If you are looking for a guide on how to manage your solar panel system, you’ve come to the right place.
In this guide, you will find the answers to the most common “solar panel maintenance” questions. Our guide will help you in maintaining the quality of your system so that it last longer.
Requirements for maintaining your solar panel system
Normally, a solar panel system is extremely durable, it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. However, it is necessary to check your solar energy generation regularly to ensure that it’s working well. Although your solar system is sturdy, as your panels are placed outside, they are exposed to extreme weather conditions.
Hence, constant exposure to harsh elements can cause damage to the solar panel system- for instance, the DC isolator casing can be damaged which will cause leakage. Allowing rain/moisture to seep in. Thus, regular servicing will help in locating potential faults and keep the solar panel system in good condition.
What common problems can occur with solar panel systems?
- Micro-cracks: Micro-cracks are typically caused by poor handling during shipping/transportation or by exerting too much pressure on the tempered glass during installation. These fractures might begin so small that they are not visible to the human eye, but they grow larger over time due to water entry and temperature fluctuations.
- Fault in Solar Inverter: Inverters can sometimes stop working due to voltage issues onsite or within the solar system, or there can be an excessive amount of dust collection which may impact the inverter’s temperature and overall performance.
- Wiring Issues: According to the regulations in Australia the DC isolator- a switch that turns off the solar panels, is to be placed on the roof. This at times causes the switch to wear out due to overheating or water penetration.
- Snail Trails: This common solar panel issue is basically a dark line across the surface of the solar panel which looks- just like its name “snail trail”. It occurs when water/moisture is able to get inside the panel. This snail trail causes the solar panels to lose their efficiency and shorten their lifespan.
How often does your solar panel system need servicing?
According to Kane Thornton, Chief Executive Officer of the , solar power is now helping millions of Australians save money on their electricity bills, but individuals should not simply install it on their roofs and forget about it for the next 25 years.
So, we would recommend a full electrical inspection every couple of years for small . On the other hand, for commercial systems, we would suggest undergoing inspection every year to ensure the system is running safely to its full potential.
Do your solar panels need any cleaning?
As you already know solar panels need direct sunlight to generate energy, but obstacle like bird droppings, grime, dust, dirt etc. gets in the way. Sometimes heavy rainfall is not sufficient to clean your solar panels.
So, do solar panels need cleaning? The answer to the question is YES. You will have to clean your solar panels– as by cleaning your rooftop solar panels you will be able to significantly boost energy production.
Furthermore, you can clean the solar panels on your own, all you will need is-
- Gentle cleaning agent (diluted soap/vinegar)
- Soft bristle brush
If you want to find out how can you clean your solar panels on your own, we have a comprehensive guide on residential solar panel cleaning which can be found here.
Cleaning your solar panels seems easy, but there are a lot of things which you won’t be able to do on your own. At that time, you will need the service of professionals.
Servicing entails complete electrical testing of the solar panel system as well as a full visual inspection to ensure that the equipment and cables are in proper working condition. Thus, when it’s time to get your solar system serviced, it is wise to call an expert.
How to find out if your solar panel system is performing well?
All solar panel system comes with free solar monitoring software, which you should be able to access once the inverter is connected to the internet. You might need to contact your solar installer to get access if you do not have it in the first place.
The software will give you some history of the system’s performance and also how much solar power is being generated.
On the other hand, you can see the impact of your solar panel system through your energy bills. Although your energy bills do not display how much solar energy was generated, but rather the lower figure of energy that you are presently purchasing from your retailer, as well as any exported solar energy.
If you understand energy consumption well, then an unusually high energy bill might suggest that there are some problems with your solar panel system.
Some important system checks that you should be doing
PV Inverter Test: This is to check that the inverter connects and disconnects to the broader electricity grid safely. To protect others who may be working on a local area of the grid, electricity distributors want to ensure that your system does not flow electricity into the electrical network during a blackout.
Some distributors need an anti-islanding test of the inverter once a year, so check with your distributor for the exact schedule. The test can be performed by a Clean Energy Council-accredited solar installer. However, some homeowners may comfortably do the test themselves if told how by an accredited installer.
Inverter Check on a Regular Basis: Your inverter must be inspected by a professional to make sure that it’s working correctly. And the ventilation grills, heatsinks etc. are all clean. You need to make sure that during the hot weather, nothing interferes with the normal airflow through the unit, as it might cause the inverter to overheat and shorten the lifespan of the inverter.
You can do the maintenance by yourself by making sure that the inverter is dirt-free, and there are no cobwebs or vermin. Ensure that the inverter is running normally. It is wise to talk to your installer and know about what warning codes or error lights to look for in the display.
Solar panels are like a prized possession which have an expected lifespan of 25 years. So, remember that a little maintenance will go a long way towards ensuring that your system saves you money on your energy bills for years to come.
Regular examinations ensure that the system is safe for everyone at home as well as any electrical employees on the distribution network.
So, do what you can on your own, and set a schedule on your calendar to ensure that the fundamentals are not overlooked.