Once you’ve had your solar system installed it can be easy to forget it’s there. While we may notice it on our roof every now and then, most of us aren’t thinking too much about how our solar system is performing, and how we can maximise its output.
Solar systems are a popular energy choice across Australia for good reason: they’re a clean, renewable source of energy, easily installed to your home and readily available. Plus the right sized system could help you lower your electricity bill.
If you have a solar system, or are thinking of installing one, then you’ll need to carry out a few checks every now and then to make sure your system is in good working order. With everything working in sync, your solar panels can deliver maximum output, and you can get the best possible return on your investment in green energy.
4 tips to check your solar system’s performance
Try this simple four-step solar health check to ensure you’re getting the most out of your solar system:
1. Make sure your inverter is working properly
Your solar system is made up of several parts. The inverter is the part of your system which transforms the power generated from your solar panels into usable energy for your home. While your solar panels absorb the sun’s energy and turn it into electricity, it’s the inverter that actually converts it into energy you can use.
The best way to check your inverter is to look on the front of your system for error codes or red lights, flashing red lights can often indicate a fault. You should also check for any visible signs of an ageing DC isolator (usually alongside the inverter) such as unsealed gaps formed from exposure to heat and sunlight, or cracks. Checking your inverter every few months is a good habit to get into.
If your solar system was purchased from Origin and is under warranty, call us for help. If not – don’t panic, Origin can still be of assistance. Origin offer a specialised solar repair service for all system owners.
2. Check the type of inverter you have – can it be remotely connected to a computer via Wi-Fi?
If you have a solar system which is wifi compatible, then checking your system’s output is simple. Systems which have Wi-Fi usually come with access to a cloud based monitoring program, which means you can easily log in and track your solar generation. To find out if your system is compatible check your system’s manual.
3. Check your roof for shade from overgrown trees/plants
Living amongst nature is great, but if your trees, or your neighbours’, start to shade your roof (and therefore your panels) then there’s a chance your solar production is being affected; overgrown branches and fallen leaves prevent sunlight reaching your solar panels. A popular myth is that you need heat for your solar panels to work, but it’s natural sunlight, specifically UV light that gets your panels working (which is great news for those rainy days).
4. Do your solar panels need cleaning?
When you think about it, it makes sense that your solar panels are going to get dirty; they’re up on your roof exposed to all the elements. And while the rain may wash away some grime, it won’t necessarily clear stubborn stains left behind by things such as birds. Consider getting your panels cleaned professionally every six to 12 months.
If you think your system isn’t working correctly call an expert and book in a service. Don’t attempt to get onto your roof and assess any damage. Think safety first.
Origin Solar experts can come out and assess any faults you may be concerned about and advise on next steps.