What is Solar Asset Management?
Solar asset management tracks and manages a physical asset, such as a solar plant, farm or site through the operational stages of its lifecycle.
Solar asset management ensures the seamless collection of all data, documents and life events of the asset. A solar asset has a life expectancy of at least 20 years and professional lifecycle management will help to service the asset correctly and efficiently during that time period. In addition, a well documented solar asset is likely to sell at better conditions or be refinanced at better terms.
Is it the same as Solar O&M?
Solar asset management is a term that can be confusing: many people in the industry think of it as operations and maintenance of solar plants.
But solar asset management principally deals with the contract administration and compliance of all the agreements the project company (which owns the assets) has entered into. It can also include financial administration, investor reporting and fund management. In the United States an Asset Manager is sometimes referred to as an "Owner's Rep", someone who represents the interests of the owner of the solar assets.
What does a Solar Asset Manager do?
Solar asset managers are responsible for managing the obligations from a wide range of non-standard project documents, such as PPAs, leases, credit agreements and vendor agreements, like O&M contracts. They need to know what the agreements say, what the different parties to the agreements are supposed to do and when. They need to complete various regulatory filings, solve commercial and technical issues, monitor performance, create invoices, make payments, renew contracts, issue certificates, interact with customers and vendors, make warranty, insurance or legal claims, prepare and analyze budgets and submit reports to investors and banks.
Why is Solar Asset Management important?
Investors in solar assets primarily want to control any potential risks, while ensuring that they obtain their expected returns.
This is why a solar asset manager has to ensure that all compliance events from the project documents are met in a timely and accurate manner, or risk for the project company to be in default - with potentially very damaging legal and financial implications.