How Much Does Owning Solar Cost?
Solar System Costs
When looking at solar for your home, there is a common misconception that the entire cost is upfront with the installation. Similar to a car, solar systems should be checked every few years to ensure they are performing at their maximum levels and that all components are still efficient to help you reduce your electricity bill.
This blog post is aimed to outline how much does solar cost beyond the initial installation.
Maintenance and Operation
Solar systems operate entirely through power electronics and have no moving parts. This means that maintenance and servicing can be completed over longer periods in comparison to a car but should be conducted to ensure your system is operating at maximum capacity within its technical lifespan.
Two main services that are recommended by WINAICO for the operation of your solar system are Solar System Cleaning and System Servicing
Solar System Cleaning
As modules are exposed to the elements at all points of their operational lifetime, they can collect particles that significantly impact their performance. These include bird poop, dust, dirt and salt build-up. While geographically dependent (close to water or in dry areas), it is not uncommon for the particulate build-up to cause a 5%-10% drop in maximum power. The WINAICO WSP range is the only solar product in Australia with specially designed drainage corners to reduce this effect.
WINAICO recommends regular cleaning of solar modules. This can differ for 3 to 12 months depending on the area. We also suggest cleaning after certain weather events such as dust storms. Installers will be able to provide solar cleaning services or know companies that can so always check with them during the initial consultation phase of installation. When accessible, hosing down your solar system can be completed every few months to help reduce any small build-up.
Professional Solar Module Cleaning on a large Commercial Installation
Solar systems are made up of a massive number of electrical, structural and mechanical components. Beyond the solar modules and inverter, a solar system includes wiring, isolators, breakers, racking, roof mounting and wall mounting. These are all components that will degrade over time and system checks validate the integrity of your system and ensure they operate in a safe manner.
Solar monitoring will help keep an eye on the electrical performance of your system, ensuring it operates within the expected levels over their lifetime. Modern inverters such as Delta, Fronius, SMA and SolarEdge all offer monitoring as an integrated component of their design and companies such as Solar Analytics can universally integrate a similar service to your home. This however will not consider the structural integrity of the components which is where a System Service is important.
WINAICO recommend a solar service every 2-3 years. All of WINAICO’s Trusted Partners can conduct a system service. Building a trustworthy relationship with your solar installer is critical to ensuring your photovoltaic system will perform over the 25 years and maximise the energy savings for your home or business.
An Installer Completing an Occasional System Check of Components on a WSP-320MX Full Black Array.
Solar System Failures
Proper solar systems are designed around longevity and all current WINAICO products include product warranties and performance guarantees for 25 years. However, cheap ‘bill buster’ deals have introduced a trend of system failures into the industry that could double or triple the initial cost of your solar installation with replacement and additional labour.
Certain cheap solar packages are a massive headache for solar system owners, offering super low-cost options that look and feel comparable to the rest of the market. Designed with lower quality components, less legal protection and installed in a rush to achieve quantity over quality, many of these systems fail to result in astronomical costs for the owner. Many of the companies offering these highly competitive products move into solvency and avoid any responsibility to fix broken solar systems. Please refer to this segment from the 7.30 Report on the ABC last year that identifies these trends:
Trusting Your Installer
The best way to avoid the financial cost of a failing system is to buy a quality solar system with a trusted installation team. Higher quality solar modules, inverters and connections are significantly less likely to fail and have protection policies in place in the unlikely case they do. A good installation team will always be available to inspect, manage and fix any errors in the system and will be contactable for the life of the system.
To avoid large scale distributors and unreliable companies, WINAICO operates exclusively through a Trusted Partners Program that ensures our modules are in the hands of people we can rely on. These installations teams are selected on their company ethos, location and history of workmanship to ensure you always can find a trustworthy and local partner in your area. If you would like to find your nearest WINAICO Trusted Partner, please refer to our Trusted Installers map by clicking here.