One in five rooftop solar systems are under-performing

underperforming solar panels

Australia now has over 2 million solar installations and the industry is booming thanks to incentives like small-scale technology certificates (STCs) and the Victorian State Government’s solar energy rebate. There is no sign this renewable energy boom will slow down anytime soon and Australia now has one of the highest roof-top solar energy uptakes, per capita, in the world.

However, A report acquired by SMH in 2018 showed that the Clean Energy Regulator spotted 20% of solar energy systems were not meeting Australian requirements and may prematurely fail. This is disappointing and the largest hurdle when it comes to a solar energy system underperforming is often that the homeowners do not notice. An error often isn’t spotted until there’s a spike in an electricity bill.

We understand; most of us don’t pay attention to our energy demands and if you have a solar energy system installed you just assume it’s sitting on your roof doing its job.

Common faults are:

– Inverter faults
– Fractures in solar panels
– Gradual degradation
– Shade
– Positioning
– Balance of system faults
(Solar Analytics has a really helpful list of potential faults)

Monitoring the performance of your solar energy system, with a smart monitor, is a crucial way to prevent your energy system from failing. By logging into your real-time dashboard, you can spot any errors in data or performance and your system can notify you with alerts or data and you can begin investigating the problem.

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How to protect your home and solar energy system:
1) Select a solar installer that is an ‘Approved Solar Retailer’ with the Clean Energy Council. That means they will have the following certificate of approval:

In order to become an Approved Solar Retailer, a business must follow and maintain a rigorous set of standards and guidelines. This will ensure you, as the customer, are protected and the installer will supply a strong warranty and high-quality system elements.

“The good news is, if you use a CEC approved retailer for your solar installation you can be almost completely sure they will do an excellent job.  If they don’t do a good job and the CEC agrees that they have breached the approved retailer code of conduct, they can and will lose their status as an approved retailer.” (source)

It’s also an important reminder that if you want to apply for the Victorian State solar rebate you will need to select an installer who is an Approved Solar Retailer with the CEC and as of this post, there are only around 300 retailers Approved with the CEC, despite over 5,000 installers being Accredited with the body.

Energy Makeovers is an Approved Solar Retailer with the CEC. 

2) Install a smart meter so you can monitor the performance of your inverter and system, in real time or receive alerts for any system errors. Then you can address errors straight away, as every day your system has a fault you are losing money.

3) Have your system inspected. If you’re concerned about your system and haven’t had it inspected in 5 years or more, it might be worth booking an inspection from a professional so they can check connections, cables, roofing etc.

Something to bear in mind:
Solar panel and solar inverter capacities are ‘a maximum’ and are rarely reached. Don’t panic, there are many factors that impact this performance that are harmless and to-be-expected, such as the angle of the sun, level of cloud cover, temperature, how clean your panels are and age of the system.

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