Building Management Hawaii - (Page 38)

Managing PV Energy Consumption Maintenance and inspections are critical to efficiency BY FRED BROOKS EnErgy MAnAgEMEnt P hotovoltaics once was an off-the-beaten-path term in Hawaii but is now a mainstream term in daily conversation. One topic of conversation that has not been as mainstream has been the maintenance issues on the systems after they have been installed. From a standpoint of energy management and cost analysis this is the easiest thing that can be done to keep the system performing at its peak efficiency and knowing if a problem is going to arise, and if a problem does arise the downtime of that system is kept at a minimum. Downtime of a photovoltaic system is a direct correlation to lost energy and lost money. One of the approaches that should be taken toward an installed photovoltaic system is that it is an extension of the equipment on the property and as with all equipment there should be a maintenance schedule set. The main pieces of equipment on the system, the panels and the inverters all come with an installation guide, and inside that guide there is always a maintenance section. One piece of equipment that can be of the most vital is the monitoring system and the understanding of how the monitoring system works. Most monitoring systems come with a comparison marker formula and a tracking system so you can follow the systems performance and ensure it is operating where it needs to be. These pieces of equipment like all equipment on a property should be scheduled for routine servicing and inspection, and at the minimum should be followed what is stated in the installation guides. Inverters should have the intake and exhaust screens cleaned and inspected on a regular basis. If the inverter does not get to cool down to its best temperature with proper airflow, you can be losing efficiency due to heat issues and as a result losing energy that could be Doing regular walk-through inspections and a minimum of annual cleaning of the system is the best thing that can be done to keep your system up and operational at its peak performance. harnessed. To keep a piece of equipment operating and performing well is easy to do as long as there is a routine check on the system. The slow degradation of a system will occur because, just as with any kind of systems, they do not just shut down but have a slow progression of loss of efficiency which is not immediately perceived unless it is really tracked and understood what is happening. With a maintenance schedule and a knowledgeable person tracking the system these items can be avoided. With the tracking of the system performance and keeping it on a maintenance schedule this can be the easiest way to get the most out of your system for the 20-plus years it should be operating. Routine maintenance can be as simple as having someone do a walk-through on the system on a regular basis to see if there is dirt build-up, birds nesting or any other animal issues that can occur on the panels. When doing the walk-through you should check the piping runs as these hold the wires that are carrying the electricity that your system is producing. Without these wires and path you do not get to utilize the energy that is being produced. The visual inspections include checking the system for 38 February-March 2015 BMH

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Building Management Hawaii

Editor’s Note: Energy Management
Insider’s Guide to Picking a Security Company for Your Property
Industry News
Dealing with Graffiti and Glass Damage
Hawaii’s High-Tech Roofing Products
Building and Management Expo Set
Installing New & Improved Windows
Window Film Cuts Glare, Energy Bills
Reassessing Hurricane Preparedness
An ESA Can Deliver Peace of Mind
Checking a Building’s Energy Score
Managing PV Energy Consumption
The Ultimate Energy-Efficient Building
What to Know About Chiller Plants
New Trends Emerge in HVAC Systems
Walk-throughs Vital to Engineers
Trapped in the Web of Act 326
Faces: The IREM Banquet

Building Management Hawaii