Solar PV Inspection, Maintenance & Testing
All electrical systems need periodic inspection and testing. Solar PV systems are no different. For PV systems mounted on buildings, the recommended inspection interval will depend on the type and use of the building.
Typical reasons for inspection, testing or maintenance include;
- An obvious fault has developed – for example an inverter has stopped, working or a panel is damaged
- Concerns about reduced returns from your system
- Periodic inspection or routine maintenance
- A change in system ownership to your solar PV installation.
- Water ingress
- To safeguard your investment
What’s the Risk?
In the vast majority of cases, problems won’t occur. Even when they do, the most common problem is reduced system output, undermining your investment returns. Very occasionally however, faults lead to fire or shock risk.
Faults occasionally develop in even the best installed and properly specified PV systems. The most obvious fault is usually an inverter failure, which generally is spotted pretty quickly. However, a loss of 1 or 2 strings in a larger system can be much more difficult to spot, can go unnoticed for months and lead to a significant loss in income.
Monitoring and Fault Alarms
While not an alternative to periodic system verification, an effective remote monitoring and fault reporting system will provide early warning of drops in performance or faults.
Most well designed larger systems should include such a facility. Retrofitting is a practical and effective option where not installed at the outset.
Generally if it is midday and your inverter is showing a red light instead of a green, you have a problem with your solar PV inverter. However, below we have listed a few of the really common faults we have come across.
- Fronius: Fronius STATE codes beginning with 4 are error states that require the intervention of a technician. Please contact us for assistance.
- Eversolar: A common error with Eversolar inverters is the “Relay Check Fail” warning. If you see this message more than likely your inverter will broken and will need replacing.
- ABB/Power One: Error E031, this again is a relay failure, and your inverter will probably need replacing.