Solar panels are an extremely cost-effective and energy-efficient alternative used to power homes. These panels come with a ton of benefits that we all take advantage of. One of these benefits is that solar panels are highly durable and can withstand even the toughest weather conditions with great ease.
It, however, does not mean that you will never need to repair your solar panels. Like any appliance, even your solar panels need frequent repairs and regular maintenance. Repair services can help solve many issues that can increase your panel setup’s life span.
Solar panel problems could arise from many causes and are generally caused by external factors (storm, hail, snow, pressure from the atmosphere). However, apart from severe weather conditions, additional factors like animal bites, broken branches falling on the panels, etc., can also wreak havoc on your solar panels.
If you plan to install solar panels in your home, you need to learn about their repairs and maintenance requirements. Continue reading to find out more about solar panel repairs and maintenance!
- 1 Solar Panel Repair Common Problems
- 2 How to identify defects in panels
- 3 Different types of maintenance solar panels need
- 4 What is the cost of maintenance?
- 5 How to repair solar panels on your own
- 6 To conclude with
Solar Panel Repair Common Problems
Solar panels can be an expensive investment initially. While they are extremely cost-effective down the line, the initial cost of setting them up can sometimes rattle people. Most solar panels face the same issues that can be fixed easily without you having to spend too much money.
If you can catch these issues right from the get-go, repair services can help you instantly make your panels function like before. Here are a few commonly occurring solar panel problems.
Hot spots on the panel
Hot spots on solar panels are regions on the surface that get extremely hot in the sun. These patches could be a result of bad soldering, loose wiring, or unexpected power shortages. If you ignore these hotspots for too long, the efficiency of your solar panels could degrade significantly over time.
Snail-trails delamination discolouration
Snail trails are nothing but lines of discolouration on the surface of the panels after years of use. One of the main causes of this defect is using unsuitable metallisation silver paste. This paste can result in an oxidation reaction with the EVA film’s PV cell, which could cause this discolouration.
Micro-cracks and hot spots are some of the most common defects in solar panels. Micro-cracks can occur in solar panels for many reasons, including production defects, installation defects, and even prolonged use. While hotspots/microscopic fractures do not necessarily mean immediate power loss, but they could be a problem in the future if you don’t get them fixed!
The PID effect stands for Potential Induced Degradation. This can occur when there is a difference in the panel’s potential and its earthing, which is generally done as a safety measure. PID effect can cause reduced energy output and can also result in panel ageing.
Internal corrosion, delamination
Solar panel maintenance is generally done to help with delamination and corrosion. You should know about these problems and how repair services can help you fix them instantly. This corrosion occurs due to broken glass, panels dirt accumulation, and water entering the surface of the solar panels.
Areas that are corroded will exhibit a sharp decline in energy production and thus degrade the efficiency of your solar panel system.
How to identify defects in panels
There are many clear signs of when your solar panels need repair and maintenance. Here are a few tips to help you identify these defects.
- You are experiencing a significant reduction in the output.
- The transportation of the panels resulted in damage caused to the cells
- Extreme weather conditions like snow, hail, storm, etc.
- Your panels recently experienced severe physical impact like falling debris.
These defects are common in solar panels. However, even if you do not experience the same symptoms with your solar panels as mentioned above, you should invest in frequent maintenance checks and repairs. This will help prevent any further degradation of your panels in the future.
Here are a few different types of maintenance checks all solar panels need from time to time.
Different types of maintenance solar panels need
Different types of repairs and maintenance checks ensure the proper functioning of your solar panels. Here’s what they are.
Solar panel issues are not that prominent initially, but they may intensify over time if you neglect them. However, panel problems can alleviate over time if not treated properly. Annual inspections help identify problems; if there are any, they can be rectified instantly.
Dust, water, and debris collected on solar panels can reduce its output efficiency over time. Annual cleaning helps remove all of it from the surface so that your solar panels work with the same capability.
Repairs & replacement of broken parts
In case of any severe external damage, hiring a professional solar service is your only solution. These repairs will be done despite your annual checks and maintenance. The cost of such repairs is generally higher than periodic maintenance checks.
What is the cost of maintenance?
The cost of maintenance varies from service to service. Here are a few factors that affect the cost of hiring a professional solar installer.
- Your location: If you live too far away from solar panel repair centres, you will have to pay a lot more in transportation costs and services.
- Type of damage: Depending on the type of damage, the repair costs vary from one service to another.
- Area covered by the panels: If your solar panels cover a large area, you will have to pay more for repairs and maintenance.
Cost of repairs
The total cost of repairs can vary from a mere £20 to over £3000. You need to know the commonly occurring issues to estimate the cost of services. Here are a few examples to help you get started.
- Fire, animal bites, broken glass: Common solar panel problems like these can cost you anywhere around £20 to fix, along with labour charges. Duct tape and brush painting cannot help with beyond repair micro-cracks or extreme solar panel glass breakage.
- Corrosion: Corroded films, PV cell staining, etc., reduces the efficiency of your panels significantly. You can fix corroded terminals with a brush for less than £10. However, engineers perform extensive automated tests if the damage is extensive, costing you over £150.
- Panel replacement: The cost of replacing a panel or PV inverter is anywhere between £2000 to £3000 for new PV components depending on labour charges.
- Loose wiring: Loose wiring, random power generation, etc., come under solar panel repair common issues and can be fixed for around £100 by a professional.
- Hail, snow, pressure, lightning damage: Hail damage could cost you anything depending on the extent of damage and whether you need to replace your panels or not. Snow could freeze solar panel frames, which could result in damage.
- Battery replacement: The battery replacement cost is anywhere between £500 to £3000 depending on the type of battery used. You need to replace your panel batteries after prolonged use. Battery life could range between 5 to 15 years.
- Panel replacement: The lifespan of solar panels is between 20-25 years, and solar panel frames degrade over time if not replaced. The cost of replacement depends on the model and quantity of your requirement.
People generally opt for hiring professionals whose services can help solve solar panel problems. However, solar panel repair companies often suggest replacing panels instead of making investments in repairs.
How to repair solar panels on your own
If you do not want to spend money on repairing solar panels and paying professionals for maintenance. Then, you can take measures to prevent causing any damage to your solar panels. For instance, you can install an automatic water hose on your roof to prevent any fires from breaking out. If your solar panels catch fire, the water from the hose will set it out.
Additionally, you can regularly trim the trees around your house to prevent any branches from falling on your solar panel setup. This might cost you an added £100 to £150, but doing this can help prevent long-term damage caused to your solar panels.
You can watch out for any animals that might take shelter around your roof and do regular pest control checks. Animals harbouring near solar panels can bite off your wiring, which could result in expensive repairs.
To conclude with
Among most cost-effective devices, solar panel components might seem like an extreme investment to most. However, with regular checks and maintenance, you can increase the lifespan of your solar panels significantly.
While you can take over the repairs on your own, it is advised you seek professional help in case of loose wiring and broken glass panels. It is a safety concern as solar panel repairing may not be your area of expertise and should be left to professionals!