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You have reduced your Carbon Footprint. Now What?

Friday, November 26, 2021 4:56:00 PM Africa/Johannesburg

You have reduced your Carbon Footprint. Now What?

You have reduced your carbon footprint, now what?

So, you have your solar panels up and running, and your utility bill is much lower than it used to be. What happens next? What maintenance does it need? How much does it cost? In this blog we will answer those questions and more.

Just as a homeowner must make repairs and maintain their home, a PV system needs maintenance as well. In fact, the solar system manufacturers require a certain amount of maintenance to keep your system running optimally, as well as to ensure that your warranty is not voided. In this blog post, we’ll go over the various ways a PV system may need maintenance even after the installation of a new system.

How Often Do Solar Panels and Systems Need Maintenance?

You've probably already done your research and know that solar systems require very little maintenance. It is true that solar systems require very little maintenance unless the install was done incorrectly, you had bad parts, or an outside force caused damage to your system like a bad hailstorm. The reason why solar systems are so easy to maintain is that there have hardly any moving parts in them. The only moving parts in a solar panel are the screws and the metal frames and both parts stay put and don't move unless they are damaged.

The most complex part of your solar system is your inverter, which is most likely the only component to give you issues. No need to stress, all the big inverter brands that we stock have warranties that will cover any issues that come up in the first 5-10 years. Your batteries also come with a warranty that is also 5-10 years long

Common Causes of Solar System Damage

Solar panels are one of the most robust parts of any solar system. The materials used are rugged and made to take a lot of abuse. That's not to say that they are indestructible, but they are built to be very robust. That being said, you are bound to encounter issues with your solar panels at some point or another. Here are some of the most common issues you are likely to run into with your solar panels.

Damaged solar panels

Solar panels are protected by tempered glass. Tempered glass is strong and can take a lot of beating before it breaks and withstand even one of the strongest hailstorms, but glass is glass and glass can break therefore one of the main points of failure can be your solar panel.

Arc Faults

Arc faults happen when there is a high-power discharge of electricity between conductors, which can give off heat. This heat can break down the wire, which might start an electrical fire. 

 Because none of that sounds good, inverters are equipped with arc fault protection. If the inverter senses anything that may be an arc fault, it shuts down to prevent things from getting out of hand and causing damage to your system or property - this is called fault mode. 

Depending on your inverter, you might see an error message on the display to indicate your inverter is in fault mode.

How Do I Know If My Solar System Needs Maintenance?

One great way to determine if your solar system needs maintenance is to check your solar monitoring software, or your electricity bill, if your inverter doesn’t come with monitoring software.

 

If your inverter does have monitoring software, then you should be able to review historical data and if you feel like something is amiss, you can compare the data to the previous year’s month and look at your production values to see if they match up, excluding bad weather as that isn’t something you can compare against.

Unless you have access to monitoring software. You can look at the previous month’s electricity bills and see how much power you purchased from them. This can be a good tool for finding out if your panels are degrading and you need someone to come out and look at them.

Just make sure this hike in your power bill didn’t come from an explicable spike in the amount of power you used, like Christmas lights or a new piece of equipment.

What Does PV Solar System Maintenance Cost?

If your installer gives you a workmanship warranty, and you are within the time frame stated in it, then any labor that needs to be done should be free. If a component fails within the warrantied timeframe, then the component, such as the inverter or battery, will be serviced and repaired for free.

The average cost of maintaining a solar system drops to almost nothing after the first 5-10 years of service

How to Maintain Your Own Solar Panels

Maintaining solar panels is really easy. Most of the time, if there is frequent rainfall in your area, then the rain will remove any remaining dust and debris from the panels. If you do notice that your solar panels start to become dusty, then a quick wash down of the panels with a hosepipe is more than enough to get rid of any remaining dust and restore your PV production to its previous state.

When it comes down to it, here’s all you need to know about how to maintain your own solar system:

  1. Sit back
  2. Relax
  3. Pay ridiculously low electricity bills

Visit our website or speak to our specialized agent that will be able to guide you to find the right solution.

 

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