How To Figure Out If Your Solar Panels Are Producing Solar Power

Jessica PirroMarch 19, 20209981

How To Figure Out If Your Solar Panels Are Producing Solar Power

When it comes to getting a solar panel installation it is important to know about what is going to happen after the solar panel installation is complete. For instance, what happens if my solar panels stop working? It is recommended that homeowners contact their solar installer.

But the bigger question is, how can you tell if your solar panels aren’t working? There are a few different ways for homeowners to tell if your solar power system isn’t working.

Check the Weather

First things first, you are going to want to check the weather. Weather plays a big part when it comes to how much soar power your solar panels are going to generate.

The regular utility grid is going to still generate power when its cloudy and raining, solar power systems will as well, just at a lower capacity. When there are stormy and cloudy days, you can expect your solar panels to generate around 10 to 25 percent of the solar power system's normal capacity. If you live in an area that sees a lot of winter storms, don’t let that get you down! A few cloudy days out of the year aren’t going to have that much of an impact on your solar power generation, what will matter the most is going to be how much sun your solar panel installation gets throughout the entire year.

Keep in mind, that solar panels are built to handle a variety of different weather conditions. Solar panels are going to be able to generate solar power even if you aren’t getting direct sunlight on the solar panels. When your solar panels do get direct sunlight, obviously the solar panel's power output is going to be much better than when they don’t, but they still will produce a little bit of solar power. If you notice a significant decrease in the production of your solar panels and you know that your solar power system is getting direct sunlight you are going to want to be sure to contact your solar installer.

Check Your Solar Panels

If you think that there is an issue with your solar panels, and the weather shouldn’t be an issue, check your solar panels. Go (safely) take a look at your solar panels and see if there is any dust, dirt, bird droppings, or leaves on the panels.

If you do live in an area that gets a lot of rain, the dirt shouldn’t be an issue, and most homeowners aren’t going to need to clean their solar panels that often. But if there does happen to be a tree near the area, sap may end up falling on the solar panels, and there is the possibility that the bird droppings get stuck on the solar panels. If you do see dirt and grime stuck on the solar panels, you should consider hosing off your solar panels, especially if you live in an area where it doesn’t rain often. If you don’t want hose off your solar panel installation, you can contact your solar installer and they will either come out and clean it or they can recommend someone that will come out and clean it for you.

Say there isn’t anything on the solar panels, check and see if there is any new structures or trees that are shading your solar panels.

If the solar panels are connected by a string inverter, what affects one of the solar panels is going to affect all of the solar panels. So, if there’s a new structure or tree that is shading one of the solar panels every one of the solar panels in the solar panel installation will be affected.

Take a Look at Your Solar Inverter

Sometimes if the solar power output decreases and the solar panels seem to be functioning normally, you should check out the solar inverter. The solar inverter is considered to be the brains of the option. The solar inverter is responsible for converting the direct current that is generated by the solar panels, into usable AC solar power for your house.

Right now there are two main kinds of solar inverters that are on the market. The string inverters and micro-inverters. If you aren’t sure what kind of solar inverter that you have, the easiest way to find out will be by checking your paperwork. But, if you don’t have access to it and your solar installer is busy, you can look and see the size of the solar inverter. In general, string inverters are going to be a lot bigger than micro-inverters. With the string inverters, all of the solar panels are going to be connected to one inverter. However, with micro-inverters, they are going to be small solar inverters that will be attached to the back of each solar panel. Most micro-inverters are also going to come with monitoring equipment.

Monitor Your Solar Panels

Nowadays most of the modern systems are going to come equipped with a solar monitoring system. Most of the solar monitoring systems are going to offer an app that you can download to check your solar power systems output numbers. These apps will let you see how much solar power your solar panel installation is generating, real-time, through a dashboard or a display. This is going to make monitoring your solar power system and finding any issues a much quicker and easier process.

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