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Solar Power System Testing, Servicing and Maintenance

Regular solar PV system testing, servicing and maintenance will extend the life of a solar PV system and ensure that solar PV panels, solar inverters and switchgear is operating safely.

We provide solar power system testing, maintenance and repair services for residential clients, small businesses and agricultural clients within 90 minutes driving distance of Swindon, England.

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Solar Power System Testing, Servicing & Maintenance - What's included?

Different clients will have different requirements when it comes to solar PV system testing and servicing and our offerings are flexible to reflect this.

We work on an ad hoc basis with no ongoing fees or maintenance contracts; either providing one off solar testing and servicing when needed or scheduled at appropriate intervals.

Solar PV Electrical Servicing

Selling a house with solar panels: One off solar PV system testing and inspection is particularly useful and often used by those selling or letting a house with solar panels installed. In addition to providing evidence that the system is working alongside up to date electrical test results, we'll make sure that all the documentation is in order, plugging any gaps and provide an easy to understand inspection report that will contain all of the information anyone might ever need to know about the solar PV system in one place, giving you, your buyers and their solicitors confidence in the solar PV system.

Buying a house with solar panels: If you instruct us as a buyer, as well as testing everything, making sure that the system is safe and that all the required paperwork is in place; we are always happy to spend time talking you through your new system, showing you how everything works, what to look out for, how to take meter readings and how to ensure that you get the most from your system.

NB: We have repaired many systems that in some cases have not been installed or ever tested correctly. You will likely find most, if not all of these services valuable if the system hasn't been serviced or inspected since it was first installed.

Below we outline the elements that make up a full solar PV system service, the right solar servicing and test schedule for your system will be a combination of these elements. For example if solar panels are mounted on roofspaces, it would be expensive and potentially counter-productive to test them individually, when electrical safety testing on complete strings of solar panels can be carried out where the DC inputs connect to the solar inverter.

Solar PV System Testing and Inspection Report

Solar PV Electrical Servicing General Installation - Electrical (Ref IEC60364-6-61): As part of the general electrical installation inspection and service which we will carry out on all systems, we look to ensure that the system fulfills the following criteria:
  • Equipment compliant with standards, correctly selected and not damaged
  • Equipment accessible for operation, inspection and maintenance
  • Equipment and accessories correctly connected
  • Particular protective measures for special locations
  • Equipment and protective measures appropriate to external influences
  • System installed to prevent mutual detrimental influence
  • Conductors correctly identified
  • Conductors correctly selected for current carrying capacity and voltage drop
  • Equipment and protective measures appropriate to external influences
  • Conductors routed within safe zones and / or protected against mechanical damage
  • Presence of fire barriers, seals and protection against thermal effects
Solar PV Mechanical Servicing General Installation - Mechanical: (optional) The general mechanical installation inspection and any works will require full unrestricted access to the mounting area and may require the temporary removal of solar panels, we look to ensure that the system fulfills the following criteria:
  • Ventilation provided behind the array to prevent overheating / fire risk
  • Array frame & material corrosion proof
  • Array frame correctly fixed and stable
  • Panels in good condition, in working order and undamaged
  • Roof fixings weatherproof
  • Cable entry weatherproof
Solar PV Servicing - Electric Shock Protection against over voltage / electric shock: We look to ensure that the following safety measures, where applicable are working correctly and in place:
  • Live parts insulated, protected by barrier, enclosure or class II
  • Array frame equipotential bonding
  • Surge protection correct and installed
  • Additional protection by RCD
Solar PV Servicing - DC Inspection DC System: The DC inspection and any works will ensure that where applicable the following is in place:
  • Physical separation of AC and DC cables
  • DC switch disconnector fitted (to IEC60364-712.536.2.2)
  • DC cables correctly routed and protected with reinforced insulation
  • All D.C. components rated for the system maximum (Voc and Isc x 1.25)
  • PV String fuses or blocking diodes fitted
  AC System: The AC inspection and any works will ensure that where applicable the following is in place:
  • AC isolators lockable in the ‘Off’ position
  • Solar inverter correctly set and commissioned for local supply regulations
Solar PV Servicing - Labelling & Identification Labelling & Identification: The labelling & identification inspection and any works will ensure that where applicable the following is in place:
  • General labelling of circuits correct
  • PV System schematic displayed on site
  • Protection settings & installer details displayed on site
  • Emergency shut down procedure displayed on site
  • AC and DC Isolators clearly labelled
  • Signs and labels of a type suitable for the environment and correctly fixed
Solar PV Servicing - Live Performance Testing Live Performance Testing: (optional): Performance testing involves measuring and recording 'Live' data from solar PV strings or individiual solar panels and at the same time measuring and recording the amount of irradiance (sunlight) as well as the ambient temperature.

