Solar Market Growing, but Challenges do Exist

Solar Market Growing, but Challenges do Exist

Part 2 of a 3-part article on solar-energy technologies

By Laurie A. Gilmer, P.E.  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Solar-Energy Technologies Emerging as Options for Commercial and Institutional FacilitiesPt. 2: This PagePt. 3: Developments on Solar-Technology Front for Maintenance Managers

The solar market continues to grow, though it does face a few key challenges:

Weather. Solar energy collection relies on the availability of sunlight, which can vary greatly depending on weather conditions.

Cost of panels. PV panels have been relatively costly to produce and install for their estimated 20-25 year life span. With that said, tax credits and incentives are available that can bring the overall cost down. The costs of the panels are also continuing to decrease.

Space. PV panels take up space. Typically relegated to roofs and site structures, the amount of space needed to meet a facility’s energy needs might not be readily available.

What about maintenance of panels? While manufacturers might say that panels require very little maintenance, to get the best performance out of installed systems, managers should include these steps in any preventive maintenance program:

• Clean panels every 6-12 months or as needed based on monitoring.

• Inspect system quarterly, including inverters, meters, and tracking systems, if present.

• Inspect surroundings for vegetation, pest and other unwanted materials, and maintain the area as needed to ensure access and performance.

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  posted on 11/16/2015   Article Use Policy

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