Planning, Procuring and Managing Solar PV Systems for Long-term Performance: Improving Performance and Reducing O&M Cost for Photovoltaic Systems  

Education Type: 
1 Hour
0.2 CEU
Sponsored by: 

DOE Federal Energy Management Program - FEMP

With over 3,000 photovoltaic (PV) systems installed at Federal facilities, it is important to ensure that these assets return the investment over a long performance period by delivering renewable energy, reliably, and with minimal environmental impact. With very few moving parts and autonomous operation PV systems entail much less O&M than other forms of energy generation. Still, over time, preventative maintenance and corrective repairs are required to avoid underperformance. This training will cover:

  1. Definitions of performance metrics;
  2. Performance evaluations of Federal systems;
  3. Life cycle cost considering Availability and Performance Ratio;
  4. Elements of an O&M plan;
  5. PV O&M costs and benefits;
  6. Alternatives for funding and contracting for O&M; and
  7. Tactics to reduce cost and improve effectiveness of O&M (sophisticated software; IR drone inspection; vegetation and cleaning; etc.)

This training is part of a sequential series. The recommended order of completion is:


Andy Walker, Principal Engineer, NREL  

Andy Walker is a principal engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, where he conducts engineering and economic analysis of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for federal agencies and commercial and industrial clients. Since 2009, he has been focusing on performance issues and helping system owners evaluate and optimize system performance. He is currently managing a U.S. Department of Energy SunShot program on photovoltaic (PV) operations and maintenance (O&M), producing a best practices guide and PV O&M cost model. He holds a patent on the Renewable Energy Optimization (REO) method of planning renewable energy projects across a portfolio of properties based on economic value, which was awarded the Thomas A. Edison patent award for innovation and impact. He has taught energy classes at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado School of Mines, and at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and led the Solar Energy Division and is the author of more than 28 book chapters, journal articles, and conference papers including "Solar Energy: Technologies and Project Delivery for Buildings," a reference book published by John Wiley. Andy's credentials include a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, and he is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Colorado.

Jal Desai, Research, NREL  

Jal provides techno-economic analysis in the Strategies & Implementation Group in the Integrated Application Center. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in December 2016 and joined NREL in January 2017. Jal's research Interests include renewable energy deployment and technologies, energy policies, assessment and modeling. Jal earned a M.S. in Energy Science Technology and Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA and B.S. in Electrical Engineering, Nirma University, Ahmedabad, India. Jal is specializing in topical research into PV O&M issues.

Gerald Robinson, Program Manager, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory  

As a program manager and principal investigator at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Energy Technology Area (LBNL-ETA), Gerald largely works to address procurement barriers related to the adaption of resilient energy technologies. Related to this effort, Gerald is part of a team of researchers investigating solar photovoltaic (PV) hardware resiliency and severe weather topics. Gerald supports the U.S. Department of Energy's Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) resilient energy programs that provide procurement and technical assistance to federal agencies. As part of his role in supporting FEMP, Gerald leads teams developing resilient energy programs and procurements designed to simultaneously reduce utility costs to the taxpayer while increasing the reliability of power supplies feeding federal facilities. Gerald also works on a FEMP team working to develop solar PV operations best practices for federal agencies and produced a solar PV operations and maintenance solicitation template and a guide to spotting and repairing existing vulnerabilities. Gerald has been working in commercial and institutional energy management since 1992.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this training, attendees will be able to:

  • Interpret "Availability" and "Performance Ratio" as PV system performance indicators;
  • Identify how to plan to deliver and pay for required O&M; and
  • Estimate PV O&M costs; and Recognize how to manage unpredictable costs such as severe weather damage.
Federal Agencies and Facility Criteria: