If you’re considering solar panels or recently installed solar panels, you’ll want your new solar system to perform at its full potential. But if you’re like many people, you don’t know how to tell what your solar panels are doing, let alone if they’re working as well as they should. In this blog, we’ll show you how to check if your solar panels are working properly and what to do if they’re not.
Solar panels generally require little maintenance, but there are some steps you can take to help make sure everything works. Here are five simple ways to check if your solar panels are up and running at maximum efficiency.
Check the Inverter
The inverter is what most people refer to as the “brains” of a solar system. It’s the part that converts direct current (DC) energy into alternating current (AC) electricity, which your home can use. There are two main types of inverters: string inverters and micro-inverters. You can check with your solar company to know which kind you have, but usually micro-inverters are very small and attached to the back of solar panels. A string inverter will be found in a different location and be much bigger.
Most inverters have indicator lights that will show you how the inverter is performing. If you’re seeing an orange or red light, your solar panels might not be working properly, and you should reach out to your solar installer.
Another great way to tell if your solar system is working well is to see what energy it’s producing. But how do I know how much electricity my solar panels are generating? Most solar systems come with a physical solar meter or an app to track solar output. However you monitor your solar system, you’ll want to check the kilowatt-hours. If the kilowatt-hours are increasing, your solar system is performing. If it’s not increasing, you might want to reach out to your solar provider sooner rather than later.
Watch the Weather
The weather is one of the biggest factors that can affect how much solar power your solar panels produce. Rain, snow, or wind debris can reduce how much power your panels produce and can affect whether or not you’re able to tell if your solar panels are working properly. If your power production is lower, check the weather to see if that might be the culprit. If you live in a cloudy area, the good news is that you can still get enough solar power from your panels. It’s all about how much power your system produces over an entire year. Additionally, your solar panels might experience partial shading during the day due to growing trees and new buildings that can cause them to underperform. In this case, consult with your solar company to potentially move your solar panels for optimum performance.
Pay Attention to Your Electric Bill
Your electric bill is another way to check if your system is working properly. If your solar panels are working, your electric bill should be lower. Electric bills do fluctuate depending on the day-to-day production of your solar panels, but over time, you should be paying less to your electricity company. If your electric bills are too high for too long, your solar panels may not be performing as well as they should, and you should reach out to your installer.
Check with Your Solar Company
If you’re unsure of how your panels are performing, you can reach out to your solar company to see if they’re working properly.
What To Do If They Aren't Working
What do you do if your solar panels aren’t working properly? There are a couple of fixes to look at if you find something wrong:
Check the breaker switches.
Just like with a computer or phone, you might try turning it off and on again to resolve the problem. For solar panels, you can perform a similar trick by checking the breaker switches and turning them on and off again.
Check if there’s something covering your solar panels and remove it. Sometimes fallen leaves are the culprit, and brushing them off can get your solar production going.
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