Operations and Maintenance Manual
Closeout of the construction phase for renewable energy projects includes the creation of a comprehensive operations and maintenance (O&M) manual. Although specific content varies depending on the size, scope, and complexity of the project, the O&M manual typically includes manufacturer literature, basic operating procedures, troubleshooting techniques, measurement and verification (M&V) system documentation, and maintenance information.
The general contractor should compile O&M documentation, gather as-built drawings for equipment and systems, and take the lead in organizing the manual. The commissioning agent reviews the manual to verify that it includes all necessary documentation, including:
- Manufacturer Literature: The general contractor gathers manufacturing literature for all major equipment types used in the project, including any renewable energy components. Manufacturing literature includes contact information for the manufacturer, specifications, warranty information, operational details, parts lists, and safety data.
- Renewable System Information: Since most renewable energy systems are designed specifically for the application, manufacturer literature only tells a small portion of the story. The renewable energy contractors responsible for the system should provide details on the components of the system, how they work together, and details on the design.
- Operating Procedures: The general contractor or renewable energy system installers should document basic operational procedures for the installed systems, including system start-up and shut-down. The documents should be short and concise with procedures described in plain terms. The procedures can refer the user to manufacturer literature for additional information as necessary. The general contractor should be responsible for providing information on interactions between systems that are not covered in individual component system information.
- Troubleshooting Techniques: The general contractor should also document troubleshooting techniques to assist O&M personnel in addressing issues that may arise with the systems they will be maintaining.
- M&V System Documentation: The renewable energy system installers should document standard system performance ranges and provide instructions on reading and interpreting M&V data. This may be tied to broader M&V system design from the architectural and engineering (A&E) firm, or it may be part of the individual renewable energy system design.
- Maintenance Information: The type of maintenance program required will depend on the renewable energy technologies included in the project. For example, photovoltaic (PV) systems or passive systems such as daylighting typically need very little maintenance but do require periodic inspections. Solar hot water systems require annual maintenance. And, wind turbines require more frequently scheduled maintenance.
The O&M manual should include a maintenance plan with schedules and task descriptions for any regular preventative maintenance that needs to be performed. It should also list any monitoring signals designed to alert O&M staff to the need for corrective maintenance.
Some renewable energy systems may require third-party experts or personnel meeting the manufacturer's certification requirements to perform corrective maintenance. For some systems, this may be required by warranty. The manual should clearly delineate between tasks that O&M staff should perform and tasks that should be performed by experts in the particular renewable energy system.
In the course of maintaining the system, it is important for O&M staff to document any performance issues or out-of-the-ordinary maintenance requirements and add this documentation to the O&M manual. If there is a significant turnover of O&M personnel, this documentation will be critical for new staff members.