Did you know that with proper solar panel maintenance, they can last between 20 and 30 years? Of course, a damaged solar panel would need a replacement much sooner.
It’s important to identify broken solar panels quickly so that you can replace them and continue to meet your energy needs. But if you’re new to solar panel care, spotting damage might not be so easy.
The following guide will explain 7 signs that you have a broken solar panel.
Inverter and Wiring Issues
Solar panel inverters are an incredibly important component of your system. They’re responsible for converting solar energy into usable electricity.
So, the inverter might be the issue if your panel stops producing electricity. Keep an eye out for green or red lights and error notifications so that you can replace the inverter immediately.
Loosened solder connections are another common problem for solar panels. Sometimes wiring oxidates and corrodes as well. You might have wiring issues if the cell power turns off and on when you touch the solar panel.
If you can’t examine your panels from the ground, make sure to pay extra attention to your electricity bill. If you see that your bills increase substantially in one month, you might have a broken panel.
Although, solar panels only connect to your regular utilities if your home is completely off the grid. If you’re off the grid, it means you’re producing your own energy without having to connect to the city’s power.
Regardless of whether a home is on or off the grid, the goal is to install enough panels so that they cover all energy needs. Schedule a service appointment right away if you notice your bill going up.
Debris and Discoloration
From bird droppings to tree limbs, debris can cause a lot of issues for solar panels if not removed quickly. If you can’t clean it off on your own, call a professional to remove the debris safely. Check out these helpful solar panel cleaning tips published here.
You might get tempted to remove tricky debris on your own to save money, but you could end up causing more damage. If you don’t feel comfortable on ladders or roofs, don’t risk injury by climbing up to clean your panels.
Also, look for yellow to dark brown discolored marks on the conductor strips of your solar panels. It typically means that there is corrosion present. It could cause uneven distribution of temperature and result in less efficient energy output.
Check the panels and other structures for cracking so that you can replace them. Things like faulty parts and hard impacts might cause cracking to your panels.
To help prevent cracks, try trimming nearby trees so that branches don’t fall onto your panels. Be careful when you clean your panels so that you don’t accidentally impact them either.
Note that solar panels are very vulnerable to thermal shock. So, make sure you don’t clean them during peak sunlight to avoid cracking.
Severe weather is the most common cause of damage to solar panels. Weather events such as hail storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes can all put a big hurt on your solar investment.
Solar panels might fly off your roof during a powerful storm because they’re not permanently connected. In this case, your panels might end up broken beyond repair. Try to save what you can of your panels after a storm and schedule repairs as soon as possible.
Furthermore, it might help to schedule regular repairs if your home is in a location with frequent strong storms. You can even have a solar panel repairman look for minor issues after storms so that they don’t get any worse.
Your panels might have components that loosen and aren’t very visible from the ground. So, your panel might fly off during a future storm from the loosening even if it made it through the previous storm.
Inconsistent Meter Readings
It’s a helpful practice to carry out frequent energy audits on your home after installing solar panels. Doing so helps give you an understanding of your energy usage and how efficiently your panels operate.
Ideally, you want your energy audits to stay fairly even as time goes on. There might be a need for panel repairs or replacements if you notice sharp changes from one audit to another.
You might have a defective solar panel in the mix that affects your overall energy production. Continuing audits can also help repairmen identify other issues your panels might have based on energy fluctuations.
If you have a solar panel that ends up tilted or at all crooked, inspect it for damage right away. Solar panel layouts get balanced and organized so that they’re flush with your roof, so tilting is easy to spot.
Keep an eye out for any shifts in symmetry and any panels that appear raised next to other panels. They’ll likely require repairs, but the repairs won’t be major unless a storm caused the issues. Schedule repairs ASAP to save the panel from more damage.
Identifying Broken Solar Panels
Now you know how to spot broken solar panels so that you can replace or repair them right away. Remember, taking care of broken panels keeps your system optimized to produce the most energy possible.
We hope this guide helps keep your system’s efficiency up and gets you the most out of your solar investment. Take a look at our technology section for more tips about the world of solar power.