If you've recently installed a solar system at home, you'll be looking forward to savings as you do your bit for climate change. Yet what happens if your utility bill is not as low as you might expect and you do not appear to be making as many savings as you would like? Is the system working as efficiently as it should be or is something wrong? How do you begin to troubleshoot such a problem?
Tripping the Breaker
As crazy as it sounds, the first thing you should check is the breaker box. In fact, you should check this often to see that the system is working properly and is not isolated due to a glitch or potential surge. If the breaker that controls your solar system is off, it won't be able to send any power into the grid.
Clearing the Area
If mature trees surround your property, check to ensure that your solar array is unimpeded. When trees grow significantly in the summer, overhanging branches may come in between the panels and their energy source. Also, pollen or other debris can slowly accumulate in season, and you may need to clean the panels periodically to ensure they can work as intended.
Assessing the Solar Inverter
Once you get the housekeeping out of the way, check the performance of your solar inverter. This is the device that converts DC electricity into alternating current so that it can power your home appliances. If you're not used to this device, check the documentation or call your electrician for their advice. Typically, a panel or warning light system will tell you if the inverter is online or whether you need to investigate the problem.
Checking Your Solar Meter
You should have a separate solar meter that will log the amount of electricity that your panels generate. This can be a good source of information for you to check on a monthly basis, but occasionally, the solar meter may stop working. This can be caused by a number of external reasons, including disconnection from your home's Internet network. You may need to reset it or should certainly call in an expert if it does not appear to be working at all.
Installing a Monitoring System
Finally, you may be able to install a monitoring system that will send you an alert if any issue materialises. You can then set up baseline performance levels so that the system checks against historical data or even what your neighbour's system is generating so you know whether you're on track.
Bringing in the Experts
If you discover an issue with your solar system or are simply unsure of what to do next, don't be afraid to call your electrician.
Reach out to a solar industry system maintenance company for assistance.