Safety Issues Found in 62% of Solar PV Field Inspections

June 20, 2023

New SolarGrade report analyzes over 60,000 PV system health datapoints from hundreds of inspections to assess solar project safety and reliability.

HelioVolta, a software developer and leading provider of independent technical advisory and inspection services for solar projects, today published the inaugural SolarGrade PV Health Report. It is the first comprehensive analysis of the safety and reliability of distributed generation (DG) solar PV systems using on-the-ground data from operational projects in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

“On-the-ground solar fieldwork generates vital safety and reliability data that cannot be obtained from any other source – not drone or plane flyovers, remote monitoring tools, or even inverter error logs,” commented James Nagel, Co-founder of HelioVolta and SolarGrade. “Our report demonstrates that standardized, high-quality visual and thermal inspections are necessary to maximize PV system uptime and prevent safety incidents like fires and thermal events.”

The SolarGrade PV Health Report analyzes more than 60,000 PV system health datapoints from hundreds of independent project assessments conducted with SolarGrade, HelioVolta’s cloud-based fieldwork management platform for renewable energy assets. SolarGrade software enables large-scale analyses of field observations by standardizing PV system QA/QC and O&M and by automating reporting.

Key findings from the first SolarGrade PV Health Report include:

  • 62% of inspections found safety issues, such as overheating components or improperly installed equipment.
  • 59% of all issues are related to wire management and field-made solar connectors.
  • More issues were observed in systems commissioned during the year 2020 than systems commissioned in any other year.

“The SolarGrade PV Health Report demonstrates that QAQC inspection for PV assets assures safe, reliable operations that meet performance expectations. We’re thrilled that our partners at HelioVolta are sharing their unique insights from the field to inform the market,” commented Anna Waters, VP, Commercial Operations at Omnidian, the industry’s leading nationwide provider of Performance Assurance plans and asset performance management.

“Solar power is fundamentally safe and reliable – but only when it is properly installed and maintained,” commented David Penalva, Co-founder of HelioVolta and SolarGrade. “Our new report underscores the vital role of fieldworkers in the renewable energy transition: they are the safeguards of PV systems, and they need modern software tools like the SolarGrade software to do their best work.”

The SolarGrade PV Health Report leverages data from hundreds of PV system inspections conducted from 2021 to 2023. 75% of the projects inspected are installed on commercial rooftops, and system sizes range from 100 kW to 350 MW. To learn more and explore fieldwork best practices for DG solar project stakeholders, download the free SolarGrade PV Health Report at www.solargrade.io/pv-health-report.

About HelioVolta and SolarGrade

HelioVolta, a leading provider of independent inspection and technical advisory services for solar projects, is the company behind SolarGrade, an award-winning software platform for the future of renewable energy fieldwork. Made by and for solar professionals, SolarGrade empowers teams to meet the highest standards for quality, safety, and performance while reducing labor costs and elevating asset care. Learn more at www.solargrade.io.

Green Beacon Comms for HelioVolta
Tori Clifford
+1 (301) 717-6796
tori@greenbeaconcomms.com

Featured Resources

The Ultimate Safety Guide to Solar Connectors

A comprehensive guide on safety and installation best practices for solar connectors.

The SolarGrade PV Health Report

An analysis of PV system health based on >60,000 health data points from field inspections.

PV System Fire Prevention

An overview of the root causes of PV systems fires and fire prevention tactics.

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