Solar Panels Underperforming?

What’s Wrong and How Can I Fix It?

Solar panels offer an excellent return on investment thanks to their 25- to 30-year service lives. Because of this reason, you can expect your savings to turn out to be much higher than the upfront costs. In other words, you are investing into saving more as time goes by.

However, there could be various factors that will cause some performance issues to arise. Fortunately, most of these problems are relatively easy to solve. If more major issues occur, you can count on a warranty to help you solve them.

In this article, we will discuss some common issues that may affect your solar panels and their performance, as well as how to solve them.

1. Dust and dirt

Dust and dirt can accumulate on the surface of your solar panels and eventually affect their energy production.

How to Solve?

The rainy weather in Malaysia is the best natural way to keep your solar panels clean. But if there comes a time when you need to clean them yourself, add dish soap into warm water and use a soft sponge or cloth to clean the glass carefully. Alternately, you can also get professional cleaners to do it for you.

2. Unusual efficiency loss

Solar panels will lose productivity over time, but this happens gradually. Usually, they lose less than 0.5% of their capacity each year.

How to Solve?

Keeping track of your electricity bills is one good way to detect solar panel issues. A sudden drop in electricity output is unusual but if you notice abnormalities in the electricity output, contact your solar PV system provider to help you diagnose what is happening.

3. Malfunctioning or disconnected components

Whether it’s the solar panels, wiring, circuit breakers, inverters, batteries, etc., a malfunctioning or disconnected component can lead to a reduced panel output.

How to Solve?

Major malfunctions are quite rare. However, if you do suspect issues like loose connections or tripped breakers, you should contact your solar PV system provider for an inspection.

4. Monitoring errors

If you're experiencing what seems like a low output, it could be that the panels are still functioning normally. It’s the monitoring system you have issues with!

How to Solve?

It’ll be good to have a dedicated monitoring system for your solar panels that will help you obtain measurements that are not affected by other electrical devices. Monitoring systems are important because they help you keep track of your panels’ performance as well as make troubleshooting easier.

5. Shade from trees

Shade cast on your roof by surrounding trees can compromise the output of the whole solar PV system.

How to Solve?

Before installing your solar panels, take your time to inspect the surrounding of your property. If your solar panels are shaded by previously shorter trees, it’s time to trim them.

Generally, solar panels are pretty low maintenance and even if major issues occur, your solar PV provider will help you with warranty claims and component replacements if necessary. So, fret not!

Going solar is great but remember that there are many small changes you can make in your everyday lives to use electricity more efficiently and to increase your savings. For example, you should adjust your energy consumption habits and operate your appliances around noon as much as possible, as this is when the sun is directly overhead.