Wonderful, lovely, playful Spring! The time of year we associate with warmer and longer days, cherry-tree blossom, maybe a cheeky rosé, and a tradition rooted in religious and cultural traditions, the BIG ANNUAL CLEAN. A quick google and you’ll find many a checklist to help you with your spring-clean but not one of them mentions showing your solar some love; and they should.
The Clean Energy Council (CEC) recommends regular maintenance by a professional to ensure your solar system stays in peak condition; and now is the perfect time of year to get that organised. You want to be sure your solar is performing as it should, so you can make the most of the summer sun and maximise your savings!
Solar systems are at the mercy of the elements 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, leaving them vulnerable to any number of issues and faults, including dust and grime, bird droppings, loose cables and chewed-through wires.
Here are 5 things you should know
1. Why you should get your panels cleaned and system checked
As Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton puts it, “You wouldn’t drive your car around for two or three years without taking it in for a service at some point. The same applies to your solar power system if you want it to stay in peak condition.” Just like a car, a regular service make your system run better and safer.
2. Rain won’t necessarily make it all ‘go away’
Dirty solar panels will reduce the amount of light being absorbed by the panels, making them less efficient than they otherwise would be. Regular rain will keep your panels reasonably clean, but some local and regional factors can result in dirtier panels that require specialised attention. These include:
- Areas of high traffic, construction zones or farmland => Dust build-up
- Beach-side suburbs => Sea-salt residue
- Nearby trees => Bird droppings
- Flat panels => Muddy film after rain evaporates
3. Can’t I just clean the panels myself?
You can, but we wouldn’t recommend it. Notwithstanding the fact that getting up on a roof is in itself a risky activity, your solar panels are electrical equipment and you need to be aware of the dangers involved and the precautions to take. Another thing to be aware of is voiding your panel warranty. Check the clauses in your documentation around ‘improper maintenance’ and/or ‘accidental damage’; that could result in you not being covered if you have to make a claim for any reason.
There are a number of ways you can inadvertently damage your panels. Not only do you need to be careful with the detergent that you use, but even throwing cold water on a hot panel that’s been sitting in the sun could cause damage.
If you use an accredited solar installer, as recommended by the Clean Energy Council, you won’t have to worry; and whilst that person is up on your roof, he or she can also check for any loose and broken cables/wiring.
4. What other things are included in a maintenance check?
A professional should take readings from your solar inverter and do a manual check and test of all breakers, isolators, fuses and switches. You should then be provided with a comprehensive report on the health of your system so you can rest assured that everything is working as it should be. If faults or issues are found, you can arrange for your system to be fixed quickly, before you get the nasty shock of an unexpectedly high electricity bill.
5. How much does a panel clean and system check cost?
At Suntrix we provide 19-point system maintenance check for $99; and panel cleaning from $8 per panel + $55 call-out fee. Contact us today and get your solar system ready for summer.
You don’t have to wait to spring….
It is a good idea to keep an eye on your system all year round. Suntrix designed and developed its own solar monitoring tool called myWatt to give solar owners across Australia peace of mind. It equips households and businesses with real-time solar performance; and if your system stops working for any reason, it sends you an email alert. By identifying problems as soon as they happen, you can respond immediately, protect your solar investment and ensure you don’t lose money. Find out more about myWatt.