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Everything You Need To Know About Troubleshooting Solar Panels

Everything You Need To Know About Troubleshooting Solar Panels

Are you one of those who recently switched to solar power use? Or do you own a set of VoltX solar panels and are currently experiencing a few issues with their performance? Whichever one you are, we have a handy guide for you in case you need a quick fix for your solar panels to ensure maximum efficiency.

Solar panels can be quite tricky especially if it's your first time using them. Below are some of the usual questions regarding folding solar panels, flexible solar panels, or fixed solar panels and how to solve them:

Why is there no voltage from my solar panel?
How do I get an optimum charge for my solar panel?
Why is my solar panel's voltage too high?
Do solar panels work in cloudy weather or in shade?
Why does my solar panel produce low to zero output?
How do I check if my regulator is working?
My solar panel has lower output than advertised.
Common Solar Panel Issues and What to Do With Them

Measure the voltage directly from the junction box of each solar panel. If there's no voltage from the terminal, look inside the junction box and make sure that the connection is fine.

If there's nothing wrong with it and there is still no output, try to remove the diode to check if the power is passing through it. Faulty diode installation prevents power output, so this is one of the first parts you need to inspect.

Place your solar panel in the sunlight perpendicular to the direction of the sun's rays. If you're not able to move your panels throughout the day, the best option is to place your panels facing north at a 45 ° angle.

As much as possible, test your output without the regulator. Using a voltmeter causes the regulator to peak and display a higher voltage since the regulator tries to detect battery types and determine what stages of charging are most suitable according to its charge level. Adding a voltmeter for testing confuses the regulator function.

A better option would be to test your output with a voltmeter DIRECTLY from the panel to quickly determine any issues.

VoltX solar panels are shade-tolerant for maximum output. It has bypass diodes that provide an alternate path for the current to take in case a portion of solar cells are shaded so your panels will still deliver ample output if obstructed or during unfavourable weather conditions.

Please note that it is very common for the solar panel to appear faulty when it is actually working as intended. Here's how to check:

1. Make sure you are not testing the output directly from the regulator with any voltmeter or multimeter. The easiest way to test the output is to measure your battery voltage after it's slightly run down.

Then leave the solar panel in direct, bright sunlight connected to the solar battery (no other appliance should be connected) for several hours. If your battery's voltage increases accordingly, that means the product is working fine.

2. Check to ensure that the battery voltage is not less than 8V. If the battery voltage is less than 8V, the panel can not provide output.

3. Make sure that the connections are tight between solar to regulator and regulator to battery.

Here are a few things you can check to ensure your regulator is working

1. See to it that your battery voltage is at least 10V. Anything lower than 10V can hinder your regulator's function.

2. Make sure that the positive and negative poles are connected correctly.

3. Check for loose screws on the controller or broken cables between the battery and the controller.

4. Check the voltage directly from the solar panel and not from the controller.

Geographical location is a big factor and the UV index varies throughout the year. The method to test the full capacity of the panel is under lab conditions and full sun exposure does not mean full solar capacity.

Here is a link to a government agency, ARPANSA, which shows the UV index for different times of the year: https://www.arpansa.gov.au/our-services/monitoring/ultraviolet-radiation-monitoring/uv-index-model

Small cracks can mean huge damage

Micro-cracks are hardly visible to the naked eye but tend to grow bigger and more noticeable over time. This is usually caused by outdoor elements or poor shipping and installation. Unfortunately, not much can be done except to replace your panels once these cracks have formed so make sure to check the quality and provider before purchasing solar panels.

Mind your wires!

Faulty and old wires can affect your solar panel's performance as it interferes with electricity production. This can occur due to corrosion, roof pests, and loose connection. Have your electrical wiring inspected by a professional regularly for prevention and contact a licensed electrician if you see initial signs of wiring issues.

Beware of hot spots

Hot spots are one of the most common problems in solar panels. It happens when a panel's energy production pathways are disrupted, so it becomes overloaded and radiates excessive heat. This can result in reduced performance or permanent damage and is often caused by partial shading and accumulation of dirt.

Aside from getting your solar panels from a reputable manufacturer that specifically targets the problem of hotspots, make it a habit to clean them as well. Knowing how to clean your solar panels can save you from a lot of inconveniences and extra expenses, plus, they're very easy to do!

Ever heard of snail trails?

Snail trails are brown lines that form on the surface of your solar panels. These are caused by a build-up of moisture and can cause your solar panels to degrade prematurely. Since they naturally occur after a few years due to several factors such as defective manufacturing and micro-cracks, your best safeguard against it would be a long-term product warranty. This way, issues including snail trails can be looked after properly for a good number of years.

Got more concerns or want to know more about our products? Visit our Contact Us | Outbax page for quick assistance. Happy shopping!