How to Check If Your Solar Panels Are Working Properly

Learn the simple steps to check if your solar panels are working properly and ensure you’re getting the most from your investment.

Key takeaways:

  • Check your solar inverter for operational status and error codes.
  • Monitor your electric meter for steady or decreasing readings.
  • Compare your electric bills before and after solar installation.
  • Remove any obstructions that may block sunlight from reaching your panels.
  • Visually inspect your panels for damage, cleanliness, and shading issues.

Inspect Your Solar Inverter

solar panel check

First, locate your solar inverter, often found near your main electrical panel. This contraption is the brain of your solar system. Without it, your panels are just fancy sunbathing rooftops.

Check the display screen. It should show a green light or a display message like “Operational” or “Producing.” A red or blinking light means trouble, and your panels might just be on a permanent vacation.

Most inverters have a digital display showcasing the energy output. Compare this output to past figures and your expected energy production, keeping tabs on any significant drops.

Consider those error codes your inverter might display. They are like cryptic text messages from your system crying out for help. Get the manual, or search online for what those error codes mean.

Lastly, listen to your inverter. If it’s making weird noises, it’s not practicing for a concert. It might be showing signs of a malfunction. So, get it checked out by a professional.

Examine Your Electric Meter

Your electric meter holds the power to reveal your solar panel’s secrets. It can indicate whether your solar system is generating electricity as it should.

Check if the meter is showing a lower reading compared to before your solar installation. If your neighbor starts getting jealous of your shockingly low electric bill, it’s working!

Watch the display for any fluctuation. A smooth-running solar setup will typically show a steady or slowly climbing number. If you see the meter running like it’s late for a date, something’s not quite right.

If your meter runs backward, do a happy dance! This means your panels produce excess electricity and feed back into the grid, saving you money.

Review Your Electric Bill

Your electric bill can be your solar panel’s report card. F inance homework that it is. If you’re still paying as much as you were before getting solar panels, something’s rotten in the state of watts.

Compare bills from similar months in different years. A significant drop means your panels are likely pulling their weight.

Check for credits. Some utilities credit homeowners for surplus power generated. If you’re not seeing credits, investigate.

Look at your energy consumption versus solar production. If you’re using the same energy but bills are high, it’s time to pop the hood on those panels.

Remember, just like spotting a squirrel in a tree, the devil is in the details!

Remove Any Obstructions

Trees, leaves, and even your neighbor’s kite might decide to play shadow puppet on your solar panels. Obstructions are the mortal enemies of maximum efficiency.

First, check for any foliage that might be having a foliage fiesta on your roof. Trim the branches or bribe your neighbor to do it if the tree is on their side.

Next, watch out for debris like leaves, dirt, or even bird droppings. Your panels should be squeaky clean, like a freshly washed car on a sunny day.

Lastly, keep an eye on seasonal changes. Those lovely spring flowers might grow into towering giants come summer, casting shadows and sipping on your solar juice. A little periodic maintenance can banish those shadowy foes.

Visually Inspect Your Solar Panels

Grab your sunglasses and hat—time to go solar panel sightseeing.

First off, check for any obvious damage. Look for cracks, chips, or discoloration on the panels. If your solar panels resemble a jigsaw puzzle, that’s a red flag.

Make sure the panels are sparkling clean. Dirt, bird droppings, or even an obnoxious layer of pollen can all play party poopers to your solar energy production. A gentle rinse with a garden hose can usually do the trick.

Notice any shading issues? Tree branches, overgrown bushes, or your neighbor’s new two-story shed could be casting unwanted shadows on your panels. Solar panels love sunlight like cats love napping.

Lastly, have a peek at the wiring. Loose connections or frayed wires are no-go zones. If you spot any wonky wiring, it’s best to call in a professional.

Now, wasn’t that a quick and easy checkup?

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