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Solar Power System Testing, Servicing and Maintenance

Updated: February 2020. Regular solar PV system testing, servicing and maintenance will extend the life of your solar PV system and ensure that solar panels are always operating safely and at their best, whilst maximising yields.

We provide solar power system testing and maintenance services for residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural clients across the UK, with specialist experience working with farms, commercial and industrial buildings.

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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. For mission critical, usually larger systems, we can include ongoing remote performance monitoring, scheduled on-site servicing, along with agreed fix times and a stock of spare parts.

For most clients however, we usually work on an ad hoc basis with no ongoing fees or maintenance contracts; either providing one off solar testing and servicing as needed or a slightly more formal service (again with usually no upfront fees or contracts) with scheduled testing, servicing and maintenance being carried out at agreed intervals of once a year or every two, three or every five years.

One off servicing is particularly useful and often used by those selling a house with solar power installed or by those who have recently moved into a house with a solar PV system already installed. We provide an easy to understand inspection report with current performance measurements that will give you, your buyers and their solicitors confidence in the system.

If you instruct us as a buyer, as well as testing everything and making sure that the system is safe; 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 your system hasn't been serviced or inspected since it was first installed.

Below we outline the elements that will usually make up a full solar PV system service:

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: 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
  • 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: : 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 panels should perform at standard test conditions.

Once differences in irradiance and temperature levels have been accounted for, we can then see if the panels are performing to the level that they should be. A panel or series of panels may test fine from a safety perspective but traditional testing and the basic safety testing carried out by 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 huge 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 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 an inverter or external RCD prevents the 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.

 

Solar PV Inverter Replacement

If you have a faulty inverter, we offer an efficient, value for money, hassle free inverter replacement service. We offer good advice and install quality equipment with comprehensive warranty and support options. We will test the rest of the system as part of the service, take care of all hardware deliveries, record your new unit's serial number and confirm the warranty details with the manufacturer.

Our engineers work cleanly and will dispose of any unwanted boxes, faulty equipment and packaging.

Many modern inverters can now use wireless home networks to transmit solar generation data to PCs, tablets and smartphones, so if you would like something like this, let us know and we will be happy to set it up as part of the installation.

Solar PV Inverter Replacement

 

Solar Power System repair

Problems with your solar power system? Solar panels not working? Solar Inverter Fault? Leaking Roof? Established in 2007, we are one of the longest serving renewable energy companies around and experts at fixing all things Solar.

If your original solar installer and or their warranty providers are no longer trading and your solar PV system isn't working, underperforming, has developed a fault or needs to be moved, refurbished, changed, decommissioned (permenantly or temporarily) then we can help.

If you have an issue, any issue with your solar PV system, including repairs needed to roofs, mountings, cables, isolators, meters, inverters, batteries and connectors; anything involved with repairing a residential and commercial solar PV systems of any size, then we can help.

Solar Power System repair

Articles

Further reading related to testing and repairing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.

ABB / Power One Aurora Inverter Faults and Repairs

Power One, at one point were the second ranked inverter manufacturer in the world and there are many Power One Aurora Inverters installed in the UK. The most popular models being the Uno PVI-3.0-TL-OUTD and the Uno PVI-3.6-TL-OUTD.

Fronius IG / IG Plus Inverter Faults and Repairs

Fronius IG and IG Plus series inverters have LCD displays on the front of the chassis that providing it's working, will highlight any errors with the inverter or the solar PV system that it runs.

Mastervolt Inverter Faults and Repairs

Mastervolt Sunmaster and the smaller Soladin ranges of inverters were widely installed in the UK between 2011 and 2014. Popular Sunmaster models being the Sunmaster XS2000, Sunmaster XS3200 and the Sunmaster XS4300.

SMA Sunnyboy Inverter Faults and Repairs

SMA Sunnyboy Inverters have been widely installed in the UK, some of the most popular being the SB1200, SB2000 and SB3000. High frequency models include the SB2000HF, SB2500HF, and SB3000HF. Transformerless models include the SB3000TL and the SB3600TL.

SolarEdge Inverter and Optimser Faults and Repairs

The SolarEdge system is unique and in our opinion unrivalled in terms of it's ability to monitor system performance down to panel level. This is achieved through the installation of a small unit called an optimiser.

Sonnen Macht Inverter Faults and Repairs

The problem we often find with these inverters are damaged relays, the tell tale sign of a relay failure is an Error 19: Relay or Error 19: Relay Fault warning displayed on the inverter's display.

