August 24, 2022

Looking after your solar panels

Solar panels are designed to be low maintenance, but if you've got a problem we're here to help - whether we fitted your panels or not.

Unlike a boiler, your solar panels should work efficiently without a yearly service. You shouldn’t need to pay extra costs for maintenance packages to keep them running well. In fact, you don’t usually even need to clean your solar panels – we get enough rain in the UK to do that for you. But if you’ve got any questions about keeping your solar panels in good condition (whether you’re an Elite customer or not) our Solar team can help.

We’ve been fitting solar panels since their inception, so we’ve got plenty of tricks and technical tips up our sleeves. We’ve shared lots of them below, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for, get in touch.

First, here are a few ways to check if your solar panel efficiency is up to scratch.

Three questions that everyone asks...

If we’ve installed your solar panels recently, you’ll see how much energy you’re generating on the software we set up for you. But other, older systems don’t give you that instant feedback, which means you’ll have to keep an eye on your generation meter instead – it should be by your fuse board.

Exactly how much electricity your solar panels generate depends on how many panels you have, the direction they’re facing and whether they’re shaded by trees or buildings.

If you can find your MCS certificate, you’ll see an estimated annual generation figure. If your yearly generation figure falls a long way below that, you might have a problem somewhere in your system.

Elite tip: Check your generation meter readings every quarter, and especially in the spring. If there’s a problem, you’ll want to know about it before the sunny summer months, as that’s when you’ll generate most energy!

You shouldn’t need to. They’re designed to be self-cleaning. And anyone who tells you otherwise is selling you something you might not need.

If your solar panels really need cleaning, you’ll probably be able to see what’s causing the problem – like lots of bird droppings or fallen leaves – which could make the panels less efficient. If so, there are specialists available who can deal with this – we just so happen to be one of them, so get in touch if you have a problem.

Elite tip: Don’t pay for yearly services or quarterly cleaning you don’t need. All solar panel models – even the earliest ones – were designed to be self-cleaning.

Yes, but only if your system has a battery. Batteries store up the energy you generate during the day, meaning you can keep using it at night (and keep more of that energy for yourself rather than sending it back to the grid!).

People often ask us how to look after their batteries. Like the rest of our solar systems, your batteries more or less look after themselves. Of course, if we fit them they also come with the latest warranties and guarantees if anything does go wrong.  Our solar panels (and the people installing them) are certified by MCS, which means they always work to the industry standard and give you the best possible service.

Get in touch about fitting a battery

Elite tip: If you don’t have a battery yet, save money by setting a timer to use your washing machine and dishwasher during the day. Then they can use the free electricity your solar panels are generating!

I think something’s gone wrong. What do I do?

Most solar panels are designed to last 20 to 25 years. So, if there’s a problem, it’s likely to be with your power supply or your inverter. Your solar inverter is the piece of kit that transforms the raw solar energy captured by your solar panels into electricity you can use in your home, or return to the grid. The inverter can often be the part of your solar system that breaks first and is the piece of the system we repair the most.

Is your electricity connected?

Your solar system won’t work without power. If the electricity supply to your home has been cut off or if your prepayment meter is out of credit, your system will shut down and stop generating power.

Has your switch tripped?

Your system will have its own trip switch on the fuse board. It’s there to automatically cut or trip your electricity if it finds a fault, and it should be labelled so you can spot it easily. If it’s not in the “on” position, it’s tripped.

Are your isolators in the ‘on’ position?

Isolators are on/off switches that let you disconnect parts of your system in those rare moments when they need maintenance work. Make sure your isolators are all in the “on” position.

Is there a problem with my inverter?

If it’s not a power problem, you might need a new inverter. If your solar panels aren’t working as they should and you think that you need to replace your inverter all you'll need to do is fill in a few details and we can give you a quote.

Have a question for our solar team? Need a quote? Give us a call on 01325 466 016 or request a quote.