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Solar system maintenance


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Question for homeowners who installed and use their solar systems. 

We are planning to install a whole-house solar system Not quite entirely off-grid setup (will keep CFE meter and account as a fallback option). 

Wondering what is involved in maintaining the solar system?  How often? Can we be away for months at a time, with only the cleaning lady and the gardener visiting the property regularly? What are the most likely things, if anything, that can go wrong during our absence?

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3 hours ago, Mostlylost said:

Other than cleaning the panels of dust and bird droppings in the dry season there is no maintenance. If you don't clean depending on the amount of accumulation of dust etc. you will lose some production.  Many people don't bother. 

Thank you. Just what I was hoping for.

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We’ve had solar for many years. The original inverter had a 5 year warranty. It was after 5 years (of course) it died and we had to have a new improved smaller inverter installed. I think the panels are warranted for 20-25 years. No problem with them after many years. 12 or more. 2 month CFE bill never above the maintenance charged for the account. It just went up from 52 to 53 pesos on our 2 month bill. We are conservative but use as much electricity as we need. Much cheaper than LP gas. The sun pays for the energy used. 

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1 hour ago, sm1mex said:

Snip,.... I think the panels are warranted for 20-25 years. No problem with them after many years.,...snip

Perhaps a question for GO SOLAR; my understanding is  that they will continue to put out at least 80% of rated value at the end of the stated warranty?

If any knows if this is correct, please comment.

 

TIA

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Virtually all Tier 1 brand panels have 25 year production / performance warranties to deliver 80 to 85% of the original level of power at the 25 year mark.

What the OP mentions is a fairly typical grid tied setup; with these, the CFE solar meter is bi-directional and records values for both "use" and "sent".    Both appear on the bills, and the user pays only the "net" difference (or has a 12 month rolling kWh credit, if production is higher than use).

Maintenance - panel cleaning several times per year in the dry season is recommended,  plus an inexpensive PM check of the system each couple of years, to check and adjust as needed, the support structure, roof connections, panel mounts, wiring harnesses, ties, and connections, and the inverter condition and performance (and inside cleaning, if a central / string inverter).   

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