O&M Services: Maintaining market-leading safety records, availability rates through our internal network of problem solvers

Ranked fourth for utility-scale solar O&M providers in the US by managed capacity, Cypress Creek O&M Services offers best in class business solutions for owned and third-party assets across 19 states. Our four-pronged approach consists of 24/7/365 Operations & Engineering, Account Management Services, Special Projects, and Field Services and Predictive Maintenance. 

In this post, Cypress Creek O&M Services’ VP of Field Operations and Maintenance Max Isaacs describes our approach to field services and predictive maintenance. Max is a solar energy veteran, with nearly 13 years in the industry and almost five and a half year at Cypress Creek. He is a regular instructor for Introduction to PV and O&M Tools and Techniques workshops at Appalachian State University. 

The Field Services and Predictive Maintenance team is central to our ability to maintain market-leading safety records as well as O&M availability rates. What makes our team unique is our combined experience and training, as well as our in-house capabilities and ability to collaborate seamlessly across the O&M Services organization. The team consist of field service technicians and vegetation maintenance professionals spread throughout the country, close to the sites we operate. Safety, quality, and reliability are front of mind as the team works to resolve issues flagged by our Cypress Creek Control Center operators and engineers or issues identified in the field. 

Our team of technicians performs corrective maintenance activities in-house. Specifically, the team holds electrical licenses, as well as training, experience and certification on more than half a dozen inverter manufacturers. The cost savings realized from not using subcontractors is then passed to our clients. 

The vegetation maintenance team is responsible for monitoring the growth rate of vegetation and systematically performing vegetation control to prevent module shading and maintain safe working conditions on-site. When mowing slows in the winter, the vegetation team collaborates with our team of technicians on mechanical repairs and site maintenance. 

Predictive Maintenance 
Cypress Creek O&M Services was an early adopter of using aerial thermography to identify abnormalities and potential system issues. Starting in 2016, Cypress Creek began deploying aerial thermography with drones and has since scanned more than 5GW of modules. 

The team now scans each of our sites on an annual basis to assess the plant’s state of health and to compare performance against previous scans. The scans are not limited to just module and inverter performance; the team also scans utility interconnection and substation equipment to detect any hotspots or loose connections. With the data, our engineers use machine learning to perform a deep analysis of project performance and potential issues such as advanced degradation or inverter underperformance.

Many of our technicians are licensed and trained to fly drones across the regions where we operate solar sites. By cross training many of our field service technicians as drone operators, they can fix most issues as soon as they are identified, which saves time, reduces cost and increases uptime. Technicians are also able to use these tools more frequently to assist with regular troubleshooting and maintenance activities. 

When servicing a portfolio of this size, collaboration is paramount. To get in touch with a member of our team, please reach out here.