The three distinctive procedures which include Engineering Procurement & Construction (EPC), Commissioning and Operations & Management (O&M) play an important role in the success and effective management of a solar project.
Engineering Procurement & Construction (EPC)
Solar projects are a long-term investment which makes it very necessary to execute the process utmost care and precision. EPC deals with all the activities that are involved in the pre-construction of the solar power plants.
Crucial steps involved in EPC:
- Engineering: The process primarily involves surveying the site, monitoring the weather conditions, designing the basic structure of the plant, and determination of the power generation capacity. The process also involves selecting the equipment required for the project and engineering design and 3D modeling.
- Procurement: A solar project typically requires multiple types of equipment and parts that need to be procured from local and international manufacturers. This process is carried out by EPC companies who have expertise in selecting the right products for the right project such as solar panels, batteries, inverters safety equipment, mounting structures, and other devices.
- Construction: The construction activity in the solar power plant involves the mounting of the solar panels, fixing of the required accessories according to the layout design, and making arrangements for on- grid/off-grid connectivity.
Operations & Management (O&M)
The functions of O&M companies involve regular monitoring and management of solar panels and to ensure all the aspects of the solar power plants are evaluated in line with required standards. The O&M companies ensure that all the functions of the plant are performing at the optimum levels and any inconsistency in production will be instantly corrected with required actions.
In India, there are several solar power maintenance companies with engineers who have undergone extensive solar maintenance training and are well equipped to maintain the upkeep of PV systems and perform corrective measures as and when needed.
Most of the solar projects carry out inspections on regular basis. The frequency and degree of solar panel monitoring and maintenance depend upon the type of installation, system configuration, and plant location.
There are qualified service technicians and installers who have strong expertise in dealing with solar PV mechanism and about the standard safety procedures. These experts have the capability to take care of the entire range of solar PV maintenance and processes.
Critical processes involved in the maintenance of solar power systems include:
- Cleaning of solar cells and PV panels on a timely bases
- Periodic & Regular maintenance of all thermal-based components
- Testing and Diagnosing the reasons for low solar power production
- Carrying out regular system checks related to data acquisition
The Commissioning process involves the construction of plants proceeding towards the final acceptance of PV systems. It further deals with the other aspects involving the necessary documentation processes required for system acceptance.
The O&M process deals with actions that are necessary for maintaining the power plant and operating them to gain maximum capacity.
Although a lot of time and expertise is spent on EPC & O&M processes, very little is known about the commissioning aspect, which is an equally significant and mandatory process for executing a solar power project. Commissioning basically involves monitoring plant performance and the expected ROI that is expected to generate.
A solar PV plant is built to help customers reach their goals in saving electric bill; maximize their return on investment by generating energy from the sun.
Crucial steps involved in commissioning:
- Verification documentation related to installation
The first step in the process involves verification of the entire installation process and ensuring it completely matches the initial design of the power plant without any deviations. It is also done to ensure that the installation is robust and aesthetically acceptable.
- Detailed Testing
Once the initial inspections are done the next step includes detailed verification of PV modules, wiring, inverter and earthing as well as checking of insulation resistance of conductors. As the plant is expected to run the next 25 years detailed verification of the conductors is critical as they are continuously exposed to altering weather conditions. Any alterations may lead to degradation of insulation which may compromise the safety of the power plant in the long run.
- Performance check
The final check of the commissioning process is to gauge the performance of the plant by selecting a bright sunny day with a relatively moderate temperature. This is done to monitor both DC and AC power which is required to calculate the performance ratio (PR) of the power plant. This performance data collected from the field is compared with the expected performance which was calculated during the time of designing the plant.
Emmvee’s expertise in commissioning EPC, Commissioning and O&M related projects
Emmvee has a strong record of commissioning more than 200 MW of solar projects in India and across the world.
It has developed rich expertise in executing large scale solar PV power projects, land to PPA (Power Purchase Agreement), EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) projects, O&M (Operation & Maintenance) of large projects and OEM and retail sale of solar photovoltaic modules for DCR & Non-DCR requirements.
Some of the key projects executed:
- A 40 MW solar power plant spread across 206 acres area of land at Bagepalli, Kunigal, and Bidar in Karnataka. The plant has 132,000 polycrystalline modules with a power generation capacity of 72 million U/a.
- A joint venture with Reddy’s Lab to supply solar power for their facilities for the next 25 years at Hyderabad. The 15 MW capacity solar power plants will supply electricity exclusively to Reddy’s Lab facilities.
- Emmvee has taken its green initiative to a next level by installing a 1MW rooftop solar power plant at its solar water heater manufacturing facility in Dabaspet. The modules and water heater products are manufactured using the 1.380MW solar power generated from the solar plants.
- Apart from these projects Emmvee has executed a flat RCC solar power project of 1.1MWp at the University of Hyderabad, a sloped sheet roof project of 1 MWp at CIAL in Kerela and a solar power plant project of 11.4 MW in Bronkow, Germany, etc.