How can I tell if my solar panels are working?

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asked Jun 22, 2022 in Green Living by callfromme (15,390 points)
How can I tell if my solar panels are working?

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answered Jun 22, 2022 by LynnTerry (15,440 points)
The best way to tell if your solar panels are working is to look at the solar charge controller.

If the solar charge controller says they are charging then they are working.

To check an individual solar panel unhook the solar panel and use a mutimeter to check for voltage from both wires of the solar panel.

If you're getting 13 to 14 volts from the solar panels then they are working.

Things that could damage your solar panels are hail, large hail, lightning strikes, twigs, limbs falling on the solar panels, dirt that scratches the solar panels.

Solar Panels being submerged in water could damage them although just getting wet should not harm them as they are sealed.

Solar panels do require some maintenance such as cleaning the solar panels, removing snow, leaves etc.

Solar panels though are pretty low maintenance but they do require some maintenance but they do last a long time.

Solar panels give DC and not AC.

The solar panels produce DC voltage which charge DC batteries and then you use an inverter that connects to the batteries to change the DC voltage into AC voltage that your home and appliances use.

Depending on the solar panel system you have it can take between 5 to 15 years for your solar panels to pay for themselves in savings.

The average cost for solar panels are between $50.00 to $180.00 each or around $3,000.00 to $13,000.00 for a full house solar panel system.

Financing the solar panels is more expensive than just buying the solar panels and solar system outright.

The pros and cons of solar panels are.


Lower Energy Bills.

Low or no electric bill.

Producing your own power so you have power during a power outage.

Pollution Free and abundant electricity that is renewable.


Solar Panels can produce pollution in that they are hard to recycle.

Solar Panels take up space.

Requires solar energy storage batteries.

Solar Panel Installations Can Be Expensive.
Solar Energy Doesn't Work at Night.
Solar Energy Storage is Expensive.
Solar Panels are Difficult to Move Once Installed.
Some Solar Panels Use Rare Earth Metals.

A 2000 sq ft home needs between 18 to 19 solar panels to provide enough power.

However you may need a bit more solar panels depending on your electricity usage.

To power a 3 bedroom house you need to have at least 19 of the 315 watt solar panels with a 5.82 KW solar panel system.

However some people may need a bit more solar panels depending on how much electricity they use.

Solar power inverters last between 10 to 15 years.

As long as you don't overload the solar power inverter or they don't get struck by lightning etc then they should last at least 10 years although some may last 15 years.

A hybrid solar inverter can be used without a battery.

However regular power inverters cannot be used without the battery as they require the power from the battery to operate.

The solar panels charge the battery and then the power from the batteries is then drawn out and into the power inverter which is then used and converted into AC power to be used.

To make money from solar panels you sell back some of the unused electricity to the power grid.

If your electric utility allows it and approves it you can setup your solar panels to sell back unused electricity to the power grid.

The electric utility then uses a meter that reads backwards to credit your account so they then owe you money.

A smart meter for solar is a meter that measures the power from your solar panels and when connected to the grid your meter can back feed power from the solar panels into the power grid.

Then the smart meter can record backwards and credit the power sent to the power grid if your solar system is a grid connected solar system.

Some people also use a smart meter on their incoming solar line to measure how much power they are using for their personal use.

MPPT in solar panel means maximum power point tracker which is an electronic DC to DC converter that optimizes the match between the solar array (PV panels), and the battery bank or utility grid.

The best solar inverter for home is 5KVA/48V MPPT Solar Inverter.

The Mitsubishi FR-D720-0.75K solar inverter system is also another best solar inverter for home.

The voltage that your solar panel should be depends on the watts you require.

For 200 watts or less the 12 volt solar panels are good enough while for watts above 200 watts and in the 300 to 800 watt range or so the volts should be 24 volts and above that you should get 48 volt solar panel systems.

The best voltage for a solar system is between 12 volts to 24 volts depending on the wattage you want and need.

For solar panels and solar systems that power around 100 to 200 watts then 12 volts is usually good enough but for wattage above 200 watts then having 24 volt solar systems is better.

Solar panels do not work at night as they require sunlight to work.

However when it's cloudy and there's at least some daylight the solar panels will still work.

But once it becomes dark for the night the solar panels stop charging but the power stored in the batteries can still be used but they won't charge until the daylight or sunlight comes out.

Solar panels when installed correctly on your roof do not damage your roof.

Solar panels installed on your roof can usually make your roof last longer as it protects the shingles from the elements.

However if not installed correctly then the solar panels may damage or ruin your roof.

Solar panels can and do sometimes catch fire but it's rare for solar panels to catch fire.

Solar panels may catch fire due to shorting out through the wiring or by a defect in the solar panel.

Although most solar panels are safe when installed correctly and many solar panels operate just fine and safely without any fires.

Solar panels don't always affect your house insurance unless you want to increase your insurance coverage to cover the cost of the replacement of the solar panels and system should you need too in case something happens to them.

Simply installing the solar panels on your house or near your house won't and should not change or affect your house or homeowners insurance.

PV on a meter box means Photovoltaic which means that the meter is connected with solar panels and usually has solar power feeding backwards into the power grid depending on how it's set up.

Sometimes solar panels are set up to where they will feed excess solar energy back through the meter and then the customer of the electric utility gets credited.

PV on a solar charger stands for Photovoltaic.

Photovoltaics is the conversion of light into electricity using semiconducting materials that exhibit the photovoltaic effect, a phenomenon studied in physics, photochemistry, and electrochemistry.

The photovoltaic effect is commercially utilized for electricity generation and as photosensors.

Another name for a solar panel is photovoltaic cell or solar collector.

A photovoltaic cell (PV cell) is a specialized semiconductor diode that converts visible light into direct current (DC).

Some PV cells can also convert infrared (IR) or ultraviolet (UV) radiation into DC electricity.

Most solar panels last between 20 to 25 years before they need replaced.

Some solar panels may even last as long as 30 years but the average lifespan of a solar panel is 20 to 25 years which is pretty good.

Solar panels are a good investment especially in areas where electric rates are high.

Although you need to purchase the solar panels, batteries and inverters they are a good investment and can save you money on your electric bill.

Also when the power is out such as due to a storm etc you can still have electricity as long as the sun is shining and you have enough charge in your batteries.

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