To fill a major knowledge gap, EPRI and Sandia National Laboratories are jointly engaged in a multi-year research effort to examine photovoltaic (PV) plant reliability performance obtained through documented field data. Findings and analyses, derived from the PV Reliability Operations Maintenance (PVROM) database, are intended to inform industry best practices around the optimal operations and maintenance (O&M) of solar assets.
Currently being populated with initial PV plant information, the PVROM database aims to house a broad sampling of availability and reliability information for a diverse mix of PV plants located throughout North America. Among the variables being captured: locational and plant size factors; inverter and balance of system (BOS) equipment types and components; failure events, causes, frequencies; uptime/downtime metrics; applied solutions; and O&M actions and costs.
This report provides a comprehensive background on the joint research initiative, discussing its objectives and analytical framework, while also describing the PVROM data collection tool’s technical capabilities. Preliminary results based on initial database content are subsequently related, as are next research steps to forecast plant health outcomes (e.g., system component availability and component wear out). Finally, the rationale and activities of a parallel volunteer effort to develop PV O&M standards are described.