Look after your solar system

Learn how to look after your solar and battery system and what to do if you have any issues.

Solar and battery systems don’t need a lot of maintenance.

There are some things you can do to make sure your system is working well and steps you can take if it has any issues.

Most importantly, when you buy your system, make sure you have good product warranties for all the parts and a workmanship / installation warranty from your installer.

Read more about warranties.

Monitor your system

If your system includes monitoring (as most systems do), it will allow you to check that it’s generating as expected.

The amount of electricity generated each day varies according to the time of year and the weather, but if it is lower than usual on sunny days, there may be something wrong.

Some monitoring systems will tell you automatically if the generation is less than it should be, for example, if there is a problem with excessive shading.

Your inverter may show a fault code if there is an issue.

If you have a battery, the monitoring system will show you if it is charging and discharging regularly.

Learn more about monitoring.

Cleaning and maintenance

Regular maintenance

Regular maintenance will help you to keep your system working and identify any issues before they become problems.

Check your system documentation for a maintenance schedule, or ask your solar retailer or installer what is suitable. You could service your solar system every 2 years.

A solar service should be conducted by an accredited solar installer or qualified electrician and should include:

  • cleaning the solar panels
  • clearing the area around and under the panels
  • testing electrical components
  • inspecting cables, isolator switches and other parts of the system
  • inspecting fault history of the inverter(s) and/or battery.

Cleaning solar panels

The build-up of dirt or debris on your panels can reduce the amount of electricity generated.

Most panels are installed on a slope of at least 10 degrees, so they should self-clean when it rains.

However, cleaning may be needed in some circumstances, such as if the panels are in a very dusty location. You can ask for panel cleaning as part of your professional system service.

You should only allow a qualified person to clean your panels to avoid damage and ensure safety. It can be dangerous to clean your own panels.

Reduce shade over solar panels

The amount of electricity generated by your solar panels may be affected by shade from nearby trees or vegetation. Shading varies throughout the day and the year. There tends to be more shade on panels in winter or early and late in the day when the sun is lower.

If you need to cut back branches, use a qualified arborist or landscaper. To maintain a large tree, you may need permission from your local council or government.

What to do if your system is not working as expected

  1. If you suspect a problem, look for any signs of a fault or reduced generation through your monitoring app.
  2. If your system is not working as well as it should, contact your solar retailer or installer. They should be able to check your system for faults. If you are within the warranty period, this should be free.
  3. If you can’t get hold of your solar retailer or installer, you can try contacting the manufacturers directly.
  4. If you can’t resolve an issue with your solar retailer, installer or manufacturer, read about dispute resolution.

Potential problems

If your system is not operating as expected, possible reasons include:

  • inverter faults
  • battery faults
  • incorrect installation
  • faulty wiring or isolator switch
  • faulty or damaged solar panels.

Solar panels are designed to withstand the Australian climate. However, extreme weather events, accidents and vandalism can result in damage to the system.

All these issues will require an accredited installer or electrician to fix them. Your first point of contact should always be your solar or battery retailer or installer.

Repairing your solar system

Repairs to solar or battery systems should only be attempted by an accredited electrician. Even if your electricity mains are switched off, your solar system is still energised and could cause electric shock or electrocution.