How to look after your solar system
Producing electricity from your solar panels is not only great for the environment, it can save you a considerable amount on your energy costs.
But, like any major purchase, it’s important to ensure your solar system is regularly maintained.
Visually check the:
- cleanliness (accumulation of dust, debris, animal waste or nests) around and/or under the solar panel array and inverter.
- damage and/or deterioration of cabling, junction boxes or conduits on or around the array and inverter
- operation of the system. Refer to your inverter monitoring and original monthly estimate (contained within your system manual) for a guide, and confirm that the system is producing as expected.
- shading or discolouration on any of the panels.
You should also check the front of the inverter, the white box on the wall near your meter box or inside the garage, at least once a week.
In most circumstances, these checks can be done from the ground. If you’re concerned about your solar panels, call a professional to inspect them for you, and don’t ever go onto the roof to inspect them yourself.
- Call your solar sales company to confirm the production of your system and to advise them if any new buildings or trees may be impacting your solar generation potential.
- Arrange panel and array cleaning by a qualified professional.
- Schedule a trained arborist to remove any trees or branches that may be shading the array.
To keep your solar system running at its peak, we recommend that you arrange for a CEC-accredited electrician to check your system, yearly.
Your professional inspector will visually check the solar panels and roof top array for:
- signs of panel degradation and visual defects
- structural integrity of the solar panel array, including the strength and fastening of all panel clamps, racking and fixings.
Your professional inspector will visually check the inverter and associated appliances, such as isolators, cabling, junction boxes and conduits, for:
- cleanliness (accumulation of dust, debris, animal waste, nests or webs)
- damage and/or deterioration
- signs of heat stress (your inspector may use an infrared camera to do this).
Your professional inspector will manually check the:
- operation of your system (confirming that the system is producing as expected). This can be done by calculating the kWh produced per kW of panels. For reference, the average for a 1kW solar system in Canberra is approximately 4kWh/day.
- isolators, circuit breakers, Residual Current Devices (RCDs) and fuses—confirming that they are operating as intended and that connection points are not loose. The system should shut down within two seconds of operating a disconnection device (Main Switch Inverter Supply, External Isolator, Inverter AC Isolator)
- the function of your inverter. It must take at least 60 seconds to start after turning on the disconnection device.
- operation of the earth fault protection system. Does the inverter shut down under fault conditions? If the inverter is connected to the internet, ensure the inverter sends a notification in the event of a fault. If you’d like to test this, we can assist you on 1300 104 208.
Your professional inspector will:
- visually inspect the mechanical integrity of wiring installation, including conduits. Note that older installations may have been installed under earlier iterations of electrical standards, where HD conduits were not required to protect the DC cable.
- manually inspect all cabling for insulation integrity, including insulation resistance checks on all electrical cables within the system.
If any of these checks fail inspection, the inspector will negotiate with you and your solar sales company to fix the issue as soon as possible.
Never attempt to service or open any part of your solar system unless you are a fully qualified electrician, you have been authorised to do so and have properly prepared the site. Don’t climb on the roof to clean your solar panels, and never walk, sit or place objects on their surface.