Did you know there are well over 3 million residential roof-top solar power systems all switched on around the country, producing free and ‘green’ energy for hard-working Australians? With a medium-sized household typically having 14 or so panels per system, that’s an awful lot of solar panels doing their thing – and an awful lot of potential solar panel problems to troubleshoot, too!
Sadly, it’s all too common that homeowners don’t really know if the system above their heads is actually working properly – with surveys suggesting up to a third of all solar power systems are not quite on song.
Do you suspect your solar panels aren’t working as they should? Have you recently done a check for the most common solar panel problems?:
- Is your power bill bigger than usual?
- Are your panels visibly dirty or in the shade?
- Any error codes on your inverter?
- Any odd data in your system’s analytical tools?
- Is your average daily kilowatt-hours metric down?
We’d love to tell you that solar panel faults are rare – but if you get 25 years out of your solar panels’ lifespan, you’ve probably maintained them very well indeed (here’s more information on solar panel maintenance). And even before that 25 years are up, your system is likely to be progressively losing efficiency in the years prior to that. It’s a good idea, therefore, to get your head around some of the most common problems with solar panels and reach out for any solar repairs promptly to avoid issues compounding and lost efficiency.
Your panels deal with a lot of harsh Aussie conditions up there – including heat but also heavy rain. After enough time, moisture will begin to creep into your panel, triggering a process of corrosion. So as they are designed to be laminated under vacuum pressure, are you sure your panels are still keeping all of that water, debris and even air out?
An example of this is the Trina solar panels with the part number PC05A. These panels are around 8-10 years old. We are now seeing a common fault where the panels get corrosion inside the bus bars and cause the system to shut down due to isolation fault. Unfortunately the panels can’t be repaired and will need to be replaced.
It’s a high-tech electrical device – and we all know they can go wrong. Faulty wiring is the big culprit, as are loose connections. And if moisture has got in, corrosion and oxidation are likely to have occurred – and that’s bad news for the efficient production of electricity.
Even if you can’t see those cracks, it doesn’t mean they aren’t happening at the microscopic level. Over time, those micro-cracks become actual cracks, and under external pressure and rising degrees of bending and flexing, the solar cells will lose efficiency and ultimately stop conducting electricity altogether.
4. Hot spots
Basically, it’s another name for overheating, with the phenomenon typically occurring in certain ‘spots’ of the panels when only that part is overloading. It’s caused mainly by dirt build-up, poorly soldered connections, with the result being loss of performance and shorter panel life.
5. PID effect
It stands for Potential Induced Degradation – and it’s a more common solar panel problem than you probably know. It happens when the voltage of the earthing and the panel itself no longer match – with the result being lost efficiency and potential failure.
6. Inverter issues
Yes, we’re talking about the panels – but one of the most common problems with solar panels is actually not the solar panels at all! The solar inverter is the crucial component of your solar system that converts your panels’ DC current into useable AC current, which is why a list of solar inverter problems is often mistaken for the actual solar panel not working.
Static Electrics can solve your solar panel problems
Don’t get us wrong – that may seem like a long list of common solar panel problems, but Australian solar power systems are actually extremely durable and reliable. When they do need some professional attention, though, you should only ever put it in the hands of Brisbane and Sunshine Coast’s most trusted name for all of your electrical, air conditioning and solar power needs.
Our fully accredited, licensed and experienced solar power electricians will rush to your location to repair, service and maintain your PV system – no matter what’s gone wrong. Give the friendly team at Static Electrics a buzz today.