Once we have recorded this information, we then cross reference this against the data provided by the solar panel manufacturer and compare our data with how the solar panels should perform at standard test conditions.

Once differences in irradiance and temperature levels have been accounted for, we can then see if the solar panels are performing to the level that they should be. A solar panel or series of panels may test fine from a safety perspective but traditional testing and the basic safety testing carried out by solar inverters is not likely to help identify a poorly performing solar panel.

Given that most solar PV systems are wired together in strings and the performance of the string is determined by the weakest panel, 'safe' but unidentified poorly performing solar panels can have a big effect on overall power yields.

Solar Power System Testing - Why Test?

For the long term performance and safety of a solar power system it is important to regularly test the installation. The key risk areas that we look out for and some of the reasons we test are described below:

Rain on Solar

Environmental Degradation

Damage or corosion to cabling and connectors can decrease performance and increase the risk of fire. Solar panels can become dirty or contaminated over time and this can reduce their operational efficiency. Objects dropped by birds can result in physical damage to PV modules, which may also result in reduced output performance.

Regular electrical tests and inspections ensure that any damage or reduction in performance due to environental factors are discovered so that remedial action can be taken.

Chewed Cable

Damage to Wiring

Unprotected cables hanging below solar panels, touching roofs, bending around corners, chewed by rodents or rubbing against masonary can become damaged, presenting a shock hazard.

The insulated coating on the cables can degrade and expose bare wires. As well as allowing moisture to penetrate, this could also present a serious shock hazard. Deterioration of cable connections and wiring can't usually be seen but they can be easily identified by applying regular electrical testing to identify potential faults.

Grounding Solar Panels

Effective grounding

Solar panels and their mounting systems sometimes need to be grounded to mitigate potential electric shocks and fire hazards. If the grounding system degrades over time, anyone who comes into contact with a metal piece of the system may receive a shock. Should this occur, the chance of substantial injury is great because of the high voltages present and the potential danger of falling from height.

Solar PV Earth Faults

Ground faults

Poor levels of insulation in cables can allow energy generated by the PV system to leak to earth. This can be particularly problematic during damp or wet conditions where the insulation monitoring function within a solar inverter or external RCD prevents the solar inverter from starting up, which in turn can significantly reduce the operational efficiency of the PV installation.

Solar Panel Fire

Avoiding fire risks

As the number of rooftop solar installation systems have grown over the years, so have the number of reported incidents of fire. The periodic testing of the electrical cabling and components associated with solar power systems will ensure the safe operation of the system and reduce the potential fire risk associated with any electrical faults.

Electrical Inspection Certificate

Compliance with IEC 62446

IEC 62446 recommends that periodic verification of an existing installation shall be performed. The standard defines the minimum requirements for system documentation, commissioning tests and inspection for solar power systems.

A periodic verification report should be provided and include a list of any faults and recommendations for repairs or improvements.

Solar System Performance

Verification of system performance

The value of a solar power system is linked to it's performance. Verification of system performance is essential to ensure that systems are returning on their investment in terms of power gain, carbon savings and realising FIT returns.

Simple electrical faults or wiring failures can cause a serious inefficiency in the ability of the system to produce power. Periodic electrical testing is vital to verify ongoing functional performance over extended periods.

Warranty Fulfilment

Warranty fulfilment

Periodic electrical testing of solar PV systems to identify and confirm continued safe operation and maximum energy output performance can be required as part of product warranties and PV system component guarantees.

Book a Solar PV System Test

In the first instance, if possible please email us a few pictures of the solar installation especially the area around the solar inverter(s) and the mains/supply meter. Please send us any documentation that you have available, we are particularly looking for test reports, commissioning reports, schematics and diagrams, anything that might be useful in piecing the system together on paper. This will allow us to establish our parameters to compare against when it comes to the testing.

We appreciate that supplying paperwork and taking pictures isn't always an option so if you'd like a system test, call us with whatever information that you have to hand. We can fill in the blanks as we go and when we're done, leave you with a document with all of the information that anyone in the future might need to know about the solar PV system in one place.

Quotation Once we understand the installation and what's needed for the testing, we will send you a quotation and let you know the earliest date from which the work can be booked in.

Book Test Appointment: Test engineers can usually be scheduled to start within 14 days, their names, phone number and the time of their visit will be known to you in advance.

