Solar energy: maintenance and troubleshooting

Solar panels on red-tiled roof

RACV

Posted November 12, 2021


Interested in solar energy but worried about the upkeep? Here are some of your most frequently asked questions answered on maintaining your solar system.

As one of the largest solar installers in Victoria, we have continued to help thousands of homes and businesses save while going sustainable. If you have recently upgraded to solar at home, or you are thinking about doing so but you are unsure how it works, or what solar is, we have all the details from how to maintain your solar system to who to call if things go wrong.


Do solar systems need much maintenance?

Solar systems actually require very little maintenance. Rainwater will clean panels adequately in most cases, and good-quality hardware, installed correctly, will last in the elements. Keeping an eye out for trees growing and shading panels or heavy dirt build-up is a good idea, and tree pruning, or professional cleaning may be necessary in some cases.

I have an existing solar system, but I’m not sure if it’s working. How can I check?

The easiest way to check is to look at the solar inverter (box on the wall). It should have some lights or a screen that you can check. Green lights are generally good and if the screen is showing power output the system is probably working. However, this is only confirmation the system has no major fault, not that it is performing well.

Red lights or an error on the screen are signs of a problem. Another way to check is to look at your power bill to see if you are feeding in power. RACV also offers solar health checks.

What happens if there is a blackout?

Australian standards require that grid-connected solar systems shut down in the case of a blackout. This is to prevent power from flowing back into the grid and posing a risk to electrical workers who may be fixing the problem. Many newer battery systems can operate in a blackout by first “islanding” the whole system and the house from the grid.

Men installing solar panels on house roof

The amount of energy absorbed by a solar panel depends on the quality of the product you select. Image: Getty. 


 

What are solar monitoring apps?

Solar monitoring apps – developed by inverter, battery or other hardware manufacturers – allow you to view solar energy produced on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. With additional hardware they can also show home energy consumed, excess energy exported, and energy stored in your battery (if installed). They are generally available on iOS, Android and the web. They help you track your energy usage and show you how you are benefiting from solar and battery storage (if installed).

What if I have an issue not listed here?

Have a check throughout FAQs if you are having an issue with your solar system. If your matter is still not resolved, get in touch with our Technical Support team to assist further. 

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