Basic maintenance of the Solar PV system

 In Blogs, Knowledge

Introduction

Performance of solar rooftop PV system with regular & basic maintenance improves. For best system performance, regular maintenance is necessary. This leads to increased system life and decrease in disruptions due to component failures. 

Also a data log for fault diagnosis during system maintenance should be maintained. 

“Solar power systems operate safely with regular maintenance”

Basic maintenance in a solar system that an owner has to care for :

Solar Panels:

One of the most important job is to clean the solar panels regularly. During the cleaning, panels need to be washed with the help of a hose pipe to remove the dust and dirt on the surface of the panel. This enhances power generation. 

Incase of dense or stubborn layers of dirt, modules need cleaning with a sponge or soft cloth or glass wiper after spraying some water. Glass layer needs to be wiped gently to avoid cracks due to small stone particles in the dust.  Even the bird droppings need a similar treatment. It helps decrease the effort to clean and at the same time removes the bird droppings completely. 

More importantly, the ideal time to clean panels is before 8 AM or after 5 PM. It avoids the microcracks on the module glass surface.

It is also suggested to remove the dry leaves if any to avoid long term problems like water clogging, short circuit due to moisture and fungus etc.PS: Since, modules are placed on the rooftop, it is very important to have safe walkways for the cleaning of the modules. Incase of a complicated rooftop, it is highly recommended to use a safety harness before considering cleaning the modules.

Modules with and without dust

Inverter:

Inverters convert DC into AC power. They generally require very little maintenance. 

  • Keep the inverter clean by wiping it with a dry cloth to avoid dust blowing inside. Necessary care needs to be taken while cleaning. 
  • Check the inverter LED color for the status of the system. If it displays GREEN, the system is working fine, if it displays BLUE, then there is a  problem with INTERNET connection which needs to sorted with help of internet provider, if it displays RED, there’s an ERROR in the system – do contact installer/customer care immediately. 
Inverter

Balance of the system:

Balance of the system includes the protection devices like Fuses, Surge Protection Devices (SPD), Circuit breakers, Monitoring interface and miscellaneous items.

All these needs to be checked once a while as they are first ones that are prone to failure due to grid instability, lightning etc. 

 

  • Check all the circuit breakers and switches if they are in working condition
  • Find if the Surge Protection Device (SPD) is working fine. If the SPD display color is dark, then it needs to be addressed immediately. Contact the installer immediately.
  • Check the earthing (grounding) cable to see if there are any disconnections in between. 
  • Lightning arrester connections and clamps should be checked if they in place without any disruptions
  • Monitoring. SolarEdge power optimizer systems come with module level monitoring. It helps in monitoring the system remotely. Regular look at it will help understanding drop in generation giving an alarm that modules need cleaning. In case of any other issues like failure of optimizer or panel will be known immediately decreasing the maintenance time and money and increasing productivity of system. Following image is the screen shot of one of the sites where there is shadow on two panels. This shows how shadow can effect the generation of each panel.
generation
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