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How to Tell if My Solar Panels Are Working? Here’s the Answer!

Written by K. Miller / Fact checked by J. Fussell

how to tell if my solar panels are working

How to tell if my solar panels are working? Solar systems are equipped with solar inverters that come with indicator lights. Through the display panel, you can determine the amount of energy your system has produced so far and the amount it’s producing at the present moment.

We suggest inspecting the power meter if you notice that your inverter is switched off. Another way to check if solar panels are working is by checking your energy bill. Solar systems are purposely designed to generate energy output that reduces your electricity bill.

In this post, let’s dig up more factors to determine if your solar system is functioning the way it should be.

Ways to Check if My Solar Panels are Working Properly


Keep yourself posted on the weather conditions in your area.

Solar panels can still execute their functions on rainy and gloomy days; however, you should expect that their energy output is lesser in these conditions. Solar systems are likely to function at 10 to 25 percent of their indicated capacity during cloudy days.

In the end, what’s essential is that your home acquires a sufficient amount of sun exposure throughout the year. While rainy and overcast days are typical, they generally don’t disrupt your long-term return on investment.

Carefully check your solar inverter.

One of the most common causes of malfunctioning solar systems is a faulty solar inverter. Did you know that the inverter serves as the brain of a solar power system? This device is built with indicator lights that notify you when your solar system is malfunctioning. To better understand how to connect inverter and solar panels, check it out here.

If you see a red light, this means that it’s necessary to contact your solar firm or inverter manufacturer so that they can inspect the cause of faulty operation.

Inspect your solar meter.

The solar meter works by keeping track of your solar system’s power generation and delivers this data to your solar firm. It’s critical to inspect the kilowatt-hours that your panels are producing. You can figure out if your solar panels are operating efficiently if the kilowatt-hours shown on the meter are increasing.

Otherwise, you need to explore the previous steps before you contact your solar manufacturer.

Refer to your electricity bill.

Sure thing, the main reason you decide to go solar is to minimize your electricity consumption. The amount of bills you pay your electricity provider will alter based on the amount of energy your solar panels generate on any given day.

But, in general, you won’t spend more on your energy bill; instead, you might also receive credits for the excess energy your home generates. Nonetheless, if your energy bills still appear costly given the amount of energy your solar system should be generating, it’s likely that your solar panels are malfunctioning.

Routine checkup and maintenance

To ensure a more efficient solar working process, you need to perform regular checkups and maintenance. Fortunately, compared to wind-operated electricity, solar power systems don’t require complicated checkups and maintenance.

To properly maintain your solar panels, all you need to do is regularly clean them by removing residues and dust to avoid any buildup. We strongly recommend cleaning them at least two to four times annually so that you can benefit from their excellent performance.

In doing so, you can also expect solar panels to provide you with the most energy for your requirements.

Use an app to keep track of your solar power production.

To make things less burdening for you, an app for your solar setup is often available on tablets, smartphones, or computers. Such an app is specifically designed to help you monitor the power output levels of your solar system.

A handy tool such as this app makes it less stressful to keep track of your energy production. Moreover, it enables you to check it in actual time via a display or dashboard. Best of all, with it, it’s unnecessary to examine the production meter manually.

Meanwhile, you might want to watch this video to uncover more info about testing your solar panels:

What Are the Possible Reasons I’m Getting Low Solar Power Output From My Solar Power System?

Solar panels working inefficiently may occur due to the following causes:

  • Defective inverter

Signs that your inverter is defective include an extremely high reading on battery voltage, a battery that’s not charging, or the fault line is on but the AC load is malfunctioning.

Additionally, a defective inverter causes improper loading, incorrect disconnection of loads, and issues with reverse polarity connection on the inverter.

  • Season

You can expect your solar panels to generate more power during the summer seasons since there are more available sunlight hours during this time. On the other hand, solar panels don’t work as efficiently during winter, when the sun is mostly out and the weather’s cloudy.

  • Heat

Surprisingly, extreme temperatures can also minimize your solar panels’ efficiency. A solar system can lose roughly ten percent of its indicated power on a 25-degree day or even beyond this point if it’s warmer. A light wind that cools the panel can improve this condition.

  • Time of Day

Expect a difference whenever you gauge the kilowatt-hour output of your solar system. Generally speaking, the kilowatt-hour output of your solar system is at its highest if measured in the middle of the day.

  • Tilting and Orientation of Solar Panels

Solar panels facing the north usually produce more energy than panels facing west or east. Please note that they must be perfectly angled. An excellently built and installed solar system will reduce power losses.

  • System Losses

Cabling uses up approximately two percent of power, while the inverter can use up about three to four percent of energy in the process of DC to AC conversion.

  • Shading and Different Types of Dirt

Dust, tree sap, smudge, shade, bird manure, etc., can minimize solar power output.

Is It Vital to Check if Your Solar Panels Are Working?

Yes. By ensuring that your solar panels work perfectly, you can take pleasure in your renewable energy investment. Ideally, a solar PV system should supply your home with limitless renewable energy for approximately 20 to 30 years.

The delightful news is that solar panels that work efficiently can provide you with the following:

  • Reduced dependence on your electricity provider
  • Increased value of your home or property
  • No worry about the rapidly increasing costs of electricity
  • No more steep energy bills to pay
  • Enjoy an eco-friendly power supply option at home

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re planning to go solar or already have a solar system installed, it’s just right to ensure that your panels are not malfunctioning. Discovering how to test your solar panels can ensure that you get the most out of your renewable energy investment.

Luckily, you won’t need to ask the question, “how to tell if my solar panels are working?” if you have the proper guides and information. Again, please remember the main steps for a solar panel checker:

  • Be updated on the weather and inspect your inverter
  • Examine your solar meter and compare your electricity bills
  • Perform routine checkups & maintenance and use a monitoring app
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