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6 Common Problems With Solar Panels On Roofs (And How To Fix/Prevent Them)

common problems with solar on roofs in australia

Everyone talks about the benefits of solar panels, such as saving a ton of money and minimizing your home’s carbon footprint. But the truth is that problems with solar panels on roofs are likely to happen, too.

For example, you could get leaks or maybe you have trees that shade your solar panels. Like most problems, though, there are workarounds to these annoying complications.

So, today, I’m going to list down some of the most common problems with rooftop solar arrays as well as easy solutions.

1. Poor installation leads to leakages

Leaks are one of the most obvious problems because you’ll notice them almost immediately if it rains or snows. But, to be fair, leaks are quite rare and generally only happen due to a poorly done solar panel installation.

“Why blame the installers?”, you ask. Well, because it’s their job to make sure that your roof is strong enough to handle the weight of your solar system. It’s also their job to drill through your roof.

Truthfully, sloppy installation is a large part of why the solar industry has had a bad reputation in the past. The CEC (Clean Energy Council) has changed that, though.

Solution:

  • Get a CEC-accredited installer with a good reputation. Tell him/her about the condition of your roof, how old it is, the materials used, and other things he/she might ask about. Also, get quotes from multiple installers. This gets you more options which you can then judge for yourself.

That being said, we have a network of pre-vetted installers. We trust them with our own systems, so we know they’re both honest and skilled pros. Whenever you’re ready, we can get you 3 FREE quotes from them right away.

2. Corrosion of components from exposure to the elements

For one, your solar panels could suffer from internal corrosion. Moisture could seep through spaces that aren’t sealed tight leading to reduced efficiency, lifespan, and even total failure.

Moreover, your mounting equipment could corrode, too. Exposure to different elements such as rain, wind, and snow can cause damage over time which can cut the life of your solar panel system short.

Solution:

  • For PV panels, I recommend you only use high-quality ones from any reputable solar panel company. They can be more expensive but they’ll save you a lot of headaches in the long run. Also, ask solar companies about the specifics of their warranty.
  • For mounts, make sure to use stainless steel mounting hardware, galvanized steel for exposed areas, and a corrosion-resistant coating on any metal surfaces that will be exposed to the elements.
  • Additionally, regularly inspect your solar system for signs of corrosion. If you find any, contact your installer and/or your manufacturer right away.

3. Trees and other obstructions casting shade over your solar panels

obstructions of trees are one of common problems with solar panels on roof

Trees and other structures casting shade over your roof is one of the most common solar panel problems Aussies come across.

Regardless if they’re on flat roofs, sloped roofs, or even ground-mounted solar panels, shade reduces the efficiency of your solar system. In turn, this compromises energy generation.

This is a problem because you become more reliant on the grid than you should be. Ultimately, you will be paying the power companies more than you should and you will save less money.

Solution:

  • Trim any trees or other plants that are blocking sunlight from your PV panels. If you don’t want to do this, then move them away from the shade-casting structures. This could mean installing solar panels on another part of your roof, or in a different area of your property.

Get 3 Solar Quotes From Quality Local Installers.

4. Dust, bird droppings, and other debris reduce energy production

Dust, bird droppings, and other debris cause the same problem as shading, which is reduced efficiency. They act as a barrier between your solar cells and sunlight which, again, reduces the amount of energy your system produces.

Ultimately, this also means that you’re not getting the most out of your rooftop solar panels. The energy your system supposedly would have provided for free, you now have to buy from the grid.

Solution:

  • Regularly clean your solar panels. This can easily be done by spraying water over your solar panels with a regular garden hose. If your solar panels generally don’t get too dirty, though, rain and gravity will do the job for you.

P.S.: The above solution will only work if your solar panels were installed at an angle. This brings us to the next problem.

5. Poorly oriented solar panels cause reduced efficiency.

Where your panels are facing and what angle they’re tilted at will also affect their efficiency and power output. In contrast, south-facing solar panels are generally a bad idea.

As Australia is in the southern hemisphere, installing solar panels facing north is generally best for maximum solar power output.

On the other hand, the tilt of your solar panels will depend on where you live. The bullets below show the ideal angle of solar panels for each Australian state but, as a rule of thumb, 10°–30° is a safe range.

Ideal angle orientation of solar panels

Solution:

  • Properly plan your system before you install solar panels. A properly trained and experienced one should know all about the best orientations and angles for your home. And, if your solar roof doesn’t have the optimal pitch, they have solutions (mounts) for that, too.

Recommended: What direction should solar panels face?

6. Strong winds damage solar panels and mounts

The worst-case scenario is that strong gusts of wind lift entire solar modules off your roof, carrying them away like huge kites.

A better-but-still-bad scenario is high winds vibrating your solar system, loosening the mounts, and causing electrical wiring issues. Ultimately, these cases can damage your solar panels and cut their lifespan short.

Solution:

  • Again, work with CEC-accredited installers with great reputations. These guys don’t get their recognition without the proper training and expertise.
  • On your end, regularly check ALL the components of your solar panels. Alternatively, you can hire people to do that for you, too. Also, check with your roof’s warranty on what they say about mechanically mounted solar panels.

Get 3 Solar Quotes From Quality Local Installers.

FAQs:

Are solar panels bad for your roof?

No, solar panels shouldn’t be bad for your roof provided that your roof was in good condition before the installation. Additionally, hiring a CEC-accredited professional will help ensure that you don’t suffer the consequences of improper installation.

Do I need to tell my electricity supplier I have solar panels?

If your system is connected to the grid (as most Australian-owned systems are), then yes, you should tell your electricity supplier. Power coming from your system also needs to be metered so you can enjoy feed-in-tariffs. It’s also for the safety of their linemen in case of repair.

Why do people say no to solar panels?

From what I can tell, people say no to solar panels because of the high upfront costs and the solar industry’s previous reputation. Luckily, the upfront costs are now offset by several government incentives while the notoriety for poor workmanship is fixed by the CEC.

Conclusion

As you can see, many of the most common issues with rooftop solar panels can be prevented if you hire a trustworthy installer and buy your components from reputable solar companies.

So, during your planning process, I highly encourage you to be in talks with a CEC-accredited professional. After all, they’re a large part of why the solar industry has been booming as of late.

If you don’t know where you can find these installers, don’t worry. We have a network of pre-vetted installers that can help. We can even get you 3 FREE quotes right now.