Has your technical management just taken over an existing PV installation? Then you should immediately take an inventory of the new photovoltaic system. This is because in many cases, several preparatory measures are necessary before operational monitoring using monitoring software can be started.

In the following, 4-part article series, “Technical operation management of existing photovoltaic installations“, common problems with newly acquired existing installations and their solutions will be described. The following is an overview with topics that are covered in this series of articles:

Guaranteeing communication

Only when all devices within the PV configuration can communicate properly with each other, will the following steps make sense. In this first article, we will therefore look at the following, common communication routes in PV systems.

  • Connections between data loggers and DC-AC inverters
  • Connections between data loggers and the monitoring portal
  • Ripple control receivers or park control

System documentation checks

With acquired existing installations in particular, many different service providers will have been involved with the maintenance and expansion of the PV configuration over the course of time, even after commissioning has taken place. The plant documentation is therefore often ‘piecemeal’ and available in sections, or may even be completely out-of-date or incomplete. By carrying out the following checks, you can bring your documentation up-to-date and find out if, and where, something is missing.

  • Missing/defective PV string plans
  • Check the system configuration on the monitor
    • Plausibility check
    • PV string quantity and PV string length
    • Check the alignment and inclination of PV modules

Check the system performance

All of your PV components are connected to each other, the communication works and a clean configuration is also guaranteed in your monitoring software. And you’re done! Or are you? Follow the following steps to carry out a final initial check. We suggest you carry out this step shortly before moving on to operational monitoring. Certain peculiarities and/or circumstances often arise during this phase. These can affect the measurements if they are not recognised before the start of the ongoing monitoring process and are not taken into account or cleaned up.
• Test for plant-specific losses in yield (e.g. shading)
• Test for yield loss caused by environmental factors (e.g. pollution, vegetation, etc.)

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If you need assistance with the monitoring of your solar plants or entire PV parks then take a look at our “Operational monitoring” service – and get in touch!