ReVision Energy has installed thousands of solar photovoltaic (PV) projects for Solar Champions across New England. Our solar energy systems are efficient and typically require little to no maintenance. However, it is a good idea to keep an eye on your system so you notice any changes in efficiency.
Understanding how your system works will help you troubleshoot when something goes wrong. Use our resources below to familiarize yourself with your solar and use our solar system troubleshooting guides and FAQs below to find solutions to common problems.
While solar systems can vary in design and installation, all of ReVision Energy's installed systems are made up of the following components:
We highly recommend our Solar Champions get to know their system and where their components are located so that they can be prepared to identify any issues that may arise. One of our service technicians offers a walkthrough of a basic solar PV system:
A well-designed solar system can happily produce solar power for years without any issue. However, things can happen internally or externally to affect the production of your system, and it isn't always easy to tell what is wrong.
The simplest way to check on the health of your system is to look at the color of the lights on your inverter on a sunny day, when the system should be happily generating solar power. A green light on your inverter means your system is functioning properly.
Another way to check that your system is operating correctly is to look at the production meter. You could write down the number on the meter once a week (or even once a month) to see how much energy you're producing.
Many solar owners rely solely on their electricity bill to indicate any problems with their solar system, but we don't recommend this. While it does provide a rough overview of production, it is not a reliable source for evaluating your system's health. Here's why:
The first step is to think about whether there has been any increase in home electricity usage in recent months. Did you get any new appliances, or start working from home?
The utility only measures generation in excess of what is used in the home during the sunny hours. If everything checks out and you still can’t explain the bills, you should make sure that the utility meter is working as a net meter should. To do this, you can test the meter:
This will let you know the meter is Net Metering. If there is an issue with the net metering set-up, you will need to contact your utility; we cannot make that correction.
*The proper way to turn the solar off is to turn the DC disconnect switch on the inverter to the "Off" position, then flip the AC disconnect breaker to the "Off" position. To turn it back on, do the reverse: Turn the AC disconnect breaker to the "On" position, then turn the DC disconnect switch on the inverter to the "On" position. It may take up to 10 minutes for the inverter to fully power on again, and it is best to do this when the sun is shining on the array.
In New England, solar panels will yield the highest production during the summer months, followed by fall and spring. As the angle of the sun changes throughout the year relative to your roof and panels, it affects the amount of energy your solar panels can produce.
Peak operation occurs during a few weeks in the spring when the weather is cool and there is minimal shade from leafy trees. At this time of year your system may exhibit 'clipping.'
Graph above shows the effect of clipping. When the B area of lost production due to clipping starts to exceed the area of added production A & C by over-driving the inverter, then we would recommend the next size up in inverter capacity.
Solar inverter clipping occurs when solar panels generate more power than an inverter can handle. Systems are intentionally designed for clipping because it maximizes production during the majority of the year. It ensures that production happens during lower-light situations or with less-than-perfect panel orientation.
In the spring, pollen may settle on the panels, but it will wash away with the morning dew, or in light rain. There is no need to clean your panels unless build-up is severe (see FAQs below).
Normal debris will wash away in rain, if you have debris accumulating on or under the array, keep an eye out for nesting animals and notify us if you see evidence of animals living under the array.
Leaves and pollen will slide off the array in rainy conditions. This is another prime production season.
When the array is covered in snow, it cannot produce power. The array is designed to account for snowy winter days, and this “lost” production time is compensated for during the clear, sunnier months. You should not attempt to clear snow and ice from the panels.
The inverter will stop producing power when it senses a grid outage in order to protect line workers. When the power comes back on, the inverter should resume production. If it doesn’t, please check for tripped breakers.
Sometimes a power outage disconnects the internet. In this case, if your system does not come back online when the power comes on, please try resetting your internet connection on your inverter by following the troubleshooting guides below.
If you are concerned that your system is not functioning properly, the best thing to do is power-cycle or reset your system using our manufacturer-specific guides below.
We recommend resetting your communication system and inverter before contacting our service team as it may save you time and money. If resetting your system does not solve your issue, take a look at our FAQs below before contacting our support team.
If you are seeing issues with your system's production on your app or online monitoring, there may be a problem with the flow of information from your inverter to your internet router. Resetting your communication can often solve any data issues due to a broken connection or lost Wi-Fi signal.
Here are the TP-Link reset instructions:
If this does not reconnect your monitoring, a hard reset of your internet router is recommended.
Keep in mind that TPLinks need to be plugged in directly to a wall outlet, a power-strip or extension cord will disrupt the signal.
If the power light is SOLID green, then we should just need to reset the Zigbee (aka SolarEdge gateway) connection. The solid green light would indicate that your system is still producing, it's just simply not reporting to the monitoring portal.
