Long-term operations and maintenance of a solar system will be a big factor in the attractiveness of solar applications for public entities. The owner of a solar system can choose to operate and maintain a system themselves, or this can be out-sourced to a third party. Systems owned by a third party developer are almost always operated and maintained by the developer.
Monitoring systems have increased in sophistication in recent years and currently many systems have online portals to view real time solar generation. More info on existing monitoring systems
This article defines in detail what is involved in a thorough commissioning process, describing different roles involved and the documentation, tasks, and tools required.
O&M costs of each solar water heating system are estimated at half of 0.5–2% of the initial cost per year, depending on the system type and design. O&M for a solar thermal system is similar to that required of any hydronic heating loop and may be provided by site staff, with experts called in if something should fail. See this page for additional information and resources.
A few utilities and private companies have taken on the challenge and have advanced the state of the art of operating, maintaining and monitoring PV systems. Current O&M practices and lessons learned distilled from experiences to date are presented in this white paper.
Also see the Medina Public Works Facility Case Study for a description of the O&M needs at a facility in the Metro Area.