Solar System Maintenance – Winter Prep

November 17, 2017

As we head into snow covered winter months in New England, there are a few things you can do to prepare your solar pv system for optimal performance. Here are a few proactive solar maintenance tips from our friendly Service team.

  1. Conduct a visual inspection of your solar array. If you have a roof-mounted solar system, we suggest conducting a visual inspection from the ground looking up at the array from several different angles. Peer into the underside of the modules between the roof and the modules.  Look for debris build up around each stanchion and if there seems to be a large amount, check back after the next storm because much of that debris should become dislodged. For ground mounted systems look on the back side of the array through the wiring netting or plastic guard for any buildup of debris. If you think the accumulation of debris are due to rodent activity it would be prudent to have PV Squared investigate further. Since unwelcome critters can damage the integrity of the wires under the array, any nests should be removed by qualified personnel and the solar system inspected for damage.
  2. Clear your array of hazards. You’ll also want to look for possible hazards adjacent to your array, and perform any proactive landscaping at this time. If there are bushes or branches that can be weighed down with snow and rest on your array, you’ll want to carefully trim those back as well. As always, please exercise extreme caution on ladders or in the vicinity of your array as modules can be damaged by falling debris and sharp objects.
  3. Check your system’s connectivity to the internet. At least once a month, PV Squared checks to make sure monitoring systems for the projects we have installed are connected to the internet. If your system loses its connection to the internet then we won’t be able to see the system online or receive email alerts regarding changes in production. Therefore, it is important to perform a routine check to make sure your system is connected to the internet. If you find that the connection to the internet is not working, then you’ll want to restart a few components. Most of the time you can get the PV System to reconnect by turning off the power to your modem, router, and all components related to the PV system and then turning them back on again. Much like a computer, this reboots the inverter(s) and router which often enables them to talk to one another.
  4. Clean your inverter’s intake fan. If you have a centralized inverter with a cooling fan (i.e. an inverter in your basement, on a wall, but not under each module), now is a great time to clean the fan intake screen.  Check your System Guide or inverter Manual to see if your inverter has an accessible cooling fan and if so instructions on how to clean the fan screen / cover.  If your inverter is indoors, then cleaning the intake screen once a year is often enough.  If your inverter is outdoors you may want to clean it more often depending on how dusty the environment is around it.  Most inverters with an accessible intake screen just need to be cleaned with a portable vacuum. Do not blow compressed air into the fan.

Have any questions? Give our friendly Service Team a call at (413)772-8788 or fill out a simple Service Request form online and we’ll be happy to help.