SPIS Toolbox - Implement Maintenance Routines

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3. Implement Maintenance Routines

Visual check of the solar panels (Source: Lennart Woltering)

Once the maintenance plan is in place and the responsible persons identified, the maintenance should become a routine.

Critical regular maintenance activities are:

1. Check daily if the system is working. If the pump is not working:

  1. check the water source and pipes (any dirt, blockage, enough water?);
  2. check the electronics (any burned parts, loose wires, emergency lights?).

2. Inspect the system once a week with respect to:

  1. energy generated by PV system;
  2. pump performance (pumping rate);
  3. condition of water source (purity of water);
  4. condition of controller and electronics (visible signs of malfunctioning);
  5. blockage of drip emitters;
  6. condition of water storage facility and pipes (leaks, water level);
  7. condition of solar panels and their mounting system (stability, cleanliness).

3. Clean solar panels every two to four weeks:

  1. clean water and a little scrubbing with a cloth covered sponge or soft brush should remove the most persistent grime;
  2. clean in the early morning or late evening, when panels are cool;
  3. do not step or walk on the panels as they could be damaged.

Note: Hot panels should not be sprayed with cold water – they might crack!

4. Throughout the year (every two to three months) the PV system should be checked thoroughly so that:

  1. no plants grow close to the panel, the mounting structure, water source, controller, junction box, etc.;
  2. there is no shade on the panels (plants, poles, fences etc.), so as to permit maximum radiation;
  3. the fencing of the solar array is not damaged;
  4. the mounting structures are stable.

In addition, the reservoir should be cleaned and the irrigation system should be flushed regularly.

Note: Inspect your system always after strong winds, hail storms, lightning or earthquakes have occurred in your region.

After the first experience with a particular maintenance plan, the timing and frequency of maintenance can be adapted to suit the local conditions and capacities of the producer.

Note: Call your technology provider (panels, pumping, and controller) or electrician (electronics) who installed the system for help – this should be part of the service contract.



  • Producers /producer groups;
  • Agricultural advisors;
  • Technology and service providers (electricians, companies providing solar powered systems).

Important Issues & Decisions

  • Maintaining an SPIS does not require advanced technical skills and the overall effort is relatively low, when compared to other technologies.
  • It is important to establish inspection and maintenance routines and to schedule them as part of the work plan of the farm.

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