Trends and challenges for the PV O&M companies in the international markets


O&M’s international photovoltaic markets are moving more and more often according to identical dynamics. In an increasingly open market for technological innovation and use of renewable energy, the biggest photovoltaic companies are refining their workflow to make selection and win the challange.

Here are the main O&M photovoltaic trends in the world:

Trend # 1: Downturn in O&M prices

As solar photovoltaic prices continue to decline worldwide, the trend applies to every part of the chain, including operations and maintenance (O & M). All major markets fluctuate on a price drop from 5 to 20%.

In detail the lowest prices are found in India, considering that they include many services typically excluded in other markets, in particular non-warranty repairs. Also on very competitive markets such as Germany, U.K and U.S. prices are falling.

The highest margins are recorded in France and Italy, in Spain are stable, while in developing countries such as Chile still seem high, but in this case they have high cost factors to reach and operate in very remote locations and conditions of extreme temperature. Japan is the only counterproductive country, recording rising prices.

Trend # 2: Larger portfolios in the hands to a few specialized players

New PV markets such as the United States and India are increasingly characterized by the large size of photovoltaic systems. Even in the most well-established markets, such as Germany and Italy, there is a clear trend towards the consolidation of ever-increasing portfolios. This consolidation in the property naturally translates into consolidation in asset management and that of O&M photovoltaic in the hands of a few biggest players.

Trend # 3: Boosting new technologies and innovation

In many markets around the world, including Germany, USA, U.K. and India, O&M prices have reached the historic low. Assuming that suppliers will provide the promised services and unless O & M photovoltaic sellers are willing to sell at a low or negative margin, the Technology innovation is the only way to reduce costs.

Some examples are: designs of photovoltaic systems that optimize energy costs, rather than capital spending, in-built string test capability, robust, water-free robotic cleaning solutions, thermal imaging drills, and advanced data analysis which allow you to identify problems without physical site inspections.

Trend # 4: Automation and IT innovation for remote control of photovoltaic systems

There is still a lot to do to improve and automate integration and data flow among the various value chain actors (developers, EPCs, owners, asset managers, O & M providers, etc), but photovoltaic systems monitoring and control systems are becoming more and more open and connected. Professional asset management software solutions are gradually replacing manual processes and Excel spreadsheets. Data management has become a discriminating asset for both asset managers and O & M suppliers. Larger and most important PV companies in the field of photovoltaic O & M have developed these in-house technologies and offer them as a plus to their customers.

Trend # 5: Cybersecurity

As computer threats continue to become increasingly sophisticated, and photovoltaic systems plus performance monitoring are more and more computerized, network security requirements for photovoltaic systems become crucial and have an impact on O & M vendors strategies and their costs, especially in markets where they are required to control plants remotely, such as the US and Japan.

These trends produce a single and logical consequence: only the biggest O & M photovoltaic companies will succeed in fighting this challenge by winning it.

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