Scroll down to read the 2018 program topics...

If you would like to contribute to the 2018 conference program please email Adam Minkley at with a 150-word abstract.

Utility-Only Workshop: November 6th

09:00-16:30: The Pursuit of Utility-Grade O&M for Renewable Technologies

This is a private workshop meeting for utilities to discuss and share lessons in the development of utility-grade Operations and Maintenance standards. Presentations and RoundTable Discussions will address topics related to:

  • 08:30-09:00: Registration and coffee
  • 09:00-10:30: Application of utility-grade renewable technologies
  • 10:30-11:00: Coffee Break
  • 11:00-12:30: Energy storage and grid reliability
  • 12:30-13:30: Lunch break
  • 13:30-15:00: Developing utility-grade Operations, Maintenance, Reliability, Availability and Maintainability for renewable technologies
  • 15:00-15:30: Coffee Break
  • 15:30-16:30: Implementing lessons learned
  • 16:30: End

Day 1: November 7th

Welcome Speech

Adam Minkley, Conference Director, New Energy Update

PV O&M Markets overview (30 mins)
  • What is the real impact of the latest import tariffs on solar panels and steel? How does this impact implementation of new projects and what is being done on the supply side to mitigate its impact?
  • What is the impact of China‚Äôs reduction of installation base on product pricing and availability today and in the near term?
  • General Trends - regulatory changes that may affect new and future project profitability; PPA rates; pricing and tax breaks,
  • Market Consolidation - post-Section 201 landscape, what impact will this have on owners and O&M providers?
Lifecycle project risk mitigation: Insurer's lessons from 2018 (30 mins)
  • Receive a number of Interesting PV Plant losses from the past year, applicable to O&M providers.
  • Hear key lessons learned from the wildfires and windstorms in 2017, including takeaways for owners and O&M providers

Sam Walsh, SVP - Senior Underwriter, GCube Insurance Services

Panel: The road to industry maturity and standardization (60 mins)
  • The PV industry is facing a challenge on its road to industry maturity. As plant costs fall, some O&M costs are increasing: O&M lifecycle costs can be miscalculated due to under-dressed issues of reliability and environmental impacts.
  • Discover how the PV industry has changed in the last 40 years, where it is now and what steps must be taken for it to become a mature industry?
  • Find out about the development of PV O&M reliability and availability standards and what lessons can be applied form other utility-backed technologies.
  • Learn how improved reliability and availability standards will lead to greater control over faults, failures, and labour costs.

Moderator: John Balfour, President, High Performance PV
Chris Frantz, VP Asset Management, Cypress Creek Renewables
Sumanth V Lokanath, Senior Manager - Systems Reliability, First Solar
Sam Walsh, SVP - Senior Underwriter, GCube Insurance Services

Track 1: Asset Performance Management
Track 2: On-site Operations & Maintenance

This track is about moving beyond the narrow view of increasing kilowatts towards a lifecycle profitability approach at all levels to preserve the maximum uptime of the PV facility

In this track you will learn how to increase site maintenance efficiency, reduce man hours and slash O&M costs.

Portfolio Management Strategies
Maintenance Strategies To Reduce O&M Cost
Scaling up: The asset manager's perspective (30 mins)
  • Learn how to grow your asset management team as you scale.
  • Understand what type of team you need to own and financially manage your PV assets.
  • Learn how to change your vendor strategy as you grow.

Randy Corey, COO, sPower

Cost effective vegetation control and soil erosion strategies (30 mins)
  • Effective lower cost vegetation control
  • Local natural vegetation species
  • Grazing solutions
  • Understand soil erosion issues prevalent across the US and possible solutions for managing it.
  • What front-end civil design changes can be to prevent soil erosion in the future.

Lynsey Tibbs, Senior Engineer - Solar Project Implementation, Southern Power Company 

Designing projects to reduce O&M lifecycle costs (30 mins)
  • Learn how design considerations can reduce the overall lifecycle O&M costs of your PV projects.
  • Learn how to increase the value and capacity of projects through carefully thought out project design.

Steve Croxton, Regional Manager, Ameresco

Panel: How to reduce your average technician per megawatt? (45 mins)
  • Audience survey question: How many technicians per MW are different utilities using?
  • What O&M staffing models work best for manned VS unmanned utility-scale sites?
  • Receive examples of how to decrease labour and increase efficiency for manned and unmanned sites.
  • How many MW can 1-3 staff handle on their own at a manned site?
  • What are the advancements in the technology of resets to reduce man hours on site?

Sven Rothfuss, Head of Global O&M Service Performance. Global Service Operations, SMA America (TBC)


Post-Acquisition lessons learned (30 mins)
  • Understand the major equipment decisions, SCADA and engineering choices that need to be considered when acquiring/developing a solar plant
  • Learn how early decisions can vastly improve the long term success of a project. 
  • Receive key lessons on how to manage plant challenges post-construction

Lynsey Tibbs, Senior Engineer - Solar Project Implementation, Southern Power Company

How to implement the optimal maintenance cycle (30 mins)
  • How to optimize preventative maintenance cycles?
  • What do we need to do over the next 2-5 years to improve it?

