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Stop Worrying About The 5 Most Common Solar Panel Problems

Stop Worrying About The 5 Most Common Solar Panel Problems

In our sun-soaked country, it’s a lot easier to find reasons to ‘go solar’ than to think about the reasons why you shouldn’t. It’s just a fact that we need a lot of electricity for our busy, productive and enjoyable lives – and solar is cheaper, better for the environment, and the key to sustainability and self-sufficiency. At the heart of your solar setup are the panels themselves, which sit on your roof, soaking up the sun and quietly turning it into clean, cheap and abundant energy – it’s a truly outstanding, low-maintenance investment that will quickly pay you back over time. Unfortunately, another fact is that – like anything else – even the most ingenious and robust inventions sometimes go wrong. Are you worried your solar panels are not working properly?

Here are the 5 most common solar panel problems from the specialists in Brisbane and Sunshine Coast solar repair services.

1. Corrosion

While impressively robust and weather-proof, moisture has been known to creep inside, causing problems with solar panels.

The best thing to do about this is to get an annual solar inspection so that the crucial internal components are kept safe and dry.

2. Wiring

If your solar panel faults are wiring-related, ask yourself this: Did a fully licensed, experienced and reputable solar installer wire it? Poor installation may explain any loose connections – however poor installation also makes the wiring easier to access by common Australian pests like possums and rats who will chew the cables causing short circuits. Other factors like corrosion and oxidation can be less avoidable.

If you suspect a wiring issue, don’t risk your long-term investment by fiddling around yourself, and instead call a licensed solar electrician.

3. Cracks

While rare, cracks remain one of the potential solar panel problems you may be experiencing. Small cracks shouldn’t be a big deal, but we all know that any little crack can easily develop into a bigger one.

It may surprise you that the biggest cause of solar panel cracks is not because of the conditions, but because of poor installation and handling.

4. Hot spots

One of the most common solar power questions we are asked is about hot spots. While your panels are obviously designed to soak up the hot Australian sun, they become particularly susceptible to hot spots – or concentrations of heat – when dirty.

However, bad soldering is also another major cause, so it’s just another reason to put just as much homework into your panel installer and repairer than the panels themselves.

5. PID

PID stands for Potential Induced Degradation, which is a complex problem that eats away at your system’s power output. Without getting too technical, the issue involves voltage, grounding, ions and electrons – but the cause is simpler: humidity.

The best way to avoid these types of problems is to browse for manufacturers and repairers who spend a lot of time thinking about PID resistance and remedies.

Stop worrying and call Solar Repair Service instead

Are you experiencing one of these common solar panel problems? You’re in luck, because here at Solar Repair Service we promptly fix panels, inverters and solar systems all across Brisbane, Moreton Bay, the Sunshine Coast, Redland Bay and beyond. Our solar technicians are fully qualified, we have decades of combined experience, and we have successfully identified and rectified the full spectrum of solar panel problems at hundreds upon hundreds of homes and premises just like yours.

Don’t let problems with solar panels get you down. Instead, give Solar Repair Service a call today.

A Simple Guide For Common Solar Inverter Problems

A Simple Guide For Common Solar Inverter Problems

As our exciting and ever-greener 21st century keeps racing on, there seem to be more reasons every single day why you should ‘go solar’. As well as being the most environmentally-friendly energy source out there, especially in beautiful sunny Queensland, it’s just fun to make your own electricity – and extremely cost-effective as well. But while also extraordinarily reliable, anything made by us humans can sometimes go wrong – and solar inverter problems top the list of common issues faced by solar Queenslanders just like you.

Solar inverter not working? – Here’s what to know

If your solar inverter is on strike, it can be tricky to know whether you should immediately call the friendly and speedy solar systems electricians at Solar Repair Service, or if a bit of easy-peasy DIY might just do the job – and get that solar system firing again in a flash!

It sounds like you need some helpful solar inverter troubleshooting tips – so let’s get straight into it.

1. How’s that error code?

Inverters are complex, but luckily just about every modern system will give you a basic indication of what’s gone wrong in the form of operating lights or LED error codes. But if there’s no error lights or codes at all, that sounds like a pretty serious solar inverter problem – like a total loss of power.

 

2. Solar inverter not powering on?

If you discover your solar panel inverter not working because there seems to be no power at all, check whether the rest of your house has power. Unless you’re totally off the grid, Australian standards require inverters to power down in a blackout.

