After research, if you are interested in the installation of a solar PV system at your home, use this checklist before construction begins:
- Has my installer provided me copies of all required permits (state, city, county, local, etc.)? What building code requirements is my installer following?
- Has my installer met the fire safety code and discussed it with me?
- What insurance is needed? Do I need additional homeowner's insurance? Have I provided liability coverage for the interconnection?
- Will I be able to monitor the output of the solar panel(s)?
(You may want to track the output to see how the system is working. There are Data Acquisition Systems [DAS] available that allow you to see the data through mobile apps and internet connections.)
- Has my installer provided warranties on the pieces of equipment and installation (e.g. the panels, the inverter, the workmanship, etc.)?
- Do I know who to contact to fix problems, make repairs or provide replacements?
- Does my cooperative have all the information and documents needed to interconnect my solar PV system?
Solar systems: maintenance required
Like all appliances, solar PV systems require regular maintenance. Solar PV systems are durable and many last 20 or more years. However, a professional should check your panels every 1 to 2 years, or whenever you notice a significant drop in production on a clear sunny day.
Some simple maintenance tips:
- Check panels: are they cracked or stained?
- Make sure your solar PV system is producing the projected kWh output each month.
- Are leaves on or under the panels?
- Are panels being shaded by tree growth?
- Check to see if panels are dirty
Dirty solar PV panels will significantly reduce the amount of energy your solar system can generate.
Be sure to check your homeowner’s insurance policy before adding a solar PV system to an existing home. You may need to add coverage or otherwise change your policy.
Make sure that equipment and installation are covered under appropriate warranties. There are several warranty components to your solar PV system including:
- Workmanship ― Labor warranty provided by the installer to protect the homeowner against defective installation.
- PV Panel ― Product workmanship and materials, plus a minimum performance/production warranty of 20 years.
- Racking Equipment