Broken photovoltaic installation

Broken photovoltaic installation

Ensure Optimal Performance and Safety: A Comprehensive Review of Photovoltaic Installations

Investing in a photovoltaic system is a key step toward a sustainable and cost-effective energy future. However, in order to fully enjoy the benefits of this technology, it is essential to carry out regular inspections of the installation. This comprehensive guide will provide you with the necessary knowledge on the importance of PV inspections, their frequency, scope, and the potential consequences of neglect in this area.

Legal obligation or good practice?

Polish construction law imposes an obligation on owners and managers of buildings to periodically check the technical condition of electrical installations, which include photovoltaic systems. According to the Law of July 7, 1994. Construction Law, such inspections should be carried out at least once every 5 years.

In addition to the legal requirements, there are other reasons to have your photovoltaic system serviced regularly. These reviews identify potential problems at an early stage before they translate into more serious failures or financial losses.

Legal consequences of negligence. Broken photovoltaic installation.

Failure to comply with the obligation to conduct periodic inspections of photovoltaic installations can result in serious legal consequences. A property owner or manager who fails to comply with this obligation may be fined up to PLN 5,000 in the form of a fine imposed by the building supervisory authority.

What’s more, in the event of a dangerous event resulting in death or injury that is related to the lack of an up-to-date inspection of the installation, the situation may be treated as manslaughter. In addition, the lack of an up-to-date inspection may be grounds for an insurance company to deny a claim.

Benefits of Regular Inspection of Photovoltaic Installations. Broken photovoltaic installation.

Regular maintenance of photovoltaic systems brings a number of benefits that translate into optimized performance, increased safety, and extended life of the entire system.

Increase Plant Efficiency

The accumulation of dirt, such as dust, bird droppings or grease, on the surface of photovoltaic panels can significantly reduce their performance. Regular cleaning and maintenance of PV modules removes these undesirable factors, ensuring maximum exposure to sunlight and thus increasing electricity production.

Early Detection of Potential Problems. Broken photovoltaic installation.

During an inspection of a photovoltaic installation, a qualified service technician can identify any minor irregularities, such as loose connections, insulation damage or corrosion outbreaks. Early detection and repair of these problems avoids more serious failures and related costs in the future.

Increasing the Security Level

Regular maintenance of the photovoltaic installation plays a key role in ensuring the safety of users and the infrastructure itself. A qualified service technician will check that all components of the system, such as wiring, protection and grounding, are properly installed and operate according to safety standards.

Maintenance of Guarantee and Insurance

Many warranty contracts and insurance policies require regular servicing of the photovoltaic installation. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in forfeiture of warranty rights or denial of compensation in case of failure.

Frequency of inspection of photovoltaic installations

Mandatory inspections of photovoltaic installations should be carried out at least once every 5 years, as required by law. However, depending on provisions in the contractor’s contract, recommendations from component manufacturers or insurance terms, annual inspections may be required.

Regardless of the mandatory deadlines, it is also advisable to regularly monitor the operation of the photovoltaic system using dedicated applications. This will allow to quickly detect any deviations from the expected parameters and take appropriate corrective action.

Situations requiring urgent inspection of photovoltaic installation

There are situations that require immediate inspection of the photovoltaic installation, even outside the mandatory deadlines. Such situations include:

  1. Significant drop in plant performance during a sunny day
  2. Frequent unexpected shutdowns of the inverter
  3. Visible damage to photovoltaic panels, such as cracks, discoloration or discoloration
  4. Loose or damaged wiring and electrical connections
  5. Prompt response and review in such cases will identify and correct the cause of the problem, preventing further damage and financial loss.

Scope of review of photovoltaic installations. Broken photovoltaic installation.

The scope of work performed during the inspection of a photovoltaic installation may vary depending on the service company and the specifics of the installation. However, according to best practices, the review should include the following:

  1. Assessment of the condition of the support structure: Verification of stability, method of attachment, presence of corrosion foci and mechanical damage.
  2. Inspection of photovoltaic modules: Assessment of the degree of dirt, the presence of mechanical damage and the stability of attachment to the structure.
  3. Wiring inspection: Verification of the type and parameters of cables used, correctness of connections, cable routing and insulation condition.
  4. Inverter inspection: Evaluation of the correctness and stability of the assembly, the connections made, fault diagnosis and cleanliness of the heat sink.
  5. Verification of protective devices: Verification of the types, parameters, and condition of surge arresters, overcurrent protection, residual current protection, and lightning protection and grounding systems.
  6. Analysis of plant yields: Comparison of actual plant productivity with theoretical assumptions and other similar installations.
  7. Electrical measurements: Perform measurements of grounding resistance, continuity of equipotential bonding, string voltage, insulation resistance and short circuit loop impedance.
  8. After the inspection, the authorized service technician will determine whether the installation is suitable for operation, and in the case of detected deficiencies, will provide written comments and recommendations for their removal.

The use of a thermal imaging camera in the inspection of a photovoltaic installation

When a standard inspection fails to diagnose the cause of a photovoltaic system’s poor performance, a thermal imaging camera test may be the solution. The technology makes it possible to detect the so-called “”inferiority” of the technology. “hot spots” – spots on photovoltaic panels characterized by elevated temperatures.

”Hot spots” can arise both as a result of material defects and during transportation, storage or improper installation of the system. Excessive heating of such areas can lead to cell damage, performance degradation, accelerated wear and tear, and in extreme cases even spontaneous combustion of the PV module.

The use of a thermal imaging camera allows early detection and repair of such defects, preventing more serious damage and financial losses.

Costs of reviewing photovoltaic installations

The cost of inspecting a photovoltaic installation can vary depending on the scope of the work to be carried out, the power of the installation and the contractor. In the case of small prosumer installations of less than 10 kWp, you should expect an expense in the range of PLN 700-1000 (plus travel costs).

For installations from 10 to 50 kWp, costs increase and can range between PLN 1,000 and 3,000 (plus travel costs). For business installations of more than 50 kWp, the service fee is usually calculated on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the distance the service technician has to travel to the installation location.

Regular maintenance of photovoltaic systems is essential to ensure optimal performance, safety and long life of the entire system. While there may be some costs involved, they are a small fraction compared to the potential losses from inefficient plant operation, the need for costly repairs or loss of warranty.

Investment in green energy is a long-term project, so it is worthwhile to regularly verify the technical condition of the photovoltaic installation. Broken photovoltaic installation.

Systematic inspection allows early detection of even minor irregularities, eliminating the risk of work stoppages and ensuring optimal return on investment.

Remember that choosing a professional and experienced contractor plays a key role in ensuring trouble-free operation of your photovoltaic system for many years. Don’t procrastinate and make sure your system is serviced regularly to fully enjoy the benefits of solar energy.

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Lighthief is innovation, technology and science in the service of recycling photovoltaic panels and wind farms. The company's topics of interest touch on recovery and recycling in the broadest sense, mainly in the field of RES, or renewable energy sources.


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