3. No sun in the sky?

If the weather has been particularly grim, and you stare up into the sky and can’t even see where the sun is, your solar inverter problems could be solved instantly. It’s a feature called ‘minimum voltage window’ – and if the DC voltage has fallen so low on a cloudy day that you’ve fallen out of that window, that could be the issue. So if the sun is hiding and you’ve got no power, don’t worry too much.

4. Is it the circuit breakers?

It’s time to head to the switchboard, where you’ll find your solar system’s circuit breakers. Are they all still in the ‘on’ position? If so, head back to your inverter and check the switches there, too – especially the AC and DC isolators. If anything has tripped, flick them back on. Make sure you turn the AC off before turn the DC switches off. If they are in poor condition and switched off under load they can catch on fire.

If that fixes the problem, awesome! If not, your solar inverter troubleshooting continues…

5. Have you tried a power cycle?

Your solar system may seem amazing – because it is! But you should also think of it a bit like a computer, which can sometimes simply freeze for no great reason. So before panicking too much, follow the procedure for a system shutdown – and see if a “reboot” does the trick.

6. Power back on – but still got problems?

If the power’s back on but the only improvement to your situation is the presence of an error code or fault light, start Googling or whip out the manual to see what it means.

7. Is it the battery?

If your solar setup includes a battery, you could find your solar inverter not working because of a battery fault. The fix for that could simply be to cycle the battery, so get Googling or get that manual out to see how to do that with your battery type.

8. Still got problems?

Unfortunately, in some cases – even when your inverter has power and is not displaying an error code – your stubborn system may still be producing unacceptable levels of power, or no power at all. It might be the wiring, it could be the panels, it could be the installation, it could be the grim weather, it could be an overgrown tree – but you will need to give Solar Repair Service a bell. If you’re wondering ‘How long do solar inverters last?’, the answer is about 10-15 years, so yours may simply have said its final goodnight.

Is it time to give Solar Repair Service a shout?

Don’t forget, your solar system setup is complex, expensive, and high voltage – so you should only attempt solar inverter troubleshooting if you’re particularly confident. If you need professional and affordable solar inverter repairs, we are here to help!

Solar Repair Service repairs all leading solar inverter brands like Aurora, Clenergy, CMS, Fronius and a lot more across Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and beyond  – so don’t hesitate to give us a shout.

Solar Power Warranty

Solar Power Warranty

With the solar boom over the past 10 years, there has been lots of solar panels and inverters flooding the market. Many brands offer fantastic warranties and promote “high-quality products” however lots of people have been supposed to find, the warranty’s in some cases aren’t all as great as they sound. Here’s some more information about the solar power warranty situation.

Solar panel warranty.

Most people aren’t aware that solar panels have two warranties. Everyone hears the 25-year warranty, however, this is a performance warranty. Solar panels also have a product warranty and in some cases, this is only 10 years. We are seeing more and more panels not lasting their product warranty and no big surprise, when you go to make a claim the company is no longer in Australia, therefore this is no warranty.

Solar inverter warranty.

Much like the solar panel warranties, the inverter comes with a manufactures warranty ranging from 5-10 years. If your lucky and the company still exists you may be able to get a replacement inverter and have it installed by a local solar electrician and get reimbursed for the costs by the manufacturer. Not surprisingly lots and lots of inverter manufactures have closed down or left Australia, which leaves the consumer with the burden of the replacement costs.

Solar warranty advice.

When you’re selecting a solar system, it’s important to choose quality products. Make sure you look for a solar module with a 20 – 25 year product and performance warranty. There are also a few really good inverters such as Fronius or SMA, these have been in the solar industry for the long haul and offer great after-sales service. Don’t buy a solar system on price! It’s like any product, the cheap products don’t last. Don’t fall for sales pitch like “best low light panels”, “best performing panels” do your own research and choose a reputable solar system installation company.

Need help with your solar system?

If you need help. Get in touch with our solar technician team. We have been in the industry from day one and have lots of solar experience. Let us give you honest advice about your solar system.

Solar Panel Installation Error. This Can Void Your Panel Warranty!

Solar Panel Installation Error. This Can Void Your Panel Warranty!

Lots of solar installers are unaware that installing the solar panel racking incorrectly may inadvertently void the solar panel warranty.

