Unlike most people, you care about the condition of your solar panels. Why wouldn’t you? The efficiency of your panels directly affects the amount of clean energy you generate.
How can you tell if your panels need to be serviced or replaced? Invariably, you’ll see references to solar panel inspection when you’re looking at solar panels for your home. You see references to inspection in solar panel purchase packages. You see references to inspection in solar panel financing documents.
Surely, you’ve at least wondered what these solar panel inspection things are all about. Why are they included in any way? What should you know before you hire one?
To learn more, keep reading to discover the key things you need to know about solar panel inspections.
1. Purpose of Inspection
The purpose of an inspection is to assess the condition of the panels, identify any problems that may be present, and ensure that the solar panels have adequate protection from the elements. They will verify that the system is connected to the electric grid and ensure proper installation.
It should also be noted that a licensed professional with experience in home solar inspection should conduct the inspection. The inspector should also have knowledge of applicable laws and regulations for working with solar panels, such as the National Fire Protection Association’s standards.
2. Professional Inspection
A solar panel installer may also advise on the best type of panel system for your home or business. They may also provide an estimate of the cost of repairs or replacements. During the inspection, a technician may check panels, grounding, and any other elements relevant to the system.
It is essential to choose a qualified inspector who is experienced in performing these types of inspections, as this will ensure the accuracy of the findings. The best local solar company should provide a report detailing the inspection results, including any repairs or replacements that may be needed.
3. Safety First
When hiring a professional solar panel installer, ensure they are qualified and certified with the proper tools, personal protective equipment, and safety practices. Also, make sure to ask for references and check their credentials. During the installation of the solar panels, it’s important to stay away from working areas and respect all safety protocols.
Solar panel inspectors should also inspect to ensure the system complies with local codes. The inspector should also examine the conduit, connections, panel alignment, wiring, panel voltage, and more. Furthermore, ensure you or the inspector double-check for potential fire hazards, animals or debris getting onto the mounts, and other risks when performing the inspections.
4. Visual Inspection
This may include checking the amount of rusting or pitting on the racking system, solar grid connection, any exposed wiring, and the condition of the solar panel frames. It is also important to check for any missing or damaged hardware to ensure the mounting structure is secure and the solar panel is properly grounded.
Any power output and current readings taken from the system should be visually inspected for any irregularities or problems. It is essential to verify the system is properly operating and that all safety features are in place.
5. Infrared Imaging
An infrared scan uses an infrared thermometer to detect any temperature variations caused by failing components or electrical hot spots that could lead to a fire. This imaging also helps to detect any panel shading that affects the system’s capacity before installation or over time from environmental factors.
An infrared scan will also detect roof penetrations easily missed during a traditional visual inspection. It is important to have a fully qualified infrared thermographer inspect your solar system, as this knowledge gives you peace of mind and helps to identify issues before they become major concerns.
6. Electrical Testing
It is essential to undertake a comprehensive visual inspection of the panel, which can identify any cosmetic or structural damage or obstruction. The individual performing the inspection should also assess whether any electrical connections are fully secure and whether the panels are free from dust or moisture.
Tests should be conducted to check the connection strength of the array, the overall power output, and the potential for any combustible gases to be generated. An electrical current capacity test should ensure the solar panels meet all safety standards.
7. Cleaning and Maintenance
Cleaning and maintenance are two fundamental components of any solar inspection. Solar panel cleaning helps to remove dirt, dust, and grime that can cause a decrease in light absorption; this can lead to decreased efficiency. Regular maintenance will identify any issues with your panels.
You should always inspect the panels for evidence of wear or damage and for accurate connections. Be sure to check the power cables, connections, and waterproof seals to ensure everything is functioning as expected.
8. Inverter Inspection
The inverter converts the energy captured by the solar panel from direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC). This allows electricity to be used in the home. During the inspection, the technician will check for any visual signs of damage or corrosion and test the inverter’s functionality and current draw.
Furthermore, the technician will compare the system’s wattage output with the wattage output from the inverter to ensure that the panels produce the necessary amount of electricity. This will also be able to spot any potential electrical issues causing an inefficient system.
9. Warranty Considerations
Most solar panels have two types of warranties: a product warranty, which covers the hardware, and a performance warranty, which covers the system’s performance. The manufacturer usually gives the product warranty, which lasts 10-20 years.
On the other hand, the performance warranty is usually provided by the installer or a third party and usually covers up to 25 years. It is important to factor any warranty considerations into your decision before purchasing a solar panel system. To ensure that your system is performing as expected, it is advisable to get a solar panel inspection.
A Clear View Forward: The Future of a Solar Panel Inspection
A solar panel inspection is an important step in ensuring the efficiency of your solar panel system and is recommended for each home at least once a year. They can help maintain performance and ensure your system runs as efficiently as possible. Taking a proactive approach to maintenance and inspection will save you money in the long run.
Get the most out of your solar panel system and schedule your inspection today!
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