Rob Andrews, CEO, Heliolytics

Contracts, Warranties & Claims
Health & Safety
How to negotiate service contracts and warranty claims (45 mins)
  • How to negotiate warranty contracts to provide better terms and guarantees?
  • What lessons can be learned and applied during the contract implementation phase to lower your risk and predicted cost?
  • How to keep warranty costs out of the O&M budget? 
Efficient Health & Safety best practices for PV plant owners (30 mins)
  • What's the best supervisory structure to ensure that people are operating safely in the field?
  • What are the electrical hazards operators must be aware of? E.g. Arc flash incidents. And are they fully protected against?
  • How are products designed with safety in mind? Are they easy enough to operate, and maintain, and isolate?
Lifecycle Cost Reduction Strategies
Next Generation PV O&M Technology
O&M cost models - how improved accuracy lowers LCOE (45 mins)
  • Discover how to put more certainty on predicted O&M lifecycle costs by reviewing O&M lifecycle cost models.
  • What are the O&M cost variables associated with different hardware components and how does spare parts requirements, obsolescence and compatibility issues factor into the calculations?
  • How do you reduce cost for each component, so you can project a more favourable value?
  • Equipment reliability - What industry processes can be implemented to address assumptions about components and system reliability requirements?

Jenya Meydbray, VP of Solar Technology, Cypress Creek Renewables
Patty Liao, Manager, Operations & Strategic Sourcing, Recurrent Energy
Kaushik Roy Choudhury, Senior Research Scientist, Dupont
Tara Doyle, Head of BD & PM, Energy, DNV GL


New PV O&M Technology Review (45 mins)
  • How are drones being used to cut O&M costs and what is expected in the near future?
  • Discover the latest module cleaning technologies including dry brush cleaning
  • What is the latest in bifacial modules?
  • Where are we seeing the automation of tasks to increase efficiency?
Choosing a cost-effective O&M service model (45 mins)
  • Evaluate the pros and cons of different O&M service models, such as full-service, multi-contract and self-service
  • Understand the decision-making process based on size and characteristics of your solar portfolio, security, risk, cost, service quality and response time

Joshua Alan Rogers, Director, Solar Operations, Duke Energy Renewables
Randy Corey, COO, sPower
Amanda Bybee, CEO, Amicus O&M Cooperative

R&D for greater PV O&M efficiency (45 mins)
  • Hear from NREL, DOE, EPRI, Sandia and others
Reviving Ageing Assets 
Equipment Reliability
Repowering plan - When and how efficient? (45 mins)
  • Learn how to plan and implement a repowering project, minimizing project downtime, cost and risk.

John Balfour, President, High Performance PV

Panel: String inverters vs central inverters debate (45 mins)
  • What are economic benefits of central and string invertors?
  • What are the O&M considerations and costs?
  • What are the reliability considerations for each technology?

Billy Watts, General Manager, Mortenson

Human Factors
Sourcing, training, and retaining talent (30 mins)
  • Sourcing- Hiring Technicians from the industry VS. Recruiting the right people through a vetting process to build and grow the industry Technician base.
  • Training- Core curriculum needs to be defined by the industry professionals to create growth in the industry and career paths for technicians.
  • Retention- Building a career path that allows for growth within the industry and their company.

Ian Steele, Solar Division Manager, World Wind Solar

Spare parts strategy
  • What do you need in stock versus what equipment you have on order?
  • Where is the optimal place to store spare parts?
  • On-site, local or central warehousing?
Register By October 12 & Save £100


Day 2: November 8th

Track 1: Data Driven PV Operations
Track 2: PV + Battery Storage
Data, digitization and disruption - the future of the PV industry (45 mins)
  • How is the PV industry responding to operational challenges around the world and what role will digital technology play in resolving them?
  • How data and digitization is shaping company strategy across the PV industry?
  • How can owners realize the full potential of digital technology available become data-driven organisations?
  • Data collection long-term trends.

Steve Hanawalt, Executive Vice President and Co-Founder, Power Factors

O&M Models for PV vs Storage Projects (30 mins)
  • Overall PV warranty, plant performance, SCADA, availability and maintenance are managed by separate entities, whereas in storage they are bundled together into one O&M package.
  • Discuss the different O&M models available to owners for PV + Storage projects.

Leigh Zanone, Director, Operations and Asset Management, 8-minutenergy

Cyber security: The business case(30 mins)
  • Develop and execute a tactical plan to protect your assets against cyber threats and the ongoing iterative process: monitor, assess, respond, improve
  • Realize the latest cyber security threats that could impact your business and learn how to develop a mature security posture to mitigate risks
  • Identify vulnerabilities to solar plants and the grid, including gaps in network management or network security

John Franzino, Director of GridSecurity, Grid Subject Matter Experts

Panel: Debate O&M Models for PV + Storage Projects (45 mins)
  • What are the relative benefits to an owner for each style of O&M model and how does a developer merge the different styles in a PV + Storage system?