The solar panel manufacturers specify clearance requirements and fixing distances for the solar panel array frame. If these distances are incorrect it may lead to the solar panel having too much overhang and could potentially cause micro-cracks inside the cells most manufacturers will void their warranty if the panels are installed this way.

Check out our short video explaining the installation error of the solar system

One of the other main factors is that the right frame is designed for specific wind loads if the wracking isn’t installed as per the manufacturers’ design it could lead to the system not meeting the wind requirements for the region.

This could potentially be dangerous in the event of a strong storm and may lead to the system becoming dislodged from the roof. A common installation error is installers trying to fit too many solar panels onto a roof without taking into consideration the actual fixings for the array frame. You can’t just go and place as many panels as you want without insuring the racking is designed and suited for the installation.

If you have issues or concerns with your solar system I would like it checked to give us a call our solo team are experts in all types of solar systems and repairs. Check out our Solar Electrician Service.

Burnt Solar Panel Cells. Beware Of Cheap Solar Panels

Burnt Solar Panel Cells. Beware Of Cheap Solar Panels

Beware of low-quality solar panels. We found burnt solar cells in these modules.

We came across an interesting solar panel fault while checking this clients solar panels.

This client had “isolation fault” come up on his solar inverter. He called us to do a comprehensive solar inspection, what we found amazed even us! These panel are 3 years old and almost all of the 20 panels have corrosion and a few have seriously badly burnt solar cells. This has burnt right through the backing on the solar panels and has made the system unsafe!

Unfortunately for this homeowner these panels are no longer available and will need to be replaced. The supposed 10-year panel warranty is no longer available as the manufacturer has closed down! This is an expensive lesson, as to why you should do your own research on the product and ensure the panels are high quality! Don’t go for the cheapest as you will most likely get burnt!

Be very wary of cheap TV specials, we see them failing every other day! Go for a good quality system and installer!

If you need a solar expert give us a call

Solar Inverter Installed Without The Correct Clearance Requirements. Your Warranty Is Void!

Solar Inverter Installed Without The Correct Clearance Requirements. Your Warranty Is Void!

Inverter installed without the correct clearance?

Where coming across this issue regularly now where the solar inverter is installed without the recommended manufacturers clearance requirements.

During the inverter operation, it changes the DC power from the panel to AC that is sent back to your switchboard. During this process, the inverter creates heat which is why most inverters have a heatsink on the back each manufacturer states a different clearance requirement for the inverter it’s important during the installation that the inverter clearances are maintained this is to allow the inverter to cool from the ambient air allowing it to operate to its full potential.

If your inverter is installed without the required requirements for clearance it will automatically void the manufacturer’s warranty, it can also lead to the inverter overheating or dropping system performance. We recommend when possible to install the inverter inside the garage this enables the inverter to be out of the sun and weather and also have the required manufacturers clearances to ensure the warranty is kept intact.

Often if the inverter is installed without the required clearance it won’t last as long as it should most inverters come with a five-year manufacturers warranty and in some cases, it can be extended to 10 years however this warranty is pointless if it becomes void due today inadequate clearance from the installation.

If you need any further help get in touch with our team and we can give you advice on your inverter installation.

Need solar inverter advice, give us a call?

If you’re unsure what clearance your inverter requires you can check inside your inverter manual or do a quick search online with your inverter model number and it should show a diagram showing the clearance requirements above below and to the sides.

Solar inverter showing “GROUND FAULT” or “RIS LOW” Here’s one of the main causes!

Solar inverter showing “GROUND FAULT” or “RIS LOW” Here’s one of the main causes!

Ground fault error code on your solar inverter?

People often call and ask for a quote on a new solar inverter, unfortunately, it’s not always the inverter that failed. Check out this example!

It’s easy to assume your solar inverter has stopped working when the fault light pop’s up. After testing hundreds of solar systems we can tell you it’s not always just the inverter! In this video, we show you a solar system with a “ground fault” error and it’s actually caused by the solar panels (failing).

The solar modules on this property are low quality, the owner was told they are a German product. After doing some investigations, we have been able to determine the panels are designed in Germany and made in China. Not all Chinese solar panels are bad! However if your misleading people it’s a biota red flag!

What’s the issue with the solar panels?

