There’s no doubt that switching to solar is a great way to conserve energy and save money in the long run. Thanks to advancements in technology, solar panels are now more durable and can withstand practically anything, as long as they’re maintained properly. However you acquired your solar panel system, there’s still maintenance to think about, and even if solar panels were built to last, you may still have to call for repairs.
Fortunately, solar panel repair and maintenance is fairly straightforward. You just have to know when to call a professional, and how much the repair is likely to cost. In other words, expect the unexpected, and you won’t be caught off guard. Given all that, here are the top maintenance issues to look out for.
Damaged Wires and Related Issues
Solar panels are typically wired with either series or parallel wiring. Series wiring involves one wire connecting several panels together, so their total voltage is tied together. Parallel wiring, on the other hand, uses wires for each individual panel and then connects to a central wire.
Whatever wiring system you have, it can become loose over time due to any number of reasons, but usually strong winds are the culprit. This is a rare maintenance issue, but it’s serious nonetheless because it can cause a significant drop in solar energy production. Don’t get up on your roof yourself to check the wiring, though; call your installer since they’ll have the equipment necessary to safely take a look for you.
Other wire-related issues could be down to water damage, especially when water can get into the wiring conduits, which usually cover the wires to protect them from the elements. Improperly installed conduits can turn out to have gaps that then allow rain or water to enter, therefore damaging the wiring inside.
For solar panel systems installed at a home, two kinds of inverters may be used. Some systems will use string inverters, while others will use micro-inverters. A string inverter connects a group – or string – of panels to one large inverter. On the other hand, micro-inverters are part of each individual panel, usually found on the back of each one.
Whichever inverter your system uses, keep an eye on your solar energy production and call a professional if you notice an unexplained dip. Check your energy meter, too, or your energy bill to see if you’re using electricity from the grid more often. If you have a string inverter setup, check the inverter display for any error messages, too.
Frequent Circuit Breaker Trips
If you’re dealing with the circuit breaker tripping more often than usual, there are several potential causes. For example, the circuit breaker panel may have been affected by external factors like the weather, or the circuit breaker panel itself may be faulty and needs to be replaced.
However, it’s also possible that the conductors in your solar panel system may be installed incorrectly, for instance, or the connection between your system and your circuit breaker is somehow faulty. In these last two cases, fixing the underlying problem should reduce the number of times your circuit breaker trips.