How to choose the right Operations and Maintenance provider
A plant shutdown, even a partial one, results in a direct loss of yield and can have a significant impact on your revenue. Choosing a reliable and responsive Operations and Maintenance (O&M) provider allows you to anticipate this risk. Here’s an overview of the key criteria you should consider to make the right choice.
Every plant has a unique set of management requirements, both for operations and maintenance. There are several technical criteria you need to take into account when selecting your Operations and Maintenance provider:
- the O&M provider’s experience with different types of plants (solar, wind, hydraulic, biomass, storage, etc.)
- its ability to work on all types of equipment (both in terms of technical components and equipment brands);
- personnel certifications and authorizations (such as the Alliance for Photovoltaic Quality [AQPV] for photovoltaic systems);
- availability of an in-house tech support office that can respond to specific and general issues;
- ongoing training for technicians to keep pace with market developments.
Proprietary providers: What are the advantages?
A proprietary provider shares the challenges and problems you face. It prides itself on being efficient and methodical in minimizing production losses, which is a specific and vital issue!
Services offered by the provider
The range of services offered by O&M providers covers a broad spectrum (and varies from one company to the next):
- preventive maintenance twice a year;
- corrective and productive maintenance when a failure occurs;
- remote supervision using a management hub that issues tickets for interventions located all around the world;
- consulting, diagnostics and expertise to optimize existing equipment.
Your choice of provider will therefore depend on the services it offers and your pre-defined scope of work.
Additional game-changing services
Some providers differentiate themselves by offering additional services:
- revamping or upgrading inefficient power plants to modernize them, optimize operations and extend their service life;
- a marketplace for buying, refurbishing and reselling spare parts.
Flexibility and adaptability
The chosen provider must be able to adapt to the company’s maintenance system and integrate existing processes and tools with its own methods.
If it is only responsible for part of the maintenance, it must be able to establish effective coordination with on-site teams to ensure smooth and functional operations.
Responsiveness and availability
Power plants require constant monitoring and evaluation. That’s why you need to keep in mind where your provider’s branches are located and whether its technicians are mobile.
Useful questions to consider
- In which countries/regions is the provider based?
- How are on-call schedules organized?
- Can it provide assistance anywhere, anytime to limit production downtime?
Safeguards and protection
Your peace of mind depends largely on the reliability of the provider. If it is financially sound, it will be able to accept safeguards, including penalties:
- for extended response times;
- if your plant is unable to operate at least 99% of the time (this is known as an "Infrastructure Availability Commitment").
Rates and competitiveness
Several factors determine the competitiveness of an Operations and Maintenance provider:
- the scope of its operations to achieve economies of scale;
- its ability to internalize a maximum number of services;
- its network and market presence (for the outsourcing of certain aspects of maintenance at preferential rates).
Another valuable factor to consider when choosing your O&M provider is its environmental and human responsibility. Pay close attention to:
- the HSE policies in place to ensure the safety of operators and technicians on site;
- sustainability efforts (recycling, refurbishing equipment, etc.).
With 4.4 GW in operation worldwide, Voltalia’s monitoring and supervision system is designed to respond quickly and accurately to your needs. As an owner and a supplier, our goals are aligned with yours: our 350 technicians, support staff and managers provide comprehensive asset management services to ensure a sustainable return on your investment. Keeping your plants running is crucial: leave nothing to chance when it comes to maintaining them!