of failures in solar power systems occur on the DC side. Faults in elements like modules, inverters, and combiner boxes constitute 90.18% of these issues. Problems with AC side equipment such as cables, transformers, civil structures, and booster stations account for 9.82% of failures.

In this context, ADNLITE offers a detailed exploration of the operations and maintenance of solar power plants, providing essential insights to effectively manage and optimize these energy systems.

Common Issues in Photovoltaic Power Station Systems

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  1. Product Equipment Quality Issues
    • Common problems include refurbished photovoltaic modules, overstated power ratings, substandard solar panels passed off as higher quality, and severe degradation.
    • Inverters may suffer from insufficient output power or aging.
    • Incorrect concrete grade selection, inadequate pouring dimensions.
    • Structural support materials may have significant errors or insufficient galvanizing.
    • Cables might be under-specified with insufficient current carrying capacity.
    • Distribution equipment may be used inappropriately, and components may not meet standards.
  2. Construction and Installation Quality Issues
    • Issues during the construction and installation process often include inadequate compaction of foundations.
    • Rebar cages are not bound to standard.
    • Support bracket bolts are not installed correctly at nodes.
    • Cable connections may be non-standard, poorly contacted, or loosely connected.
    • Improper installation of modules can lead to hidden cracks.

By focusing on these areas, stakeholders in the photovoltaic industry can significantly reduce the occurrence of quality issues, thereby increasing the efficiency, safety, and profitability of solar power installations.

Common Issues in Daily Management of Photovoltaic Power Stations

Shading

  • Shading issues mainly arise from other photovoltaic arrays, buildings (walls, chimneys), high voltage lines, antennas, base stations, railings, solar water heaters, trees, and weeds. Even partial shading of a single solar panel can significantly impact the power output of the entire string of panels. The most typical consequences of shading are hot spots and corrosion effects.
  • Hot Spot Effect: This occurs when the shaded part of a photovoltaic module heats up much more than the unshaded part, potentially causing hot spots that can damage the module, shorten its lifespan, and decrease electricity generation efficiency.
  • Corrosion Effect: This refers to the accumulation of dust and acidic or alkaline substances from the atmosphere on the solar panels, which corrodes their surface. This can also cause sunlight to scatter diffusely on the panel’s surface, reducing the power output.

Dust and Snow

  • Dust particles, suspended in the air and deriving from car exhaust, industrial pollution, and soil erosion, can easily accumulate on the outdoor surfaces of photovoltaic modules. Not only dust but also bird droppings, sand, plant leaves, construction splashes, and grease can affect the efficiency of solar panels.
  • Similarly, snow accumulating on the panels can create shadows and block light, leading to a loss in power generation.
  • When parts of a panel are shaded, the current through the shaded solar cells will be lower than that of the unshaded cells. The shaded parts can then act as a load, converting electrical energy into heat and generating high temperatures, leading to the hot spot effect.
  • If the shading persists, the affected solar cells may continuously operate as a load. This can result in prolonged high temperatures in the hot spot areas, potentially damaging the solar cells and junction boxes, and even risking a fire.

Hazard Management in Photovoltaic Power Stations

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Effective management of safety hazards in photovoltaic power stations is crucial.

Common issues include:

  • Improper Use of Space: Some sites use photovoltaic arrays to construct makeshift shelters.
  • Clutter: There is often careless storage of firewood and miscellaneous items.
  • Overgrowth: Vines and weeds can grow uncontrollably.
  • Agriculture and Livestock: There are practices of planting vine plants and raising poultry within the site.
  • Maintenance Failures: Not clearing dry grass promptly or failing to relocate graves within the site can lead to new graves being added. Additionally, distribution boxes might house bird nests, wasp nests, or spider webs.

Neglecting these hazards can lead to several issues:

  • Reduced Cooling Efficiency: Overgrowth and clutter around photovoltaic arrays can decrease their cooling efficiency, increasing system wear and reducing power output.
  • Electrical Risks: Insects in distribution boxes, if not cleared, can cause short circuits, damaging equipment and increasing maintenance costs as well as reducing revenue from power generation.
  • Fire Risks: The accumulation of miscellaneous items and dry grass, along with the presence of graves, can significantly increase the risk of fire, especially during winter and the Qingming festival.

Addressing these hazards requires regular inspections, clear maintenance protocols, and strict control of site usage to ensure operational safety and efficiency.

Two Key Judgments for Routine Maintenance of Photovoltaic Power Stations

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  1. Using Smart Meters to Assess the Power Station Status
    • Smart meters are utilized to collect data on the photovoltaic power station and assess its operational status for any potential issues. The meters provide indications of grid availability and record the power station’s electricity production. By analyzing the display on the energy meter, operators can determine if the grid is available and assess how much power the station is generating.
  2. Using Inverters to Make Basic Assessments
    • Inverters can offer valuable data that helps in assessing the power station’s output and power conditions. By tracking the inverter’s serial number and displaying data, operators can compile statistics on the station’s electricity generation and power status. The inverter’s fault indicator lights and fault codes can provide initial insights into the type and cause of any issues. Promptly reporting these findings to the operations and maintenance team allows for swift feedback and necessary actions based on their instructions.

Finally, Let us get some summarize:

Maintenance of the Solar Plant Site Area

  1. Routine Inspections and Cleaning
    • Implement a daily inspection routine and bi-monthly cleaning schedule. Any debris or potential hazards should be promptly addressed to prevent accidents.
  2. Check Physical Barriers and Signs
    • Regularly inspect the integrity of perimeter fencing, safety warning signs, and public information boards within the site to ensure they are intact and clearly visible.
  3. Equipment Inspection
    • Conduct regular inspections of the photovoltaic power station’s equipment to prevent theft and damage. Fire prevention and security measures should be in place; unauthorized personnel should not enter the photovoltaic array area. Any intrusion by poultry, birds, or foreign objects should be promptly addressed and cleared.
  4. Weather Monitoring
    • Listen to and record the local weather forecast daily to prepare for any adverse conditions that might affect the safe operation of the power station. Develop contingency plans based on potential weather scenarios.
  5. Monitoring and Record-Keeping
    • Continuously monitor and document the operating parameters of the photovoltaic power station equipment. Keep track of the electricity generation and maintain an operational ledger for effective management of the power station.
  6. Staff Training and Response
    • Inspection personnel should have a basic ability to analyze faults. Any detected issues must be communicated immediately to the responsible unit of the power station and to professional operations and maintenance teams for remediation.

These maintenance practices are crucial for ensuring the longevity and efficiency of photovoltaic power stations, as well as for safeguarding against operational disruptions and potential safety hazards.

Call to Action

For top-quality project-based lighting solutions and Solar Power System Kits, contact ADNLITE. We are ready to offer you free proposals for solar power lighting and solar power systems tailored to meet your specific needs. Don’t hesitate to reach out and learn how we can illuminate your projects efficiently and sustainably.