Solar panel maintenance: What you need to know

Do you need to service your solar panels? What will happen if you don’t?

Discover the answers to the most common solar panel maintenance questions. Our guide will help you maintain the quality of your system so that it can last the distance.

Why do solar systems need maintenance?

Just like running a car, you can ensure you get the most out of your solar system through ongoing maintenance. While your solar system is built to be tough, your panels live outside and are exposed to all weather conditions.

Constant exposure to the elements can cause damage to parts. In an extreme case, the DC isolator casing can deteriorate, allowing rain or moisture to get inside, and present a fire risk. Regular servicing and cleaning will identify any potential faults early and keep your system in good condition.

How often should I get my solar panels serviced?

To ensure your system is operating efficiently and safely, it’s recommended to have your solar panels serviced at least once every two years.

What checks do I need on my system?

Your solar retailer or installer will provide a maintenance schedule for your system. Here’s what it’s likely to include.

Who should service my solar system?

A solar system service should be carried out by a licensed electrician. We strongly recommend you use an electrician accredited by the Clean Energy Regulator’s accreditation scheme operator to ensure that your system is serviced by an electrician with appropriate training in solar systems. They will know what to look for, will work safely and be able to diagnose and fix any issues.

Your installer may be able to service your solar system and provide ongoing servicing as part of a servicing agreement.

‘Solar cleaners’ or others who advertise similar services may be cheaper than an electrician, but the work they do to your system could be a safety risks or may void your warranty.

When engaging an electrician for a solar service, we also recommend you do the following:

  • Always ensure that they will provide a detailed report on what checks were carried out, plus any findings and what was rectified. Ask for this report if you do not receive it.
  • Always check your warranty. In some cases, a service performed by a company other than the installer could void the warranty.

"When you buy a system, find out who you should contact if there is a fault and be aware of the warranties available with your system. You do have rights under Australian Consumer Law, so if any problems arise and you are unable to contact the business, or you do not receive a satisfactory response within a reasonable time, you could lodge a complaint with Consumer Affairs Victoria, who may be able to assist."

What’s the difference between cleaning and servicing a solar system?

Cleaning your system could be as simple as giving your panels a spray with the hose now and then to wash away surface debris.

Learn more about cleaning solar panel systems including what you can and can't do yourself at home.

Servicing involves detailed electrical testing of the solar panel system, as well as a thorough visual inspection to ensure the equipment and cabling is operating as it should be.

When it comes to getting your system serviced, it’s critical to call in an expert. If you notice any obvious physical damage to the system, call a professional service.

Visit Energy Safe Victoria for more information about keeping your home solar safe.

What other system checks should I be carrying out?

Anti-islanding check

This is also referred to as a PV inverter test, and is to check that the inverter connects and disconnects to the broader electricity grid safely. Electricity distributors want to make sure that your system will not feed electricity into the electricity network in a blackout, to protect those who may be working on a local part of the grid.

Some distributors request that an anti-islanding test of the inverter be carried out once a year, so check the timing with your distributor. The test can be done by an electrician accredited by the Clean Energy Regulator’s accreditation scheme operator who has appropriate training in solar systems.

Some householders can confidently do the test themselves but only if shown how to do so by an accredited installer.

Regular inverter check

Your inverter will be inspected during a professional system check to see that it’s operating correctly and that the heatsinks and ventilation grills are clean. Anything that impedes normal air flow through the unit might cause it to overheat in hot weather and reduce the life of the inverter.

However, you can also do some of this maintenance yourself, by making sure the inverter is free of dirt, dust, spider webs and even vermin. Check that the inverter is running normally, and talk to your installer about what error lights, or warning codes to look for on the display.

Whether your system is brand new or you’re looking to invest in a solar PV system soon, remember that a bit of care goes a long way to making sure your system saves you money on your energy bills for years to come. Do what you can yourself, and make a schedule in your calendar so the essentials don’t get forgotten.

As well as helping system performance, regular checks mean the system is safe for everyone at home as well any electrical workers on the distribution network.


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