Have you woken up to find that your Solar PV system is no longer working, or is producing drastically less power than it was and have no idea what to do to fix it? At MTG Energy Solutions we get these types of calls all the time and are always happy to help.
So, here are some tips that can help you troubleshoot the next time you discover a problem with your Solar panels.
When we get the phone call (or could now be an online form to fill in) our process is as follows:
Whilst on the phone or in our first initial contact we take 4 steps to get the information we need to help you.
1) Ask the customer to check everything is switched on, the AC isolators, the DC isolators the MCBs and the RCDs feeding the circuit. (Sometimes a breaker may have tripped, sometimes someone switched things off and forgot to switch back on again - usually if the customer has had a tradesman round to do some work).
2) Check on the inverter if there are any error messages, if so read them out so we can note them down.
3) Confirm whether the inverter still under guarantee.
4) Ask the customer to send us photos of the inverter to include the data plate on the side of the inverter and a photo of the generation meter, or at least inform us of the make and model number of the inverter.
What we do when we get there
Once we have determined that everything is on but it's still not working, we usually arrange to go to the site to check it out. If your location is far away we may ask for a photo or the make and model of the unit. This allows us to make sure we take with us an equivalent part to swap out should it come to that. This makes for an easy process so we can be done quickly without needing to make multiple trips.
Currently, our process at MTG is to go to the site, find out what the problem is, then quote the customer. Then order the parts and send one of our specially trained technicians to go fix it.
However, at further distances, there may be an added charge for going to the site. This can differ from project to project but long distances to cover can be quite costly if we are not aware of what needs doing. All the more reason to give us a call beforehand.
When we get to site the fault could be one of 4 things:
1) Least common occurrence - are the solar panels still producing power? If not we need to determine why not and may require scaffolding to do so - this is usually only for the toughest of jobs and usually doesn't happen.
2) 3rd place - a faulty termination over time has finally come loose and burned out, we swap the burned-out part and re-terminate correctly.
3) 2nd most common occurrence - a faulty Solar Generation meter. In this case, we will remove the faulty generation meter and replace it with a new one.
4) Most common occurrence - inverter has packed in and is no longer working - as with every piece of electronic equipment they will at some point stop working so we find the best solution for you. This could mean fixing a broken part or having to install a new one.
With our testing equipment, we have a procedure that we follow when on-site to quickly determine what the fault is. If we follow the model of turning up with all the possible spares we could, in 95% of cases, fix the fault on the day. This super speedy repair would also be of benefit to the customer who is losing money during every daylight moment.
For those 4 faults listed above unfortunately you, the customer, will not be able to diagnose themselves. In order to find a solution the next time, you will need our training, expertise and super-duper test equipment.
If you have problems with your Solar Panels and you are not sure how best to fix them, give us a call at 0115 888 2777