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The Complete Guide to Solar Panel Maintenance

A lot of questions can come up if you recently had a solar panel installed. Things like ‘how often should I have a professional inspect and clean my solar panels?’ is a valid solar system maintenance concern.

In this article, we’ll guide you on how you should approach solar panel maintenance.

Why Do Solar Panels Need to Undergo Maintenance?

The best solar panels can last a long time, and most are relatively low maintenance. However, that doesn’t exclude it from a regular checkup via a qualified electrician to ensure that all components are working as they should be, running as well as they should and lastly, that the system is optimised to provide clean energy.

How Often Should You Have a Professional Inspect Your Solar Panels?

Most homes and small residential-type systems will do well to have a complete electrical inspection every one to two years. For those who have larger systems, e.g., 40kW and above, we’d recommend having a full inspection done every year for utmost safety and power efficiency.

Should I Clean the Solar Panels Myself?

Much like any material that’s exposed to the outdoor environment, solar panels may collect dust, dirt and debris among other things. For panels that are installed at a 5-degree angle or greater, there’s good news- rainfall tends to wash away the fine particles and keep it working optimally.

Also, improvements in the solar panel industry, particularly silicon cells, inverters and panel optimisers have solved most dust problems that plague the panels. A qualified solar panel system inspector or electrician can determine if your panels need additional cleaning.

As a side note, homes located near coastal areas, in nearby proximity to industrial pollution or those living in a bird-dense area may need to have their solar panels maintained more often.

What’s the Difference Between Reactive and Regular Maintenance?

Solar maintenance will often depend on the kind of solar panel system you have. For those who have several solar panel installations in different areas, or those that have commercial setups, it’s a good idea to have a contractor provide the necessary monitoring and inspection to ensure continuous operation, as well as identify potential risks and faults and fix them in a timely manner.

On the other hand, there are those who will only contact a contractor or installer when they find an issue with their solar panels. Although there’s a free monitoring software in inverters to check the system status it won’t alert the provider if the unit is underperforming or failing.

Solar Panel Warranty Coverage

In a broad sense, a solar panel warranty covers product defects and require a professional electrician to confirm the issue and bring it up to the manufacturer’s attention.

Solar system owners who wish to contact a local solar maintenance company can reach out to us at All Green Environmental and have your unit inspected, diagnosed and fixed.

A claim happens when you can prove that the panel is not working as promised. You can avoid this by choosing a reputable solar panel company that has a local presence in Australia.

Solar Panels Versus Extreme Weather Patterns

Solar panels will usually have the necessary environmental rating where they’re installed. A reputable contractor can make sure the owner’s roof sub-structure and the mounting system meet wind-rating and weather patterns that may occur in your region.

Plus, all solar panels will come with an ice or hail-resistance rating up to 35 millimetres, or roughly the size of a golf ball to pass Australian Standards. This is about 99 per cent of weather patterns, where the 1 per cent can stem from events where the hailstone can shatter car windscreens.

Solar panel owners can choose to get building insurance to cover against hail damage. Also, you can choose to get a tempered glass backsheet, or otherwise known as ‘glass on glass’ panel instead of thin film, which makes the system more durable. The cost to have this done is 20 per cent more than standard panel installation.

Common Solar Panel Issues You Should Know

Hot Spots

Hot spots are when the panels are overloaded or become too hot while in use. The most probable cause is the buildup of dirt, which traps the heat. It can also be a manufacturing issue, e.g., faulty wiring and others.

Snail Trails

Snail trail is a condition where moisture gets inside the panel and causes a darkened line to form across the surface. This is commonly caused by a faulty silver paste and can lead to a shortened lifespan and lower output.

Micro Cracks

Micro cracks can form when there’s too much pressure applied during installation, or when the panels are mishandled during transport. They may appear nearly invisible at first but expand as the panels undergo temperature fluctuations and water ingress.

Inverter Issues

Inverters can be damaged by ‘tripping off’ when the solar panels are running in sub-optimal condition and when there are voltage fluctuations and problems. Over time, dust can accumulate on the inverter and make it hotter or cause communication issues between the inverter and solar panels.

Components and Wiring

Australian regulations require DC isolators or switches that can shut down solar panel functions to be installed on the roof. As it experiences temperature fluctuations, moisture and UV rays these units can break. Wiring, connection and electrician workmanship can also affect the condition of your solar panel system.

How Much Would It Cost to Have My Solar Panels Cleaned and Maintained?

