You get your car inspected every year and oil changed frequently. You go to the dentist regularly. You winterize your home and garden every season. Why would you let your solar array go unmaintained? Like any complex piece of technology or substantial investment, it’s important to take proper and routine care of a solar installation to ensure maximum safety and performance. Solar service providers call this preventative maintenance.
What is preventative maintenance?
Preventative maintenance is just what it sounds like; a maintenance plan and sequence designed to ensure all system components are functioning as they should be, and to prevent any technical issues from deteriorating the system. Solar arrays should undergo a preventative maintenance inspection at least once a year, or more often depending on system size.
In a standard preventative maintenance inspection, the technician examining the system will perform a comprehensive test of all physical and electrical components of the array. This includes a focus on the physical panel and racking setup, a review of all electrical connections and strings, evaluation of the utility meter connections and reports, and inspection and maintenance of the inverter according to manufacturer specifications, among other more specific tests. If any of these inspections yield issues or suggest something might be wrong with the array, corrective maintenance measures will be applied.
Why undergo preventative maintenance?
The overarching goal of preventative maintenance is to ensure maximum yield, system uptime, and efficiency of a solar array. By maintaining the system on a regular basis, it stays in better working condition, and ensures potential malfunctions are effectively managed.
Properly functioning solar arrays contribute consistent financial value to their owners. If a technical issue arises, a portion of that value is lost. By investing in a preventative maintenance program, a solar array owner protects his or her investment, ensuring optimal system output and therefore financial benefit.
It’s easy to sit back and forget about maintaining your solar array. However, without routine maintenance, the probability increases for a larger issue to arise, which could substantially impact your overall production or the safety of the system. In order to optimize system performance, and thus ROI, it is important to participate in preventative maintenance for your array.