These panels have moisture ingress (under the glass) this means the cells inside the glass are rusting and corroding causing the DC power from the panels to short to the frame of the module (earth) this is bringing up an error code “ground fault” and shutting the inverter down. Unfortunately, like many solar companies, this manufacturer has left Australia and a warranty isn’t possible.

Is this fault dangerous?

The short answer is yes, the corrosion can get so bad that the panel cell can burn out. It’s recommended your system be shut down if you have this fault.

Need solar inverter advice, give us a call?

Give our team a call if you need advice or help with your solar inverter or system. We are family-owned and operated and will give you honest expert advice from a CEC qualified solar electrician. Find out more here.

Dodgy Solar Installers With Zero Care Factor! You Will Be Shocked.

Dodgy Solar Installers With Zero Care Factor! You Will Be Shocked.

Every week we are seeing more and more poorly installed solar systems!

It’s scary to think that solar panel installers are wiring the solar DC cabling directly across the hot tin on the roof of homes.

We are often asked why does this happen? How can companies be doing such dodgy work? The short answer is a lot of solar companies are marketing or sales companies and often they don’t even have their own installers!

So how does this work? Well, the solar sales company will sell the system to a client and subcontract the installation works to an electrician with a solar license. This sounds fair enough, however, there’s a catch! Most solar companies aren’t paying the installers enough to do the works to the industry standard. Often installers get a flat rate fee for all homes no matter the difficulty and guess what! If your install is difficult well it’s likely some corners might be cut to get the job done faster.

How to avoid a dodgy solar company!

You feel pressured, have been given a one time only offer, the salesperson has never installed a solar system and if your house was door knocked!

Need solar advice, give us a call?

Give our team a call if you need advice or help. We are family-owned and operated and will give you honest expert advice from a CEC qualified solar electrician. Find out more here.

Poorly Installed Rooftop DC isolator. Unsafe!

Poorly Installed Rooftop DC isolator. Unsafe!

It’s amazing how many installers can’t get the installation of the DC rooftop isolators correct!

From our solar inspections, we are seeing approximately half of all rooftop DC isolators installed incorrectly or unsafely. Many installers are unaware of the installation requirements from the DC switch manufactures and are unknowingly installing the DC switch incorrectly.

Just over the last month, we have seen more than 4 DC isolators fires from incorrectly install solar rooftop isolators. These fires were only minor, but never the less could have been very serious. Often people are completely unaware these been any issue with there system and have called us because their solar inverter is showing a fault.

Why are solar DC isolators unsafe on roofs

DC solar isolators are plastic switch. On a new solar system its a requirement that the solar isolators be installed on the system. We personally feel these are a terrible idea as the switch can deteriorate in the weather and lead to potential moisture ingress. Most homeowners are unaware they should be having theses checked every 12 months at a minimum or after a significant storm.

What happens when water enter the DC isolators?

The solar DC power can’t be shut down, if there’s UV the panels will produce power! So in the event, the isolators have water ingress the switch will likely melt with the potential to catch on fire!

Need help with your solar DC isolators?

Give our team a call if you need advice or help. We can do a detailed check on your system and make sure it’s working safely. Check out more details about our repair service here.
Solar Repairs

Solar Panel Isolation Fault, Here’s a Common Cause!

Solar Panel Isolation Fault, Here’s a Common Cause!

Solar inverter showing “isolation fault”? Here’s a common cause of inverter isolation fault alarm!

We are seeing more and more often, solar power inverters showing the error code isolation fault. This customer’s solar panels are in poor condition due to moisture ingress into the panels.

Signs your solar system has an “isolation fault”.

If you’re noticing your solar inverter is showing the error code “low PV isolation, ground fault or isolation fault” in the morning or just after rain. Its likely your solar panels are starting to fail. The moisture from the dew in the morning or rain causes the DC of the solar panels to leak to the earth on the array frame. The inverter then senses the fault and shuts the system down for safety. Once the moisture has burnt away (evaporated) from the sun the system will then start to work again.

What can be done to stop the issue?

Unfortunately “isolation fault” is generally non-repairable and will require the panels to be replaced. If your lucky the manufacture may still be in business and you may be able to source a warranty.

Need help with your solar system?

Give our team a call if you need advice or help. We can do a detailed check on your system and make sure its working safely. Check out more details about our repair service here.
Solar Inverter repairs.