Believe it or not, spring is just around the corner. And with it, the start of the sunny-but-not-so-hot season in which solar panels thrive.
Clean panels do better than dirty panels. And a well-maintained, serviced system does best of all.
Which begs the question, how proactive should you be in looking after your solar system? What do other Spirit Energy customers do by way of servicing?
All electrical systems should be inspected and tested periodically, and solar PV (and battery storage) systems are no exception. Here are the key reasons to carry out an electrical service of your system:
- maintain optimal system performance;
- achieve anticipated financial returns;
- avoid fire risks;
- ensure effective earthing;
- check for damage to cable and connectors.
As a minimum we recommend testing and inspection should be undertaken once every two years by a qualified electrician, trained in the relevant technology.
On a sloping roof, panels will be cleaned by the rain as the glass on the panels is self-cleaning. Google carried out a study in which they found cleaning the panels on a sloping roof didn't make much difference to output.
However, in the same study, they found that cleaning panels on a flat roof could increase output by 36%.
This is in line our own recommendation that if you have a domestic solar system and your panels are in an area of high debris or pollution, or if they are installed on a flat roof, the panels should be manually cleaned every year or every two years.
The Wisdom of Crowds: what are most of our customers doing by way of electrical servicing of their solar system?
We have installed hundreds and hundreds of domestic solar systems. Our back-of-the-envelope figures show that 5-10% of these service the system regularly, the majority service it at the 5 year point before the Workmanship Warranty runs out, and a silent but not insignificant minority fall into the "if it ain't broke, don't touch it" category... (and we're proud to say that if it's a Spirit system, the chances are it ain't broke...).
Make what you will of the wisdom of crowds... we would recommend a more frequent inspection than most of our customers undertake... but then I guess the dentist would say that too...
Guide to Solar Panel