Leigh Zanone, Director, Operations and Asset Management, 8-minutenergy
Additional panellists TBA

Advanced system health and performance analytics (30 mins)
  • Can artificial applications be applied to existing data?
  • Pattern recognition data and analysis to warn you in advance of outages.
  • Predicting and preventing failures that cause loss of system output.
  • How can software reduce the need for skilled labour?
Panel: PV + Storage - Cost, Design and O&M Considerations
  • Cost considerations: What do real Battery O&M cost models look like?
  • Battery Storage O&M - what are the cost profiles associated with lifecycle maintenance of batteries?
  • Design considerations: What considerations are necessary to support storage addition for new and existing systems?
  • What additional O&M cost will battery storage bring to a project?

Moderator: Matthew Barnes, Chief Financial Officer, Grid Subject Matter Experts
Troy Lauterbach, Vice President - Energy Services, First Solar
Additional panellists TBA

Data Driven PV Operations
Smart Grids & Solar
Panel: Plant performance Vs guaranteed performance (30 mins)
  • Evaluate the accuracy of your inherited performance models and data against actual performance data.
  • Learn how to identify underperformance issues, from tracking anomalies and monitoring production issues to tweaking the system to increase performance.
  • What are the KPI's that are used in performance models and how do you calculate them? And how do you standardize that calculation to better understand how performance carries across different assets?
  • Using technology in different ways to be more effective both as a performance engineering team but also as a company.
  • The impact of climate change on performance and guarantees.

Brandon Durham, VP of Performance Engineering, Carolina Solar Services
Garry McCall, Director, Global Operations and Maintenance, Canadian Solar O&M
Additional speakers TBA

Learn how PV is fitting in on microgrid installations for C&I and residential customers (30 mins)
  • Where's solar fitting in on microgrid installations?
  • How is solar PV and battery storage technologies supporting the development of microgrids?
  • Explore successful models used for C&I and residential customers, such as local centralized or behind the meter storage applications; and community energy storage.
PV Software Shark Tank investor panel (45 minutes)
  • Witness a panel of owners and investors evaluate a series of live software demonstrations from the latest and greatest PV O&M tech providers of today
  • How consistent is the data they have access to from the invertor company and systems in general?
  • How much value is there from having better data and more data?
  • Delegates can vote on their favourite pitch using the electronic audience interaction tool
Asset Management Challenges and Strategies for Community Solar Projects (30 mins)
  • How does distributed solar impact the grid?
  • What are the benefits of distributed PV on the grid?
  • How can utilities become part of the solution to help drive the distributed solar industry?
  • What is the latest in Virtual Net Metering?

Laura Stern, President, Nautilus Solar

C&I and Residential Rooftop Solar
Smart Grids & Solar
C&I and Residential Rooftop Solar - Technology & Cost (45 mins)
  • Where is the technology headed to reduce the supply costs?
  • What are the installation costs, supply chain costs, customer costs and acquisitions?
  • Explore business models for residential and commercial solar projects and customer acquisition and outreach programs.
  • What business models are commercially viable in competitive markets, such as the south US?
  • How to you go about promoting rooftop solar to local C&I and encourage customers to partner with you and implement solar applications?

Chris Grablutz, Director, Business Development, PV Pros

Grid integration regulations (30 mins)
  • How to manage the intermittent nature as your solar portfolio grows?
  • How do you regulate your system economically?
  • What does that mean from a regulatory perspective?
  • What does that mean from a reserve perspective for a utility?
  • Forecasting - understand what energy we need to commit and how we need to make sure we do it in a very short-term time frame.
C&I and Residential Rooftop solar - regulatory frameworks and financial models (45 mins)
  • Where is the business model happening to improve the demand side?
  • What legislative and regulatory development models can utilities adopt to support and fund the development of residential and corporate rooftop solar?
  • What is the best model to use as a baseline for rooftop solar development initiatives across different states?
Pilot projects review (60 mins)
  • Hear about the latest pilot projects in rooftop solar, microgrids and battery storage.
  • Receive pertinent data and lessons learned from notable pilot projects so you can apply lessons to your own projects.
Best Practices for Rooftop Solar O&M (30 mins)
  • Defining & controlling the primary cost drivers of a distributed rooftop solar fleet.
  • Implementing an effective & efficient O&M strategy to optimize fleet performance.
  • Evaluating the major pitfalls in rooftop solar and how they can be defeated.
  • Forecasting the future of DG O&M programs for existing & new-home systems.

Kent R. Williams, VP Asset Management, Vivint Solar


If you are interested in 4th Solar PV Operations USA 2018 please contact us:

Adam Minkley

Adam Minkley

Project Director
New Energy Update
+44 (0) 207 375 7239 (Global)

Tobias Crow

Tobias Crow

Business Development Manager
New Energy Update
+44 (0) 207 422 4358 (Global)

Solar PV Operations USA 2018 Sponsors & Exhibitors:

Silver Sponsors

  • Envision
  • Heliolytics


  • DuPont
  • Measure
  • Mortenson


  • AMPT
  • Atonometrics
  • SOLV

Media Partners

  • AltEnergyMag
  • energy acuity
  • GreenJournal
  • GreenMatch
  • Renewables-Now
  • renews