Testing: We are very unlikely to need to isolate the mains supply during testing but we will need access to inspect all consumer units and distribution boards that are connected with the solar PV system and the PV system itself will be turned off.

Inspection and electrical testing of a residential solar PV system can be done within 2-3 hours. For commercial systems we will provide a time estimate with our quotation.

Finishing: Testing and inspection reports are provided within 24 hours.

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Mains/Grid Isolation and Surge Protection

Mains/AC Surge Protection Solar PV Systems

A whole house surge protector is installed to provide protection from transient overvoltages originating from the mains/grid. A whole house surge protector is installed directly inline and as close as possible to the mains/supply meter, this allows for surge protection for all circuits and equipment including solar inverters, routers, stereos and other sensitive electrical equipment within the network. The addition of a 100Amp lockable isolator also allows for safe and convenient isolation of all electrical equipment within the network including consumer units, solar inverters, battery storage units and EV chargers from the mains/grid in one place.

Surge protectors are in compliance with the recently updated 18th edition amendment 2 of BS7671.

Mains/Grid Isolation and Surge Protection

 

Solar PV Surge Protection (DC Surge Protection)

DC Surge Protection Solar PV Systems

DC surge protection devices (SPDs) are installed between the solar panels and the solar inverter to protect both the solar inverter and the downstream electrical equipment from transient overvoltages of an atmospheric origin impacting the electrical system via the DC side of the system / the solar panels.

DC Surge protectors are in compliance with the recently updated 18th edition amendment 2 of BS7671.

Solar PV Surge Protection (DC Surge Protection)

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Articles: Further Information, Calculators & Solar Inverter Fault Codes

Lots of articles, calculators and technical information including links for further reading. Covering a range of topics related to the installation and maintenance of solar photovoltaic and electrical systems in the UK.

Solar PV Information Articles

Solar PV, Safety & The Building Regulations

Residential PV systems notifiable under Part P. Special consideration needed for Part A. A combination of serious risks for solar PV installers.

How to provide power to a house using a portable generator

In this article we show you how to power your home using a portable diesel, petrol or LPG generator. We look at changeover switches, the importance of earthing, generator loadings, how to isolate non essential loads. We ask where to locate the generator when it's in operation, how best to safely isolate the mains supply and switch to a generator supply.

Ground Faults, Isolation Faults, RISO Faults and Insulation Resistance Faults with Solar PV Systems

After a number of years exposed to wind, rain, snow, ice and sometimes animals; solar panel systems can start to develop faults. The most common faults we find related to exposure are ground faults, isolation faults, RISO faults and insulation resistance faults. In this article we take a look at what these faults are, the possible causes and what steps are taken to identify and resolve them.

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What Our Customers Say:

"My inverter failed and Glen very quickly got my system up and running again. He was very professional but explained everything to me. Many thanks Glen and I've already recommended him." Di Foxwell, Wroughton

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Case Studies

We've carried out Solar PV System design, installation, testing, repair and maintenance work on solar PV systems of all shapes and sizes all across the UK.

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Areas Served:

We are located in Wanborough, very close to Swindon in Wiltshire, Southern England, UK. From here we service clients within a 90 minute driving radius including the towns, cities and regions below:

Swindon: Abingdon, Aldbourne, Amesbury, Andover, Banbury, Basingstoke, Bath, Berkshire, Bicester, Blunsdon, Box, Bracknell, Bradford on Avon, Bridgwater, Bristol, Buckingham, Burford, Burnham on Sea, Calne, Camberley, Cardiff, Carterton, Cheltenham, Chippenham, Chipping Norton, Chipping Sodbury, Cirencester, Corsham, Cricklade, Devizes, Didcot, Evesham, Eynsham, Faringdon, Frome, Fleet, Glastonbury, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Henley-on-Thames, Highclere, Highworth, Hook, Hungerford, Keynsham, Kingsclere, Lambourn, Lechlade, Ledbury, Lyneham, Maidenhead, Malmesbury, Marlborough, Marshfield, Melksham, Minety, Newbury, Newport, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Pewsey, Purton, Ramsbury, Reading, Ross on Wye, Royal Wootton Bassett, Salisbury, Shaftesbury, Shalbourne, Slough, Southampton, Stow, Stratford upon Avon, Stroud, Swindon, Tewkesbury, Thatcham, Trowbridge, Wanborough, Wantage, Warminster, Weston Super Mare, Wiltshire, Winchester, Windsor, Witney, Wokingham, Worcester, Wroughton and Yate.

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