The need to identify the root cause of a problem is as important in solar energy as it is in any other field. Problems occur for a reason, and if you want to make the most out of your investment you need to figure out what the underlying cause is. This article covers how to perform a root cause analysis in solar energy.
Identify The Problem
The first step to performing a root cause analysis is to identify the problem. You can start by asking questions about the event: “Why did this happen?”, “Is this the same as previous incidents?”, “What were the specific circumstances surrounding this incident?”, “What could be done to prevent this from happening again?” and “How much damage did this cause?”
You can also review previous incidents and see if there is a pattern (which is often the case). For example, if you notice that there have been a lot of break-ins at your house over the past year, and the police have told you it’s because burglars know that most people have a spare key hidden somewhere, then this is probably why they keep breaking into your home.
These are all important questions that you must ask yourself to properly identify the problem. You should also try to find out what caused the problem in the first place: Did you leave the garage door open, or were there any previous incidents that could have led up to this situation? Once you have identified the problem, you can move on to the next step.
Classify The Losses
Next, you will want to use your problem-solving skills to put yourself in the shoes of the person(s) affected by the problem. What would you need to do to get back on your feet? What would you lose if the problem continues? This is where you will do your best to find a solution, using what you know about the problem. It’s also important to note here that you should not assign percentages or estimate monetary values to anything related to the problem, as this is irrelevant to the root cause analysis. Simply take each question as it comes and try to find the most viable solution. This will help you determine what losses have been caused by the problem and what losses can be attributed to other factors (such as age or mechanical failure).
Documenting The Losses
Once you have found a solution, or at least have a good idea of what caused the problem, it’s time to document your losses. It would be best to do this with a journal article or a blog post, as this is the simplest and most effective way to keep track of everything you’ve done. Make sure to include all the steps you took to track down the cause of the problem and the outcomes of your efforts.
Analyzing The Losses
Now that you’ve documented your losses, its time to analyze them. Did you lose anything significant? Was there any collateral damage that could have been prevented? Did you learn anything from this experience? These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself after putting in the time and effort to track down the root cause of the problem. The answers to these questions will determine whether or not you should continue with the project (or if it’s time to start over from the beginning).
One more step and you’re all set. You now have a good understanding of how to perform a root cause analysis in solar energy. From here, you can move on to the next phase of your project or research and continue to improve your processes to make the most of your investment.