Testing PV Panel Efficiency/Output

Reply

  #1  
Old 01-22-10, 11:20 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: alaska
Posts: 49
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Testing PV Panel Efficiency/Output

Howdy, hope this is the right place to post this question.
Have an "off grid" friend that thinks his PV panel is "wore out".
Do they "wear out" and if so, why? If not, How do I test these
panels for efficiency/output? Thanks.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 01-24-10, 08:56 AM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 13,666
Received 223 Votes on 196 Posts
First off I know nothing about PV panels. In fact I googled "PV panel" just to find out what your talking about.

I would think that Photovoltaic Panels would not wear out since there are no moving parts. You should be able to test the output of the panel(s) with a meter. If he is having problems, I would suspect the storage batteries or the charging system is failing,
 
  #3  
Old 01-25-10, 11:14 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: alaska
Posts: 49
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the reply, Tolyn. I also think the panels are ok. I
think the problem lies in the gauge of wire from panel to
charger, and possibly a problem with the charger itself.
Batteries are only one year old. Four 6 volt deep cycle wired
for 12 volt input/output.
 
  #4  
Old 01-26-10, 01:00 PM
I
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,943
Received 43 Votes on 41 Posts
I think you would need to check with the panel manufacturer as all PV panels are different. They make them in efficiencies anywhere from 5% up to 30% (maybe higher)? So I can't image there's a one-size-fits-all test.

I know the expected service life of PV panels is like 25-30 years, so there might some warranty issue at stake if the panels really are under-performing.

With a proper charger and storage environment, batteries should last at least 3-5 years so it is suspicious that they would be bad already. If you don't have a float charger or if the batteries are kept too hot or cold I could see them failing in a year. If the batteries aren't sealed (maintenance free), the electrolyte might need to be checked.
 
  #5  
Old 01-28-10, 11:29 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: alaska
Posts: 49
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks for reply, ibpooks.
This guy has 12ga. solid wire running from three PV Panels to
the charger, about a 30ft. run. I'm thinking of running 8ga.
stranded, what do you think? This summer the whole enchilada
is going to be upgraded, but he would like to keep the panels,
if possible. I think the peripherals of the system are the
biggest problem-i.e. charger, wiring, terminal blocks (lack of).
Batteries should be in really good shape, but will have them
load tested at my friendly neighborhood NAPA just to make
sure.
 
  #6  
Old 01-29-10, 09:45 AM
I
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,943
Received 43 Votes on 41 Posts
We would have to know the panels' output ratings (voltage, power, and/or current) to know if the wire size is appropriate. Also are the three panels wired in series or parallel?

Is there an inverter or is this a completely off-grid DC system? What types of loads / appliances does your friend run?
 
  #7  
Old 01-29-10, 11:32 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: alaska
Posts: 49
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Panels wired parallel, will get specs this weekend. Off grid,
inverter, generator backup, loads are lighting for the most part.
Has a small 12v water pump. Will get load on that for you.
Right now, lights are 120v but he wants to run all the lights
12v and I have already introduced and impressed him with LED
technology so he wants all lighting 12v LED. There will also be
two 12v fans like computer cooling fans, for bathroom and
range hood. Anyway, I'll get as much info for you as I can and
try to post it Sunday night-Monday morning. Any links you have
for 12v LED lighting for the budget concious?
 
  #8  
Old 02-16-10, 04:57 PM
TTASHA's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: usa
Posts: 176
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
a female reply about solar

I purchased a video showing how terribly easy it was to make & install your OWN SOLAR PANELS CHEAPLY. The video cost only about $60 that shows you/me how to do it.

I realized after watching the video that this was NOT a home project. It requires so much more including the licensing.

The more I learned about licensing in Florida, the more I knew
it would be stupid to do it without licensed professionals.

I also think the only way to justify the cost is to be attached to the Grid. Also realize that this payback will not be immediate.

I did purchase a 5kw system so I should be able to tell you how it saves me money. I think will, I think it will, I think it will. I have only had it installed a part of one month.

Check back and I will let you know how this works.
 
Reply
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: