Solar PV systems need little maintenance. Keep an eye on nearby trees to ensure they don’t begin to overshadow your system.
In the UK, panels that are tilted at 15 degrees or more benefit from being cleaned by rainfall, which helps to ensure optimal performance. Debris is more likely to build up if you have ground-mounted panels, or if you live in an area with more dust in the air. In these cases, you might need to have the panels cleaned occasionally.
Once fitted, your installer should leave written details of any maintenance checks that you should carry out to ensure everything is working properly. This should include details of the main inverter fault signals and key troubleshooting guidance. Ideally, your installer should demonstrate this to you once the system has been installed.
Keeping a close eye on your system and the amount of electricity it’s generating (alongside the weather conditions) will help you understand what to expect and alert you to when something might be wrong.
The panels should last 25 years or more, but the inverter is likely to need replacing sometime during this period, at a cost of about £600-1,000 (depending on system size and the manufacturer). Good inverters have online monitoring functions and can warn you by email if the system fails.
Most inverters have warranties of five years as a minimum, which can often be extended up to 15 years. Speak to your installer about the likely lifespan and benefit of an extended warranty. You might find that a 15-year warranty costs almost as much as a replacement inverter, so consider it carefully.
Consult with your installer for exact maintenance requirements before you commit to installing a solar PV system.