By converting the sun’s rays into electricity, solar panels provide a wonderful renewable source of energy for homes and businesses. Although these units are manufactured to withstand the impact of mother nature, they still get damaged. Broken glass (from rocks, hail, a failing panel mount, and sometimes even bullets) is the most widespread problem. The question then arises whether to repair or replace. Equipment with extensive damage is cheaper and more efficient to replace than repair, especially if it is near the end of its lifetime. To find out, you will need to hire a solar panel repair service and installer like Century Roof and Solar.
We specialize in solar equipment maintenance and repairs and can advise you on the best course of action and save you money on trial and error. We can also find hidden issues that may be sub-optimizing your energy output. Call us for details on what the cost will be to send out a service technician to your home. Many consumers are left with no documentation for their solar system from the original installer, thus increasing our time in diagnosing a current problem.
Common Solar Panel Repairs You May Need
Inverter break down, broken glass, cracked panels and loose connections are the most common fixes. We can give you an estimate with the expected labor and material costs once the problem is diagnosed.
Inverter Break Down
Inverters serve as the power conditioning component of a Solar Electric System. The panels make DC energy like what our cell phones and laptops use. When we charge a cell phone or laptop, there is a cube attached to the cord that we plug into the wall. This cube is an inverter that changes the AC current to DC current so the device can be charged. In contrast the inverter on a solar electric system converts the DC current coming from the solar system to AC current that we can use to power our home. Inverters are delicate pieces of electronic equipment and can go bad before or after warranty. Inverter manufacturers have technical support staff standing by to help a solar technician identify the cause of a problem if it should happen, make a conclusion over the phone and often times send out a replacement unit at no cost to the homeowner. However, most inverter companies do not pay the labor cost to have the unit replaced.
Broken Glass Panel
The material price for fixing broken glass would typically require replacing the entire panel as broken glass typically will break the cells under the glass as well. Also, the panel may still work sufficiently with the broken glass in place, even with the cracks interfering with some of the sunlight. We will check it for output but expect that the panel will degrade much faster than ones that have the glass intact, due to moisture being able to get into the cell environment over time and cause shorts.
Often, cracked panels will operate for years without any effect on the output of generation. Over time, expansion and contraction as well as temperature changes on the roof can cause the crack in the glass to further open, causing moisture to get into the cell environment under the glass. Cracked glass on a panel cannot be fixed.
Loose connections are typically easy to find and may only cost a few hours of labor to repair. Loose connections cause the connection to work intermittently or can even cause a fault in the system as the panels heat and cool and continue to move.
Who is Responsible for Repairs?
Unless you are leasing your system, you are responsible for maintenance and repairs. Many parts are covered under warranty for a number of years, which will cover certain costs, typically unit replacement but not the labor. It depends on the cause of the damage, of course. We can review your warranties before we do any work on your equipment and recommend when to contact those manufacturers or contractors.
Insurance Costs and Warranties
Warranties and insurance are especially important when it comes to this equipment. Therefore, homeowners should thoroughly study their installer’s warranties before installation. Many manufacturers offer power warranties for the panels, inverters and sometimes both combined. Another warranty to consider is the racking that holds the system on the roof. For inverters, a typical one is 25 years. Panels may have a workmanship warranty of at least 5 years to cover any installation error which leads to damage or inefficiency. You may also have a power production warranty of 25 years. The most common power production warranty is for 25 years guaranteeing 80% power of the solar panel. This will come with an energy output guarantee, meaning that your system should not drop below a certain level of efficiency within the 25-year period.
Work with the Bay Area’s Most Experienced Solar Panel Installation and Repair Service
Call us if you want to have your solar panels inspected for damage that may be reducing their efficiency and power production. Don’t let the power in the sun’s rays go to waste!