On occasion, the inverter can lose the monitoring connection that is established by the Zigbee. Below are the instructions to reset that gateway. I've also included a couple of images of the Zigbee below for reference along with the step-by-step directions. We also have a helpful video that walks through these steps here: Zigbee Power Cycle
After cycling, it may take until the next day for production data to start reporting again. Please reach out to our team if you have any questions.
How to reset your WiFi Zigbee Gateway:
Here's how to reset your WiFi Extender:
If you suspect your system is not performing the way it should, a simple power-cycle will often solve the issue. Completing a system reset may clear the issue and get your inverter back online, with no need to pay for a service visit. Please select your inverter manufacturer and use our guide to reset your system:
If you have a SolarEdge HD Wave or A-US Inverter displaying error codes or a SetApp inverter displaying a red fault light, then power cycling is a good next step. There are some error codes (Ground Faults and Isolation Errors) where it does not make sense for safety reasons. In those cases, contact ReVision's Customer Support team.
Please go to your inverter to confirm whether the green power light is illuminated during the day.
If the power light is SOLID green, indicating production, please skip to the section below about the gateway reset.
If the power light is NOT SOLID green - blinking or off would mean no production - please power cycle the inverter:
The inverter will start to turn back on and may take a few minutes to reboot. Please wait 10 minutes before checking the lights and screens for errors. You should see the main screen as normal or the red fault light clear once the reboot is complete with no error message.
If this does not resolve the issue, please contact our Customer Support team. If your inverter has a screen, please take a photo of any error messages that display while the inverter is rebooting and include them in your service ticket.
We recommend using Enphase's comprehensive troubleshooting guide for any issues with your system: Enphase System Troubleshooting Guide
ReVision installs SMA Sunny Boy inverters for many ground mount systems. If you have an SMA Sunny Boy inverter, use the guide below to troubleshoot error messages and reset your inverter.
If you are seeing Ground/Earth Faults or Isolation Errors, do not attempt to power cycle your device because of electrical hazards. Please contact our Customer Support Team.
After these steps, the inverter will start to turn back on and may take a couple minutes to reboot. You should see the main screen as normal once the reboot is complete with no error message. If the issue persists, please contact our Customer Support Team.
An important part of understanding your solar array is to understand that your net meter records only energy that is exported to the grid. Energy that is used immediately on site, as it is produced (running your refrigerator for example) is never recorded on the net meter, because it is used in real-time!
That production is still recorded by your solar inverter, but will not appear as an export to the utility. This is why you'll see a higher number of production in your online monitoring than on your record with the utility.
On older systems we’ve installed (2017 or older) you may have an additional piece of equipment called an AC production meter. The AC production meter generally has a stricter tolerances for what it records as energy, so may differ slightly from the solar inverter’s monitoring on these systems.
SolarEdge and most modern inverters now offer ‘revenue grade monitoring’ (important for RECs, which we talk about below) so we don’t install AC production meters on as many projects anymore.
99% of the time if your online dashboard is down, your system is still working normally. Solar panels, unlike the internet, are quite reliable! Look at the lights on your inverter to see the issue based on the light color (green, blue, or red). At the top of this page we list the errors indicated by the lights.
The most common reasons your solar array stopped talking to the internet dashboard:
See our service videos (scroll down to PV service) for walkthroughs on rebooting the most common equipment we install.
Nope! Thankfully we live in a climate where it rains often enough that we don’t have to worry about dust or pollen build-up on the panels. We also don’t recommend cleaning snow off your array. Because the panels are black and glass, they act like a metal roof or car windshield and the snow will typically melt and slide off all at once after a few hours. We take regional snow coverage into account when we size your array, so even if you lose a few days of production every winter to snow, you should still be hitting your annual clean energy goals.
We have a whole article about solar panels in the winter; you can read it here!
Clean solar panels help ensure your solar project generate optimal electricity. REC and Q CELL panels are designed for minimal maintenance, however dust, pollen, leaves, and other particles can find their way onto the panel surfaces. We do our best to install our solar projects at sufficient angles, so that regular levels of rainfall should clean panels naturally without requiring intervention.
If pollen or dust lingers for several days, you can use a hose to gently spray down your panels to help wash away the debris. We don't recommend trying to clean your panels using chemicals, sharp objects or abrasive cloths as you might harm the surface. Always be safe and don't lean on or apply pressure to your panels as this can cause damage to them.
If you need to clean your panels, keep the following in mind:
You can find more information about cleaning your panels in this PDF.
If solar trackers detect severe weather (cold, high winds), it will go flat.