A basic inspection can run anywhere between $250 to $1,100, while a detailed inspection that includes electrical testing can run from $400 to $2,900.

Cleaning usually costs $4 to $12 per panel depending on the kW rating.

These costs are estimates and will go up or down depending on several factors, such as age, how many panels you have, roof access and solar system design.

Tips to Check Your Solar Power Output and Performance

You can check how your panels are performing by reviewing information in the monitoring software which comes with your solar system.

Another way to see if your solar panels are working is to check your energy bills. You’ll be able to see information about exported solar energy and lower energy consumption figures due to going off-grid.

How You Can Replace Faulty Solar Panels

This type of work must always be handled by a Clean Energy Council qualified electrician. If you wish to file a claim then evidence must be collected and presented by the electrician.

If you’re replacing a panel with a different model ensure that it has similar specifications as with the original unit, or you’ll experience a drop in performance.

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  • 5 star review  May I thank the installer Dave who came around today to troubleshoot and fix my network connectivity with the Enphase envoy. He went to great trouble to hook it up via ethernet so it’s much more reliable and I’m thrilled about that. This is the sort of excellent post-install service you want but don't always get. Recommend.

    thumb Grant Ayre
    4/04/2019

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    6/16/2020
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    10/27/2020

    5 star review  Excellent business to deal with from start to finish. David and his team were friendly, professional , reliable and efficient. The office gave good customer service. Smooth instalment from start to finish and competitive prices. Would recommend them to anyone .

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    7/28/2020

    5 star review  I had the team from All Green install a 6kw Enphase solar system on my home. The team were very professional and even more knowledgeable of the products they were installing. Thank you very much All Green.

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    6/04/2021
  • 5 star review  I had an issue with my Enphase system which was installed by another local company who went bankrupt, effectively voiding my labour warranty for good. All Green Environmental Solutions weren't obliged to assist me, being very busy with their own clients, but they did !. Their response was prompt and professional throughout. If you are looking to install solar, I am sure you will be safe in the long term and well looked after with this company. Thanks again .

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    3/04/2020

    5 star review  One of the easiest, seamless dealings I've had installing something. Highly recommended. Love our LG Panels.

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    1/01/2020
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    11/26/2019

    5 star review  Great service end to end - bloke came out in person to discuss options (all others were phone or didn’t show), clear quotes, very professional and friendly team of installers on the day. Couldn’t recommend these guys more, 5*

    thumb Chris Dolman
    11/06/2019
  • 5 star review  A good price & advice on what components to buy. Installed on the day scheduled, and installer were professional. I'd recommend

    thumb Stuart Frith
    11/01/2020

    5 star review  A highly professional experience from start to finish. The sales team provided all the information we needed in an easy to understand format with very competitive pricing. Once we decided to go ahead with the purchase things moved along quickly and within a short time the installation crew arrived. The crew were very helpful and friendly, explaining all the steps and downtime was kept to a very minimum amount of time. No more than 15 minutes or so. The monitoring software was installed and explained in detail and the empty boxes, etc was cleaned away. A reassuring aspect of the monitoring software is that in the event of a problem All Green will contact me to let me know what will be done and when, not the other way around as is usually the case. Top marks on all aspects of the deal from start to finish. Well done. I would recommend All Green in an instant.

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    11/04/2020
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    8/26/2020

    5 star review  Great company to deal with. Priced competively. Install done neatly and on time. Always good to support some locals. Well done to Scott, Bryce and the team.

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    2/11/2020
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    9/09/2020

    5 star review  All Green were quick and efficient at installing my panels. I've just received my first power bill since the installation and I am very happy with the result. Recommend.

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    1/18/2019
  • 5 star review  I was referred to All Green Environmental Solutions by a friend and I am so glad I listened. The job entailed installing Enphase solar panel system and a Tesla Powerwall 2 at my house. This was done efficiently with the work being completed on the day of installation with no issues. They setup the system so that I can monitor it on my phone, answered all questions I had and were professional throughout. I highly recommend them

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    6/19/2020

    5 star review  From the very start, Joe was competitive, and engaging with the quote.Joe provided a lot of background links to help in the education process, and help determine the right system for our house based on our budget. Then when it came to the install, Bryce and his team were here promptly. They were very engaging, and extremely efficient - done in 4hrs. Enjoying monitoring production and consumption, and looking forward to low energy bills and doing our little part for the environment. Thanks to All Green Environmental Solutions.

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    11/27/2019

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    5/14/2020
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