A report carried out by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) National Solar Centre found that the most common causes of rooftop PV fires are:
- system design errors
- faulty products being installed
- poor installation practices
You can see the full report here.
Most insurers now insist that rooftop PV systems are tested and inspected annually to reduce the risks associated with poor installation practices. If you don’t have your PV system maintained annually, as well as the potential loss of revenue – you may face a much larger uninsured loss.
It is important to check with your insurer to see what your responsibilities are if you have solar PV installed on your property.
Discover the answers to everyday questions about solar PV maintenance below.
What (Gets inspected & tested during the service?)
MCS Certified and the Solar Trade Association both launched new maintenance guidelines in 2020 that covers exactly what items are to be tested during an annual maintenance visit. The main PV system components that are tested and inspected include:
- Visual inspection of panels
- Visual inspection of mounting frame
- Testing of inverters – including fault notifications
- Testing of electrical cabling (DC & AC)
- Isolators and other ancillary equipment
Whoever carries out your solar PV maintenance will provide you with a full checklist of works that are to be carried out.
If you combine your maintenance check with a cleaning program, you will also be able to have a percentage of the PV module clamps tested to ensure that your panels are still secure.
Why (Do PV systems need to be tested and inspected?)
The main reasons to have your PV system maintained annually are to:
- Maintain optimum system performance
- Reduce CO2 emissions
- Prevent small problems becoming large expensive problems
- Comply with insurer’s requirements
- Generate maximum revenue
You may also have your own reasons for maintaining your PV system.
When (Is the best time to have my PV system inspected?)
The main electricity generating months are April to September so ideally you will look to have your system inspected in the spring time to ensure maximum performance from your PV system. Sometimes though, unless you’re in a 3 or 5 year contract, you may need to have your annual maintenance scheduled outside of this peak period.