One of the major reasons people install solar panels is to save money. By turning free solar energy from the sun into usable electricity for your home, you can slash your energy bills considerably. However, faults in your solar system have a direct effect on how much solar energy you produce. If you don’t produce enough energy, you rely more on the main grid and spend more on electricity.
With that in mind, keeping your solar panels in good working order is essential if you want to get the most out of them. There are multiple types of residential solar systems, each with pros and cons when it comes to faults. So, if you feel that your panels aren’t producing as much energy as they should, here are some ways to identify faults.
Why is it necessary to inspect faults?
When your solar system’s energy production decreases, you obviously want to know why. With a properly working system, you’ll save money, so every day that your fault goes unchecked, you’re losing money.
Checking and fixing faults is even more important for those with string inverters. A string inverter connects several panels in a ‘string’, meaning if there’s a problem with one panel, it affects the entire string. Systems that use microinverters don’t have this issue, however, if there is a problem with one solar panel, it will still cause a reduction in efficiency.
Even if you’re not a solar panel expert, you can still check your panels for visible signs of damage. Solar panels aren’t invincible, meaning they’re susceptible to damage just like anything else. As long as you can access your roof safely, a visual check should always be your first option. Inspect your panels for any cracks, scratches or other signs of damage.
Sometimes, solar panels can also become obstructed by debris, dirt, grime or even bird droppings. So, when you do your visual check, determine whether your panels are dirty and due for a clean. If there is another type of damage, such as cracks or chips, it’s best to contact your solar retailer. Your panels are likely under warranty, or at the very least, your solar experts can recommend the next steps.
Clean Your Solar Panels
If your solar panels are dirty, it’s easy to give them a clean. Use a cloth and some warm, soapy water. Never use harsh chemicals or abrasive brushes, as this can damage your panels. When your panels are clean, you might find their efficiency increases, delivering you more solar energy. Again, always ensure you follow safety procedures when working on your roof. If you’re not confident, most solar retailers offer a cleaning and maintenance service.
Check Your Monitoring Software
Most modern solar systems come with an app that lets you monitor your system performance. The smarter systems will even alert you to a potential issue. If you monitor your solar energy production day to day, you should be able to notice any significant changes. So, always keep an eye on your system monitoring app and take action if there are any changes in performance.
Inspect Your Inverter
If you’re not a solar expert, you definitely shouldn’t’ start pulling apart components. But you can still perform a visual check of your inverter. Many of them feature a display that could indicate an error code or message. Even if you don’t understand the error codes or know how to fix them, you can still contact your solar retailer or trusted solar electrician and ask them for advice.
People with electrical knowledge or qualifications may be able to perform checks on the voltage, resistance, current and more. This typically requires some specialist knowledge and tools, and we definitely don’t encourage these checks unless you really know what you’re doing. Only licensed electricians should perform electrical work, so if you feel that proper electrical checks are necessary, it’s best to call a professional.
Still Not Saving Enough Money? Consider Solar Batteries
If you’ve confirmed that your system is working as well as it possibly can, but you’re still not saving money, there’s another option. Solar battery storage allows you to store excess solar energy generated during the day so you can use it at night.
The solar battery price has gone down considerably in recent years, making them more viable for residential use. Let’s look at some of the reasons you should consider adding a solar battery to your system.
What are the Benefits of Solar Batteries?
There are multiple benefits of installing a solar battery, and it goes far beyond simply saving money.
Better for the environment
It’s a pretty simple proposition: The more solar energy you use, the less fossil-fuel-generated power from the national grid you use. Every kW of energy you don’t draw from the main grid reduces your carbon footprint and helps the environment.
Naturally, if you power your home with stored solar energy, it’s free. So, where you used to power your home with solar during the day and rely on the main grid at night, you can now use free solar energy at night. As long as your system produces enough and you can store enough energy, you can almost completely eliminate electricity bills.
Many people want to break free from their electricity retailers. Australians have been battling against rising costs for years, and people now want some self-sufficiency. With the right combination of solar panels and solar batteries, you can practically go off-grid and take control of your own power needs. Put simply, as the cost of living rises, it makes sense to be more self-sufficient.