Seven Reasons why You Should Regularly Test Your Solar PV Installations
Solar power is gaining popularity as people focus on renewable energy. There are various components that come with these systems. Solar PV (photovoltaic) systems require installation and once this is done, constant maintenance will be required for various reasons.
- Proper grounding
Every electrical item must be grounded so as to reduce the risk of electrical shock. Improper grounding will also lead to fire hazards if the situation is not handled in good time. Shock may not be a common occurrence but since the installations are on rooftops, chances of getting hurt are very high if they do occur. Regular testing will ensure that grounding remains as it should be thus keeping these risks at bay.
- Avoiding the risk of fires
Electrical faults occur regularly since cables and wiring are bound to wear out with time for various reasons. Rooftop solar installations have increased in volume over time and so have the number of fires that are related to solar installations. Such have been reported in various countries including Australia, UK, France, USA and various other countries. Frequent testing will ensure that these risks are kept at bay and the solar unit will therefore be used in the safest possible manner.
- Rectifying degradation from the environment
Corrosion and wearing out is inevitable because the whole solar unit is exposed to the elements on a regular basis. Weathering can occur from contact with rain or even rusting. Birds may drop faecal matter on the solar panel and dust and debris may cover it as well. This reduces their efficiency. Rodents may also chew on cables thus exposing the copper wires to the outside. Wires may get loose and hang off buildings or get covered by vegetation. This raises the risk of fires, electrical shock and various other accidents. It will require constant checking and testing to fix such faults in good time.
- Ground faults
Metres and metres of cabling exist in a typical solar PV installation. This is especially true for large scale plants that require a lot of energy. These cables all go underground and are exposed to a few of the elements, even though in minimal amounts. Time can cause these cables to get corroded and damaged in different ways. If the cables are poorly insulated the power they produce can leak into the surrounding earth. This is a recipe for disaster in areas that are damp or wet underground because it creates the perfect environment for electrical faults. It also reduces the operational efficiency of the whole system.
- Customer documentation
Before an installation is done some paperwork has to be filled by the client. Some of the details captured in these documents include the installer’s details, system data, all electrical diagrams pertaining to the system, maintenance and operation instructions and any other information that is mandated by the various regulatory bodies. Some statutory documents are provided after some tests and inspections are done on the PV units.
- Fulfilling warranty requirements
Most electrical systems come with a warranty and some companies require regular testing to be conducted on these gadgets or systems for the warranty to hold for the full length of time pointed out.
Regular testing will fulfil these requirements. This will allow you to claim your warranty whenever you need it without any complications.
- Verifying that your system is fully functional
The idea behind installing solar PV units is reduced energy consumption. This is what guarantees a return on investment in comparison to the initial costs involved. For this to be ascertained regular testing has to be conducted so as to find out whether the system is functioning as it should even after a number of years.
Meters may give values and readings that would presumably be right but carrying out detailed tests will enable you to get perfect readings. Any faults will also be noticed and rectified in good time.
Wires and electrical items are very sensitive. The slightest mistake can cause very dangerous repercussions. Fires, electrical shock and energy leakage are all serious incidences that should be avoided at all costs. Take the time to get your system tested regularly to ensure that it is always functioning properly and at its maximum efficiency.