This article gives you a balanced view of every option and costs involved.
Solar System Maintain Guide
Requirements for maintaining solar power system:
An experienced installer and electrician installs a good quality solar system to operate with low maintenance requirements for a very long time. However, it is essential to inspect the components of the system at some interval of time to ensure:
- The procedure is being performed well as designed.
- No factors are affecting the performance.
- All members are operating safely and correctly, and there is no risk or failure of any damage.
How often should it be inspected? :
If we talk about a small residential system, we recommend a full electrical inspection once a year. But for commercial systems, it is recommended to have monthly scheduled maintenance inspections to ensure the system is working optimally and safely. Solar panel monitoring systems must work correctly; they provide insight into performance, diagnose issues, and identify if you need anything during scheduled maintenance.
Should we clean Solar Panels? :
It is similar to roofing material but also collects dust and dirt throughout its lifetime. But in most areas of Australia, if the panels are tilted at an angle of 5 degrees or more, then due to heavy rain, it might get cleaned, and the system will work properly and efficiently without selling losses.
New upgrades to solar system technology, like cutting silicon cells in half or panel optimizers, have made them more resistant to shading and dirt build-up. A well-experienced electrician can advise whether there is a need to clean the solar panel system or if there is any need to maintain the system monthly or yearly.
But if solar panels are installed flat on a roof, in an unusual condition, or any industrial area, then it is necessary to get them cleaned regularly.
Solar Maintenance: Regular Vs Reactive:
There are different approaches to managing the solar system. Still, the more extensive commercial system or those operating multiple sites will get a contractor for regular inspection and services and monitoring system, which enables faults and higher risks to be identified and resolved early and minimizes the damage to the system.
However, many commercial owners often engage with contractors or installers whenever something goes wrong. Free monitoring software, which comes with good-quality inverters, can identify faults and issues in the system, and some even can send an email to the owner if an error is triggered.
What Solar Panel warranties cover? :
It usually covers manufacturing defects and requires a qualified CEC-approved electrician to approach, identify, and raise with the product manufacturer. If it can be demonstrated that a solar panel is not generating the expected output, then you can make a claim. These claims are usually only made on utility-scale projects with expert equipment that can measure local sunlight and prove that a solar panel is underperforming.
Can solar panels resist different weather patterns? :
Solar power systems are specifically engineered and rated to function effectively in the conditions of their installation. A professional solar installer will guarantee that the mounting system and the structural support for the solar panels are tailored to meet the wind resistance requirements and withstand the typical and unexpected weather conditions prevalent on your property and the area. Those panels are well tested and designed to withstand different weather to get approval from Australian Standards, which covers 99% of weather patterns.
Common problems occur with Solar Panels Systems:
Wiring and component issues:
In Australia, regulations mandate the placement of a DC isolator (a switch responsible for deactivating the solar panels) on the rooftop. Unfortunately, this component is susceptible to deterioration due to UV exposure, overheating, or water ingress over time. Similarly, like any system, there can be potential concerns regarding the wiring, connections, and the quality of workmanship carried out by the electricians who performed the installation.
Faults in Solar Inverter:
It is a significant solar system component and is highly prone to failure. Inverters can repeatable ‘trip off’ if there are voltage issues onsite or within the solar system itself; dust can be collected, which affects the inverter’s temperature and overall performance.
It is the most common issue, usually when panels get too hot or circuits overloaded. It can be in problems like the build-up of dirt on a solar panel surface or a manufacturing fault such as a bad electrical connection.
Usually, this occurs from mishandling in shipping/transport or applying too much pressure to the tempered glass during installation.
It presents a darkened line across the panel’s surface that resembles a ‘snail trail.’ These problems can occur when moisture can get inside the solar panel using defective silver paste. Snail trails cause solar panels to produce lower outputs and shorten their expected lifespan.
Cost of Solar Panel Maintenance:
The table below shows an approximate guide to the cost of maintaining a solar system and is based on various factors.
Cost of Solar Panel Cleaning:
The table below shows an approx guide to the cost of maintaining solar systems, and it is based on various factors, which are:
- Roof Access
- Design of solar system
- Number of solar panels to be installed
- The lifespan of Solar Panels