October 11, 2021

How to test if your solar panels are working properly

Discover how your solar panels can be tested to ensure maximum efficiency.

Solar panels need to be regularly tested to ensure they are working at full capacity.

Are you sure your solar panels are performing as well as they should?

Testing your solar panels from time to time is crucial for keeping track of how much solar energy your panels are actually producing.

Testing will make sure you’re alerted to any variables that may cause issues with your solar panels’ performance. These can range from an overgrown branch obscuring sunlight, poor positioning for optimal exposure to the sun or a build-up of dirt and grime on the surface of the panel.

By periodically testing the efficiency of your solar panels, you can ensure they continue to produce enough energy for you and your family.

Measure solar system performance

Your estimated solar output can be calculated by adding up the combined wattage of your solar panels, multiplying this number by the average hours of sunlight where you live and then deducting 25 percent from this total for variables for your solar system’s approximate daily watt-hours.

In order to compare this figure with the actual amount of electricity being generated, you’ll need the following equipment is available at most hardware or automotive stores for reasonable prices.

  • Amp meter
  • Multimeter

Step-by-step instructions for testing whether your solar panels are generating electricity

  1. Measure your solar panels’ amperage by attaching your amp meter to the positive and negative terminals of each solar panel at the daily peak of their exposure to sunlight. Take note of the readings.
  2. Locate your solar panel’s junction/converter box and remove the cover to expose the positive and negative connectors.
  3. Set your multimeter to read DC power, and make sure the device is set to measure voltage levels higher than whatever voltage rating your panel has so it can provide an accurate reading.
  4. Connect the positive and negative clips of your multimeter to the corresponding connectors on the solar panel, and note the voltage reading. Once you’ve taken the reading, be sure to switch the multimeter off before disconnecting it from the panel.

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