As solar panels have no moving parts, very little service and maintenance is required. To keep your solar panels generating efficiently we recommend an annual service to ensure your system is kept in full working order and any fault or drop in generation is flagged immediately and resolved. With average rain fall most panels are self-cleaning, but depending on local weather conditions, bird activity and overhanging trees your panels may also require an occasional clean. It’s unlikely that this will be an annual requirement, but an annual check will ensure that you do not lose generation due to dirty panels.
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Full PV health check
Fault investigation and maintenance call-out
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Advice as to whether the solar PV system needs cleaning
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Tips for checking your panels are in good condition:
• Generation reading: A very easy way of assessing the condition of your panels is from the generation meter reading. If it is similar to the estimation in your handbook, then everything is working fine.
• Check the panels: If accessible, then a simple glance at your panels can tell you if there is any surface debris like moss or lichen build-up. If the panels aren’t clean, then this can reduce the power output.
Issues with solar panels and what to do
If your solar PV system is not generating or showing a red light, you should try resetting the inverter by turning the AC and DC isolators off, waiting 5 minutes, and turning them back on. Check your Operations and Maintenance Manual to ensure you are able to do this safely. If this does not work, you can check that your inverter still has a grid supply and that no MCB or breakers have tripped out, resetting these should resolve this type of fault.
If your solar PV system is still not generating, you may need an engineer to investigate. Usually inverters will display a fault code indicating what the issue is. If you are contacting us regarding a fault, please provide the make, model and serial number of the inverter along with the fault indicated and we will be able to diagnose this for you.
If you suspect that panels are broken, or cables are damaged then you should report the fault as soon as possible to ensure an engineer can resolve the issue quickly and safely.
Common solar faults:
- Under performance: This may be due to the condition of your panels or cable misalignment.
- Inverter faults: These are usually easily rectified with a simple reset, following the manual.
The great part about solar is that there are very rarely any problems – but after roughly 15 years you can expect to replace the inverter as these don’t have a fantastic shelf life (like the solar panels do).
Are your solar panels generating as much energy as possible?
One easy way you can check if your panels are performing at their best is to check the estimated annual generation figure, which you can find in your MCS certificate. If this number isn’t accurate to the figure on your generation meter, then this can be a sign that there may be an issue with your system.
Checking your generation figure every quarter is a great habit to get into – especially when you’re approaching the warmer months, as you’ll want your panels working at full capacity and taking advantage of the summer sun!
What is the lifespan on solar panels and inverters?
Most solar panels come with a minimum 20 year warranty – so they’re truly future-proof! If there’s an issue, it’s more likely to be your inverter or power supply.
The lifespan of inverters, unfortunately, isn’t as long as that of the panels. Before you report a fault, it’s worth checking a few things:
- Is there enough ventilation? Inverters can overheat if not provided with space to breathe. Making sure they’re not boxed in or near heat sources (radiators etc) is really important to ensure the longevity of your inverter.
- Is the inverter clean and free of dust? Regularly cleaning your inverter can extend its lifespan, as dust can easily clog up the vents and cause overheating.
Is there a problem with your inverter?
Depending on how good the manufacturer is, inverters typically have a life span between 10-15 years. Fault codes on inverters vary depending on manufacturer. Some common codes to look out for include:
- Error 509 = No energy is being fed back to the grid. The common cause of this error is dirt or debris on your panels.
- Error 314 = This is a calibration timeout; which should rectify itself when the inverter repeats its start up routine.
- Green Flashing Light = A connection issue. Once the conditions for the feed-in operation are met, the inverter will start feed-in operation. Make sure the power supply is secure and connected to the PV system.
Get in Touch Today
Our Nottinghamshire base means our teams are well placed to service and maintain systems throughout the UK. We regularly service systems in Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, and Derbyshire. For further information and advice regarding our heat pump servicing and maintenance services, fill in our online enquiry form today.