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Monitoring, Supporting, & Maintaining: ACK Smart’s New Department

Imagine: your brand new solar installation has just been completed. The system is on, the meter is running, and the final crew member has retreated from the job site. But now what? The fun really has only begun. With great sun comes great responsibility. Solar installations on this island require maintenance and monitoring to ensure they’re working at complete optimization. But 30 miles out to sea, it isn’t so simply said. Trades work on Nantucket is some of the most in demand out here, with most service providers not having the luxury of being able to get to something same day, or even same week, should an issue arise. At the same time, ACK Smart acknowledges that a solar system is an investment in more ways than one. You install these systems to do real work for what you hope is the better part of three decades. Without them functioning properly at all times, you aren’t getting the benefit of your investment. With this in mind, ACK Smart set out to create a department solely dedicated to the care and maintenance of your systems. Enter David Van Vorst: native Nantucketer and ACK Smart support specialist extraordinaire.

In short, David is our watchful eye and our calm in a crisis. His daily job within the support department cycles between adhering to the whims of the weather, outwitting the seagulls that scan the rooftop arrays, and tending to your solar sanctuary with the utmost care. Just what makes David’s role within ACK Smart’s team so impactful? As we like to say it - “No Steamship required.” David, like the rest of the ACK Smart team, is a year-round resident. His role also exists exclusively within the support department. If anything should happen, you pick up the phone and the process is initiated, with David’s time solely devoted to this line of work. Though we would love to say David can be anywhere in 30 minutes (it is Nantucket after all…), sometimes it isn’t as simple as that. However, you will know that the moment a storm blows across the island or an alert is sounded, David is in action as an intermediary to rectify the issue at hand successfully and quickly, from firmware upgrades, optimizer and inverter core replacements, blown fuse replacements, and beyond. But it isn’t just about the moments of problem. Part of having a system running to optimal efficiency and effectiveness is keeping a regular watch on its productivity. Enter the two types of maintenance our new department covers: preventative and responsive. Regular visual inspections are crucial for upholding preventative maintenance and identifying any signs of damage, wear, or potential issues with your solar system. As part of our new maintenance department, the support team regularly checks the solar panels, mounting structure, wiring, and connections for any visible issues. Additionally, David and team make sure there are no obstructions, like debris or vegetation, shading the panels, especially after episodes of severe weather. In addition to the panels themselves, the electrical components of your solar system should be inspected periodically to ensure they are functioning properly. As part of regular maintenance checks, the inverters, controllers, and electrical wiring are all evaluated as well. The last part of preventative maintenance is the careful tracking and analysis of the energy production of your system. David and team compare current readings with historical data or the expected output. If they observe a significant drop in energy generation or if the system is consistently underperforming, it may indicate a problem that requires attention, bringing us back to responsive maintenance. So, why now? you may be asking. Well, it’s the very notion of “now” that brought us to make this development within our team. For an island, the concept of rising sea level is a real, and intimidating threat. The very existence of the place we call home is at risk unless we all work to make big, real changes. Now. ACK Smart is architecting our organization in a way that focuses on optimization. It’s an investment when you install solar, and it’s only a good investment if it’s working every single day the sun shines. It’s a step in the right direction when you install solar, but we’re only moving in the right direction when these systems are working at full functionality. Though atrophy is often inevitable, we want you to rest assured that we are watching.

Not in a Big Brother way, of course. In a fun, Nosy Neighbor That Notices When You Get More Than Two Amazon Boxes In A Week, way. Long story short? Your system may never have a problem for 25 years, but we’ll be there for you anyway.

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