Operations and Maintenance Best Practice Guidelines / India edition – 2020

Welcome to the India edition of the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Best Practice Guidelines. Building on Version 4.0 of SolarPower Europe’s O&M Best Practice Guidelines, this edition has been adapted to the Indian context in a joint effort between the National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI) and SolarPower Europe.
It has been revised thoroughly in a joint European-Indian Task Force. NSEFI and SolarPower Europe would like to thank the Indo-German Energy Forum for their continued support that made these Guidelines possible.
O&M is a segment of great importance for the solar industry in India, which is home to one of the largest fleets of solar PV plants worldwide. As power plants age, the industry has realised that proper “health care” is indispensable for power plants to meet performance expectations.

Today, O&M has become a standalone segment in the solar value chain in India with an increasing number of companies specialising exclusively in solar O&M. Yet there are
still significant quality discrepancies between services provided by different O&M providers.
To address these challenges, NSEFI and SolarPower Europe, supported by IGEF, joined forces to develop the India edition of the O&M Best Practice Guidelines. Our joint O&M Task Force was launched in March 2020 in New Delhi, assembling more than 40 leading solar experts from India and Europe. The kick-off meeting was followed by a series of online working meetings, in which we fine-tuned Version 4.0 of SolarPower Europe’s O&M Best Practice Guidelines in order to reflect Indian market conditions and regulatory requirements.

The result is a guidance that we hope will help Indian solar stakeholders to increase quality in the O&M segment. This document is aimed at O&M service providers, as well as other parties involved in the operation of solar power plants, such as owners and
investors, lenders, technical advisors and data-related service providers. It will help to establish common standards and increase transparency in the sector. It is also worth noting that solar O&M is a particularly value intensive segment that supports a lot of local jobs, and drives important solar innovations notably in the field of digitalisation.

In the India edition, all chapters of the original document have been thoroughly reviewed and revised with an attention to Indian specificities. To highlight some of the adjustments: to adapt the terminology to the Indian context, for example, we introduced the concepts of “Operation Planning”, performed by the Central Control
Room, and “Operation Execution”, performed by the Local Control Room. The fact that utility-scale solar power plants in India usually have on-site staff as part of the Local Control Room, had implications for many requirements and best practices from monitoring to maintenance.

Indian requirements related to topics such as grid code compliance, power generation forecasting, energy meter accuracy have been covered. India specific best practices have been provided on aspects such as trainings, data and forecasting accuracy, water
use for module cleaning, Performance Ratio (PR) and Capacity Utilisation Factor (CUF) guarantees.

The publication of these Guidelines is an important milestone in the successful cooperation between NSEFI and SolarPower Europe. It follows the publication of our joint report on Solar investment opportunities in India in March 2020 and the publication of our report on PV waste management in India, supported by the EU-India
Technical Cooperation Programme (PV Rooftop Cell), in September 2020. We will continue working together on topics of mutual interest in the future, such as solar manufacturing, green hydrogen and EPC best practices.

If you want to be part of this cooperation, contact NSEFI or SolarPower Europe.

About Ritesh Pothan

Ritesh Pothan, is an accomplished speaker and visionary in the Solar Energy space in India. Ritesh is from an Engineering Background with a Master’s Degree in Technology and had spent more than a decade as the Infrastructure Head for a public limited company with the last 9 years dedicated to Solar and Renewable Energy. He also runs the 2 largest India focused renewable energy groups on LinkedIn - Solar - India and Renewables - India
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