Why is solar maintenance important?
Consistent exposure to weather including UV from sunlight, rain and wind will cause solar energy system components to deteriorate or become damaged over time, which could create an electrical or fire safety risk.
Dust and debris also gradually build up on solar panels. This may affect how the system performs.
Regular inspections and maintenance of solar energy systems will ensure that any issues are identified and fixed early, before they pose a risk or cause other problems which can be expensive to fix.
Who can do solar maintenance?
The maintenance of electrical installations in Tasmania, including solar energy systems, must be done by a licensed electrician.
It is best to choose an electrician who specialises in solar. Often these electricians will be accredited as solar installers by the Clean Energy Council. You can check whether an electrician holds this accreditation at www.cleanenergycouncil.com.au
Do not attempt to perform solar maintenance yourself – engage an electrician who has the skills required to perform this work properly and safely.
What needs maintaining?
Your solar installer may have given you information on the required maintenance when the system was first installed.
Your electrician can also use our inspection and maintenance checklist - solar energy systems.
Some things your electrician will look for include:
- Checking for any damage or deterioration to components
- Testing to ensure that safety switches and other devices are working properly
- Ensuring the panels, frame and all cables remain firmly fixed in place
- Clearing any debris and ensuring the system is not being impacted by vegetation
How often should maintenance be done?
How often your solar energy system needs maintaining will depend on the site conditions, the age of the system and when maintenance was last performed.
More regular maintenance may be needed for systems which are close to the ocean due to higher wind and salt deposits which may increase corrosion.
The same applies to areas with more vegetation or dust – panels may need more regular cleaning in these areas.
Talk to your electrician for a recommendation on maintenance frequency. As a guide, solar energy systems should be inspected annually.
In between inspections you should still monitor the performance of your system, and contact an electrician if you have concerns.
Just like your car, regular maintenance is the best way to ensure that your solar energy system performs as it should for its intended lifespan.
How much will it cost?
Before you engage an electrician to inspect and maintain your solar energy system, we recommend that you get multiple quotes to make sure you’re paying a fair price.
The cost of inspecting your system will depend on the circumstances including the size of the system, how accessible it is and how far the electrician has to travel.
Maintenance costs will depend on the age, size and condition of your system.
What records should I keep?
After maintenance is performed on your solar energy system you should keep a copy of the maintenance checklist completed by the electrician for your records.
Keep the checklist with your warranty information for the system as it may assist you with any future claims.
What if my solar system is new?
Even if your solar energy system is brand new, you should start thinking about organising regular maintenance in the future.
That way, you can put money aside for maintenance in advance, and set a reminder for when your first inspection is due.
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