 

What Our Customers Say

"Inverter broke down, contacted Glen, on his advice new inverter delivered within days. Glen then came and fitted new inverter within 90 mins, works perfectly. Glen is very friendly very efficient, really knows his work. Can highly recommend Glen, any other problems with solar system and Glen will be the one I call." - Carl Tyler, Salisbury

Recomendation via Google

"I spoke to Glen as my inverter was coming to its end of life (10 years). Glen quickly appraised me of the many different inverters that I could use. I selected a similar SMA type. The next week Alex replaced it with a new inverter with WiFi connectivity. Everything is working perfectly (thanks Alex) in-addition I can now view my information through the Sunny Portal. A BIG thanks to Glen and Alex, superb service, highly recommended!!!!!" - David Powell, Worcester

Recomendation via Google

"Rang In Balance energy after been let down. Scott was very helpful after explaining the problem. Explained everything to me. Sent a quote within a day. Arranged an appointment that suited me. Arrived at the time quoted the engineer was very polite. Explained everything again and sorted the problem... I would highly recommend this company for solar panel repairs.. And if needed again won't hesitate to contact them. Also the quote was for a brand new inverter. But as this wasn't needed only got charged for the work that was done.. Excellent service. Thankyou so much." - Julie Temperton, Gilberdyke

Recomendation via Google

"What a pleasant surprise. I found InBalance via Google when the inverter on my solar PV system failed and I was trying to find someone knowledgeable and reliable to fix or replace it. My first impression was that the comprehensive information on their web-site was a good start, far better than the web-sites of most of the shysters who now seem to fill the world of solar PV. The next positive was Scott of InBalance's rapid response, first to my initial enquiry and subsequently to visiting to analyse and report on the problem and then removing and replacing the inverter within just a couple of days. I hope I don't ever have another problem with my solar PV system but, if I do, the first people I shall call will be InBalance. Outstanding service and thoroughly recommended." - Tim Petty, Ilminster

Recomendation via Facebook

"We had been let down by a failure on our system,and the manufacturer of the part was no longer trading. We called Glen during the afternoon and he was there in the evening. He examined the system and recommended a replacement manufacterer, promising to come back and fit in the new part once it arrived. We informed Glen of the arrival on a Friday PM, he was there fitting the new part by 10:30 on the following Monday. Of course it worked. That is what you call service, and guess who is looking after all our requirements in the future. Highly recommend this company." - Gill Spencer, Newbury

Recomendation via E-Mail

"Yes, thank you! The Inverter appears to be working well. Scott was very efficient and courteous, he couldn't have been more helpful. Thank you very much for your prompt and efficient service, apart from the expense (not your fault), it has been a pleasure working with you." Tracey Smale, Dartmouth

Recomendation via Facebook

"In Balance contacted us promptly after we made an enquiry, Glen telephoned and arranged to visit our property to identify the fault, he arrived the following day! Brilliant as when the system is down it isn't earning us money. We decided to have a new inverter installed as our original one was 9 years old. Glen ordered the unit which was delivered to our property he then arrange to fit the unit the following day. He really could not have done it any quicker so thank you for that. Good job done for reasonable money. Highly recommended." - Geoff Thomas, Abingdon

Review via Google

"Contacted Glen after being let down by 2 companies. He visited promptly, researched my system and assisted me with getting my solar system up and running again. Amazing man. Will definitely be my first and only port of call for any future issues. Friendly, supportive, knowledgeable and reliable. Highly recommend him." Margaret Bissett, Chisledon

Review via Google

"Can't recommend In Balance Energy and Glen enough. I had a fault in a solar tile that needed tracking down. Other companies did not want to know as too much hassle. Glen saw it as a challenge and was all over it. Problem fixed and full power restored. Well done and thanks." Paul Rodwell, Wallingford

Recomendation via Facebook

"We were very relieved to find Glen when our Solar Panel system stopped working, as our original supplier had gone out of business. We cannot praise Glen's persistence enough as he thoroughly reviewed the system to identify the faults and repair it, despite the searing heat of last summer. He also talked to Solar Edge and provided fault data to enable us to get a replacement part under warranty. Many thanks Glen for getting us up and running again!" - Jane Pearce, Highworth

Review via Google

"Very reliable company and very good & honest staff" Virgilo Verallo, Bath

Recomendation via Facebook

"Excellent service. We contacted Glen when our solar PV system stopped working. His response was prompt, he explained all we needed to know and got the system up and running after just a matter of days. Glen was friendly, professional and most of all reliable and we would have no hesitation in highly recommending him." Fran Armstrong, Market Lavington

Recomendation via Facebook

"Glen was very helpful and very reasonably priced. I would recommend him, and use him again in future if I need any solar work." Venu Jega, Highworth

Review via Google

"Very efficient reliable company. Scott was the engineer who attended to fix my solar breakdown, which he did very quickly and reasonably. Would recommend very highly." Paul Slatter, Ivybridge

Review via Google

"Outstanding. Conscientious, thorough, friendly and reasonably priced service. Highly recommended. Made our solar panel battery system safe, correcting the sub-standard work of others. Will always use this trustworthy PV electrician. Even after the work was completed, he studied the manual for our system and assisted with resolving further problems. Thanks Glen." Rob Barnes, Royal Wootton Bassett

Review via Cylex

"Very decent with a helpful attitude and expert in the technical side and reliable too. Had to integrate with our roofers to use their scaffolding before and after their work to take down and reinstall our PV panels. Helpful scheduling. Up and running again to our satisfaction at a decent price." David Ballard, Ramsbury

