Advances in Service Technology Deliver Bottom Line Results for Installers
In this article, we will hear from the experts at SMA about the benefits of advanced service technology that can support solar installers in real-time.
The availability of technology in the solar industry today enriches plant performance and operations in various ways. Technology has become particularly effective in one key area: service. How? Technology puts more power into the hands of installers, owners, and operators. Thanks to self-solve features and other available tools, solar installers can cut costs and handle some maintenance by leveraging manufacturer supplied resources and their own highly skilled expertise.
In recent months, technology has helped transform service for SMA customers in multiple ways. First, SMA recently released a new service mobile app. The app allows residential and commercial PV installers to access up-to-date systems information, obtain quick error analysis, and get more timely assistance with repairs.
SMA Service Mobile App
The SMA Service Mobile App ultimately makes the day-to-day life for installers much easier. In the field, the last thing installers need is a time-consuming phone call or a lack of resources to do their job. The new SMA app, for that reason, offers practical solutions and documentation for relevant SMA products. For example, an installer can enter an error code and an intuitive fault analysis tool on the app will give recommendations and solutions to troubleshoot the problem. The app also guides installers, when needed, through the step-by-step process of replacing inverter components. Plus, the app works both offline and online, ensuring the app is helpful to installers and service technicians even when they’re in remote locations.
SMA Online Service Center
Taking digital support a step further, SMA has launched a new Online Service Center to support PV professionals. What does that mean for installers? To start, installers can now access resources that previously required calling a service technician. Plus, in the new Online Service Center, customers can track the progress of a service case, request a rebate or inverter exchange, sign up for an extended warranty, and update delivery details.
The Online Service Center features case tracking for all activities concerning both individuals and companies. Service communications for each case are collected in a single feed—simplifying customer communication. This streamlined approach also provides a needed solution for cases with multiple logins per company account. Now, each login can see all open cases—making it easier than ever for installers to manage their own service operations. The platform will also offer on-demand access to information, empowering installers with resources at their fingertips including documentation and support. Not to mention, the new Online Service Center creates a one-stop-shop for customers to do a range of activities right in the platform—activities that previously involved waiting to speak with phone line support.
Streamlined Service Through Linked Platforms
To further expedite service, the user interface links the Online Service Center and Sunny Portal, eliminating the need for manual entry of information from one to the other. Customers can now manually adjust their ship dates as well, and there will soon be information added to indirectly track shipments through the platform. In addition, customers can access all products and software updates from a single source. The Online Service Center will also make it easy to access documentation in the knowledge database, which expedites support. For example, users can search the site for articles and see which articles are trending. Users can even access FAQs where SMA-authored knowledge is ranked based on the most frequently asked questions.
These remedies reduce the need for time-consuming service calls. Service professionals can access the tools on their own schedule to get help with troubleshooting right in the field. Service can become proactive and scheduled in accordance with an owner or operator’s service model rather than dictated by the hours and availability of a manufacturer’s contact center.
Remote Monitoring & Maintenance
Taking service technology one step further, SMA is also using automated data analysis to remotely monitor, troubleshoot, and even replace faulty inverters and inverter components. SMA Smart Connected leverages the data supplied by Sunny Portal to receive inverter data and offer proactive servicing. Based on the experience of more than 90 GW of installed capacity, SMA Smart Connected reviews inverter data including error codes, and proactively notifies the owner or operator of needed servicing. In the event that an inverter needs replacement, a new device can be shipped to the site before an onsite technician is even aware of an issue. This both reduces downtime and can cut truck rolls in half by eliminating the need for a diagnostic trip, saving the plant servicer valuable time. SMA Smart Connected comes standard, free of charge with the Sunny Boy, Sunny Tripower CORE1, and Sunny Highpower PEAK3 inverters.
Regardless of the size of a PV system, proper maintenance and quick troubleshooting are key priorities when you want to maximize energy production and protect your investment. While today it’s a series of digital tools enhancing the way we provide service to customers and improve our ROI, technology will only continue to develop in the solar industry. That’s why we make it a priority to be on top of the latest developments and tools, ensuring we can better serve our customers and technicians in the field.
Contact your local CED Greentech rep with any questions or to continue the conversation about SMA products today!