Solar panels offer sustainable energy solutions, however, there may be concerns if they don’t generate sufficient electricity. This can lead you to question – why are my solar panels not producing enough power? While weather conditions could be the most common reason, we will explain other causes as well as their solutions in this article.
Why Are My Solar Panels Not Producing Enough Power?
Installing solar panels is a wise investment to maximize long-term electricity savings. However, it can be concerning when these panels do not generate as much power as initially anticipated. Solar owners who monitor their system’s monitoring application and power bills are usually faster to notice when there is a drop in energy production.
Solar Panels Not Working
There are numerous possible causes of failure of the solar panels. Physical damage is the most typical cause, which can occur as a result of extreme weather, faulty installation, or accidents. Panels can also fail owing to electrical issues such as poor wiring or inappropriate connections.
In a typical arrangement, each solar panel is linked in series with the others. It implies that the current generated by each panel passes through the system’s other panels. As a result, if one panel provides less current than other panels, it has no effect on the overall operation of the system.
To combat these issues, first, you need to check your warranty to see whether it covers panel failures, which most do. The faulty panel will need to be replaced. A professional solar installer or electrician can do this. After replacing the faulty panel, you should monitor your system’s general performance to ensure that everything is functioning properly.
To understand why your solar panels are not producing enough power in detail, take a look at the reasons mentioned below.
1. Sunlight Obstruction
Any object or construction that prevents direct sunlight from reaching the solar panels is considered an obstruction of sunlight. This can include trees, houses, and other things around solar panels. If your solar panels are not generating as much power as they used to, look for new blockages that did not present when you established your system.
Possible Solutions: In order to increase the efficiency of solar panels, it is crucial to address the issue of tree shading. This can be achieved by either strategically trimming or repositioning the panels to optimize their exposure to direct sunlight. Instead of removing entire trees, you can tend to restore your solar panels’ access to the sun by trimming overgrown branches or plants.
Also See: Is My Roof Suitable for Solar Panels?
2. Plate’s Positioning
The angle of inclination might be inaccurate which could leave you wondering, why are our solar panels not producing enough power? The angle of inclination plays an important role in defining the power output of solar panels. The panels should be oriented such that they receive the most direct sunshine. Panels that are facing east or west may obtain less sunshine and hence produce less power.
Solution: If the panels are installed on a flat roof, they must also be tilted towards the sky in order to capture the most sunlight. The tilt angle is the angle at which the solar panels are mounted. The tilt angle of the solar panels should be regulated to fit the latitude of the installation location. Moreover, the seasonal tilt for solar panels ensures that the panels are angled correctly to gather maximum sunshine throughout the year.
3. Dust or Dirt on Solar Panels
Tree SAP, bird droppings, shadow, dust, and filth all have the potential to diminish output. Any dirt that has gathered on your solar panels will normally be washed away by rain. However, if your solar panels are filthy—say, after a dust storm—they may require cleaning.
It is absolutely essential to exercise extreme caution when cleaning the panels yourself instead of when enlisting the help of a solar expert. Failing to do so might lead to possible damage to your valuable solar panels. Cleaning your solar panels with high water force or coarse cleaning material could lead to scratches. This further leads to decreasing the overall output of your solar panels.
Physical damage to the panels, like fractures, scratches, or broken cells, might reduce their effectiveness. Furthermore, if the panels are subjected to extreme weather conditions such as hail or high winds, they may be destroyed and must be replaced.
Solution: Ensuring optimal power generation from solar panels and the solar panel system requires regular maintenance, including cleaning, inspection, and timely repairs. A gentle brush and a mild detergent solution can be used to clean. Although some of us may try to clean our solar panels ourselves, it is important to realize that relying on experienced professionals with the right tools and knowledge is the best way to go about it. By doing so, we ensure that our solar panels receive a thorough and safe cleansing, without any potential damage to the panels or individuals involved.
4. Insufficient System Size
Insufficient system size refers to a solar panel system that falls short of meeting the electricity needs of a building or residence due to its inadequate size. This could also be a reason why your solar panels are not producing enough power. Moreover, to keep track of your solar power, you must know the amount of electricity your solar panels are generating. As a result of this inadequate system size, energy bills may rise and reliance on traditional energy sources may increase.
Solutions: Accurately determining the size of a solar panel system is essential for maximizing performance and satisfying the energy needs of a building or residence. Additionally, regular monitoring of energy consumption is crucial to maintain the system’s effectiveness and suitability in the long run. To ensure optimal power generation, new panels or an upgrade to a larger system may be required.
5. Weather Effects
Solar panels are made to work in specified temperature ranges. The solar panels will continue to operate even if the temperature gets too cold or too hot. This might result in either slow or abrupt voltage decreases. Cloudy conditions and shading can both reduce the power output of solar panels. It is crucial to note that solar panels are specifically designed to generate the highest amount of electricity on sunny days. However, even on overcast or partially cloudy days, they are still competent of producing a significant amount of power.
Solution: To optimize power generation, it is essential to regularly evaluate for potential shading and to have a realistic understanding of power generation on overcast days.
6. Age Degradation or System Damage
The main deterioration mechanism impacting PV modules during their years of operation is aging. This deterioration mechanism is an outcome of modules being exposed to rain, snow, harsh temperatures, hail, dirt, and other outside factors over a long period of time. Solar panels depreciate with time, resulting in less power output from a similar amount of sunlight.
Solution: Although the degradation of solar power systems is unavoidable, it is critical to understand why they worsen over time. Understanding their life cycle allows you to set expectations and make the most of your excellent long-term investment. Innovations and developments emerge to reduce the deterioration rate while maintaining power production.
7. Fault in Wires
Look for frayed or dangling wires. There could be a blown fuse elsewhere as well. Even if the sun is shining, any of these can cause a voltage drop and decrease output. Frayed wires are extremely harmful since they might ignite a fire or just stop operating.
Solution: Tighten any loose cables as soon as possible. To maintain optimal functioning, you can also substitute with new solar panel wire cables.
If interested, check out Solar Cable Size Selection Guide For PV Plants.
8. Malfunction of the Inverter
The critical role of your solar inverter is to convert the direct current (DC) electricity produced by your solar panels into the alternating current (AC) electricity that powers our homes and buildings. If your inverter fails to convert DC to AC electricity, you will be unable to utilize the power generated by your solar panels.
Solution: Solar inverters have a shorter lifespan compared to solar panels. Therefore, it is not uncommon for your inverter to fail while your panels are still performing well. To ensure a prompt resolution to your solar inverter malfunction, it is recommended that you contact the company from which you purchased the inverters. They will provide professional servicing and diagnose the underlying issue. An expert solar expert will know what problems to look for and will be able to swiftly determine what is erroneous with your solar inverter.
For a complete guide, go through the 32 Troubleshooting Solar Inverter Problems and Solutions.
Although we have examined all possible reasons for the malfunctioning of your solar panels, we cannot dismiss the possibility of internal complications within your solar panel system. Therefore, it would be wise to consider seeking the assistance of a professional solar panel expert.
Now you are familiarized with the possible reasons why your solar panels are not producing enough power and solutions for the same. Though you can try fixing the problems yourself, still considering a solar panel expert is a better idea. For more interesting solar topics, click here.