Troubleshooting Common Problems with a Solar Panel System

Since there aren’t many parts that are necessary for a solar panel system to run, there aren’t many ways for a solar panel system to fail. In fact, if your solar panel system is installed properly, you shouldn’t have many chances to tinker with it. However, like everything else, a solar panel system can experience some problems with light production. If your solar panel system is not producing properly, you can troubleshoot it to determine the cause of the problem. 

Do a Shading Test

Solar panels require full exposure to light to produce a robust light in the home. If you have noticed that the light production is not as high as normal, you can perform a shade test to determine which of your panels if operating below par. In order to complete a shade test you only need to cover a small portion of the solar panel in question. You can use any item from around your home, such as a large hat or pillow. You will place the object over the panel to shade it from full exposure to light. You will then check to see if the panel is producing less light. Those that do produce less light are sound. The panel that doesn’t respond to the shade test, is the panel that needs repair. 

Check the Wiring

More times than not, the problem with your solar panel system is due to faulty wiring. If you installed the system yourself, you can immediately grab your wiring diagram and check each connection. If you don’t find any connections that were done improperly, you can then look for loose connections, corrosion or oxidation. 

Loose connections, corrosion or oxidation can cause the electrical system to be compromised. A compromised system often doesn’t produce adequate light. If you find loose connections, you should tighten them. If there is oxidation or corrosion, you will need to remove the damaged areas and install new metal parts. 

Check for Heat Fade

Heat fade is when the heat of the sun causes the solar panel system to overheat. Once the system is overheating, you will not get full light production inside your home. If heat fade is the culprit, you will notice a great difference in your system when the sun is at its peak temperature. 

If you believe that heat fade is the cause of your solar panel system’s problems, you will need to check for poor wire connections or wire that is too small. If you have to replace the wire, you need to use the heaviest gauge wire that the system will support.

Replace Burnt Terminals

Just like a car battery, solar panel system battery terminals can burn out. When you examine the terminal, you will more than likely find signs of oxidation. This is a sign of a burnt terminal. You will need to replace all metal parts in the terminal. 
A burnt terminal can be cause by wiring too many panels to one terminal. If you have many panels and just one terminal, you should consider adding a new terminal.