Troubleshooting Solar Panel Problems

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Troubleshooting Solar Panel Problems

If your solar energy system isn’t producing the electricity that you were promised it would, don’t panic it may not be that the panel is at fault. There are a number of ways of troubleshooting solar panel problems which you can do yourself before you resort to calling out an engineer.

Are the panels in the right position?

Your panels need to be situated so that they receive the maximum amount of exposure possible to the sun. As the sun moves through the seasons, so you panels will need to be adjusted. As many as three times is recommended but once you’ve done it one year, you can use a compass to note the direction they face where they generate the most power which makes it easier for the next year.

If your panels aren’t adjustable, may sure that they’re facing due south if you’re in the northern hemisphere and due north if you’re in the southern hemisphere. Never position them facing straight up as the sun is never directly overhead unless you live on the equator.

The best panels are those with an automatic tracking system which makes the panels revolve as the sun moves round. This is ideal because you can make use of every scrap of sunshine.

Are your panels clean?

If the glass of your panels is dirty then they will be unable to absorb sunlight so they will need to be cleaned regularly with a soft, damp cloth or even a proprietary window cleaning product. Be sure not to leave streaks as these too will inhibit sunlight absorption.

Is it cloudy?

Clouds diffuse the rays of the sun and although technology has made great advances in enabling solar panels to still collect energy from a cloudy sky, the efficiency will be much reduced, to as little as 30 percent. You may even find that you will need to use “ordinary” electricity or a backup generator. If you live somewhere where it is often cloudy then buying a solar system will never pay for itself.

Is there anything in the way?

Even something as small as a leaf will obstruct the panels’ ability to collect energy from the sun so make sure that there are no trees, bushes, buildings or anything else shading even the tiniest part of your solar panels so make sure there’s nothing in the way.

Have your panels been damaged?

Check your panels for damage from hail, lightning or flying debris. If the glass is cracked or broken, it can be replaced but make sure that there isn’t any moisture between the glass and the crystal inside. Severely damaged panels will need to be replaced.

Is there something wrong with the wiring connections?

Check the cable connections between the panels and the batteries and the batteries and your house. If they are in any way loose or faulty, they should be tightened or replaced.

Are the batteries holding their charge?

Test the batteries to make sure that they’re accepting and holding the electricity generated by the solar panels.

If you’ve checked all the above common solar panel problems and your solar system still isn’t generating the power you expect, consult with the installer or, if you installed the system yourself, the manufacturer.


This entry was posted on Saturday, September 1st, 2012 at 6:14 am and is filed under Solar Panels Common Issues. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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