Review via Google

"I got in touch with Glen as our old converter was no longer working due to its age (9 years). Glen quickly diagnosed the inverter and tested the solar panels. The next week replaced it with a new inverter with WiFi connectivity. Everything is working again perfectly and I can see what power it's generating on a phone App now. Great service!!" Peter Dowsett, Chippenham

Recomendation via Facebook

"Glen replaced our inverter. Excellent honest guy. We wouldn’t deal with anyone else highly recommended." Nicola Moger, Devizes

Recomendation via Facebook

"Our inverter failed and as our installer had gone out of business did not know what to do. Contacted Glen who was brilliant. Came out checked the failure dealt with the manufacturer and all aspects of the warranty claim.New inverter received under warranty and Glen came out and fitted the new one straightaway. Superb service from a very professional and helpful person. Highly recommend this company." Martin Brailey, Wokingham

Review via Google

"Had a tricky fault on my (8 year) old system which Glen narrowed down and has now sorted at a very reasonable price. We have also had our faulty inverter replaced by In Balance; would recommend if he covers your area!" Peter Nobes, Bath

Recomendation via Facebook

"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

Recomendation via E-Mail

"New meter doing the business nicely. Good job, great service and friendly with it. Our thanks." Richard Illsley, Marlborough

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Swindon: Abingdon, Aldbourne, Andover, Banbury, Basingstoke, Bath, Berkshire, Bicester, Blunsdon, Box, Bracknell, Bradford on Avon, Bristol, Burford, Calne, Camberley, Carterton, Cheltenham, Chippenham, Chipping Norton, Chipping Sodbury, Cirencester, Corsham, Cricklade, Devizes, Didcot, Evesham, Faringdon, Fleet, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Henley-on-Thames, Highclere, Highworth, Hook, Hungerford, Keynsham, Kingsclere, Lambourn, Lechlade, Lyneham, Maidenhead, Malmesbury, Marlborough, Marshfield, Melksham, Minety, Newbury, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Pewsey, Purton, Ramsbury, Royal Wootton Bassett, Salisbury, Shalbourne, Slough, Stow, Swindon, Tewkesbury, Thatcham, Trowbridge, Wanborough, Wantage, Warminster, Wiltshire, Winchester, Windsor, Witney, Wokingham, Worcester, Wroughton and Yate.

Torquay: Babbacombe, Bantham, Barnstaple, Bideford, Bodmin, Bridgewater, Brixham, Bude, Burnham-on-Sea, Chard, Cleveden, Cornwall, Crewkerne, Devon, Dorset, Exeter, Exmouth, Frome, Glastonbury, Holsworthy, Honiton, Ivybridge, Kingskerswell, Launceston, Lyme Regis, Lynton, Marldon, Minehead, Newquay, Newton Abbot, Okehampton, Painton, Plymouth, Salcombe, Seaton, Sidmouth, Somerset, Street, Stroud, Taunton, Tiverton, Torquay, Totnes, Wellington, Wells, Weston-super-Mer, Weymouth and Yeovil.

Derby: Ashbourne, Ashyby-de-la-Zouch, Bakewell, Beeston, Birmingham, Burton upon Trent, Buxton, Cannock, Cheadle, Chesterfield, Coalville, Congleton, Corby, Coventry, Crewe, Derby, Grantham, Kettering, Leek, Leicester, Lincoln, Long Eaton, Loughborough, Macclesfield, Matlock, Melton Mowbray, Newark-on-Trent, Nuneaton, Oakham, Peterborough, Sheffield, Sleaford, Stafford, Stamford, Stoke-on-Trent, Sutton Coldfield, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Swadlincote, Tamworth, Telford, Uppingham, Uttoxeter, Wigston, Wolverhampton and Worksop.

York: Barnard Castle, Barnsley, Beverley, Boroughbridge, Bradford, Bridlington, Burnley, Castleford, Darlington, Doncaster, Driffield, Easingwold, Goole, Halifax, Harrogate, Hartlepool, Helmsley, Hessle, Hornsea, Huddersfield, Hull, Keighley, Leeds, Malton, Manchester, Market Weighton, Middlesborough, North Yorkshire, Pocklington, Pontefract, Ripon, Rotherham, Scunthorpe, Selby, Sheffield, Skipton, South Yorkshire, Stockport, Thirsk, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, Wetherby, Whitby, Withernsea, York and the Yorkshire Dales.

East London Basildon, Barking, Bexley, Blackheath, Braintree, Brentwood, Brixton, Bromley, Burnt Oak, Canvey Island, Chatham, Chelmsford, Cheshunt, Chigwell, City of London, Croydon, Dagenham, Dartford, Dulwich, Edgware, Enfield, Essex, Gravesend, Grays, Greater London, Grenwich, Harlow, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, Hornchurch, Ilford, Kent, London Docklands, Maidstone, Mill Hill, Orpington, Peckham, Rainham, Rayleigh, Rochester, Romford, Sevenoaks, Sidcup, Southend-on-Sea, Stoke Newington, Stratford, Tilbury, Waltham, Walthamstow, Westminster, Wickford, Woodford and Woolwich.

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