Maintenance of Renewable Systems

SquirellPVWe are often asked about maintenance of PV systems and renewable technologies in general.

PV systems are certainly the least demanding when it comes to maintenance and will give a long productive life with little intervention, just by virtue of the technology. It is likely that during the life of the system, 25 years + that the inverter will require to be replaced, other than that very little is required. We would recommend that the inverter cooling fan or heat sink is cleaned annually especially if situated in the loft space as the majority of inverters are. This is a straightforward operation and should be covered in the operational manual. If a RCD has been fitted as part of the installation this should be tested annually, there should be instructions on the enclosure or the test button marked.

Solar thermal systems again are very reliable with only minimal maintenance required. We would recommend a service every 2 years where the system pressure and general operation is checked with the anti-freeze solution being changed every 5 years. As with your central heating system the circulating pump will require replacement at longer intervals, typically lasting 10 + years if the system has been maintained during that time. Again if the circuit has been wired with a RCD then this should be tested annually. It is a requirement of the RHI that your system is maintained as the manufacturer recommends. Annual maintinance cost should be around £100 dependant on location.

Biomass systems vary between manufacturers with the lower cost appliances usually requiring the greatest maintenance. Apart from the periodic emptying of ash and loading of the pellets only an annual service is normally required to ensure continued efficiency and boiler life. Typical service costs are £150 – £175 ; again annual service is required to receive RHI payments. The flue should also be swept on an annual basis. We have recently attended a number of boilers which have been “serviced” to find that many of the required service items have been missed out so ensure you receive a full list of service items covered, a clean out is not a service!

We have recently been asked by a number of our customers who had read arbour squirrels damaging cables to carry out a “Health Check” on their PV systems. We now offer this as a general service which includes –

Measure the insulation resistance of the DC cables (Result would detect any potential rodent damage)

Carry out general electrical inspection of switches.

Check inverter for stored error messages.

Clean inverter fan/heat dissipation panel.

Calculate expected yield to date and compare with actual meter reading using the new performance estimating methodology.

Test RCD unit.

Visually inspect panels for excess soiling.

 

Please contact us for further details.

 

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