Many of you will have a solar PV system installed on your house or barn roof and will be enjoying the annual Summer upsurge in generated power that will not only earn you Feed in Tariff payments, but save you buying power off the grid as well.
As some of the earlier systems installed are now over 5 years old, is it still operating as well as it used to? One of the things you can easily check will be dirt and moss buildup on the panels. Many areas in rural locations we find are vulnerable to a deposit of verdigris on the glass. If left there, it will cause your power generation to drop off dramatically. Getting the panels cleaned will bring the generated power back to healthy levels. The cost of a clean can be covered by a couple of weeks generation in midsummer, so well worth the effort.
Again with older systems, older technology solar inverters fitted to convert DC power into Mains 230v, will have been limited in capabilities and were suited for solar array’s with no shading. If any shading occurs from, say, a chimney or tree on one of the panels, the whole array will suffer from reduced power output. This would common on many houses.
To combat this problem, a new optimizer system was developed enabling solar PV with shading problems to get more generation simply by letting each panel generate to best of its ability, without being affected by shading on another panel. The market leader is Solar Edge, and can be retro installed on any existing solar PV installation. Older installations on a high rate of FiT could benefit from this upgrade, which though usually costs around £3000, can enable your PV system to make that cost back within 10 years if you have shading problems during the day. See our website for more information
If you have noticed a drop off in generated power over the current life of your PV system, now will be the best time to have the system serviced. Though you can anticipate a small drop in generation each year to panel efficiency drop off, other factors such as loose connections can create really large losses. Many Solar installers will carry out a standard service every 5 years, the recommended period, for around £100 and can save you much more if catching a problem early on. We offer this service to people in the South West UK