With sustainable energy becoming an increasingly important issue all over the world, many are turning to solar panels. They are a superb technology, offering substantial savings both in terms of your energy bills and your CO2 emissions. However, they are not immune to problems arising. If there is a problem with a panel, it can cause an energy production loss of up to 20%, as one faulty panel will impact on an entire string of them. It’s important to identify problems as they happen and resolve them quickly. Here are the most common issues that arise with solar panels.
Sometimes, microscopic tears appear in crystalline PV panels that compromise the solar cells. They can occur during production, but are also sometimes caused by careless shipping or installation. They won’t always have an immediate impact on production, but they often grow over time and cause larger cracks. There is little that can be done to fix these once they occur, and panels made need to be replaced. However, manufacturers are actively developing new solutions to make panels more resistant to this kind of damage.
These are regions on the panels that become overloaded and get excessively warm. They are usually caused by poorly-soldered connections, or they may be the result of a structural defect. Sometimes it is even caused by partial shading or soiling, so you should always do your utmost to mitigate these occurrences to protect your solar panels. Hot spots can ultimately result in a short circuit, reducing both a panel’s performance and its overall lifespan. It may take a professional to identify this issue, and if the damage is severe then the panel will need to be replaced.
This stands for Potential Induced Degradation. It occurs when there is a voltage inconsistency between a panel and its earthing. Solar panels must be earthed for safety reasons, but if the earthing and voltage generated don’t match then there can be a partial voltage discharge in the main power circuit. This leads to ongoing performance loss and reduced lifespan of your PV panel. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent and even reverse this issue with specialist equipment, which it may be worth investing in to preserve your panels for the long term.
In some areas, birds can present a significant problem for homes with solar panels. When crows or pigeons nest in the space beneath the panels, it can cause problems for your roof, as well as a disturbance due to the noise these animals make. The best option to fix this issue is to have mesh, wire or spikes installed around the edges of the panels to prevent birds from getting underneath.
Another common problem that compromises the performance of solar panels is faults in the wiring. Loose connections can interfere with electricity production, as well as things like oxidation and corrosion. If you are not a licensed electrician, you should not try to interfere with the wiring yourself. The safe option is to contact a trusted solar panel electrician and ask them to give the panels a thorough once-over to ensure there are no problems.
There are various other problems that can arise with your solar panels, like internal corrosion, delamination, roof issues and even snail trails. In general, if you encounter problems with your solar panels, the best option is to contact the professionals and ask them to examine your panels to identify and resolve issues. Of course, this comes at a cost, and it’s good to shop around for good value. It’s also helpful to look into preventative measures, and manufacturers that have incorporated mitigating technologies for common issues are a good bet. Prevention is the most cost-effective measure, so don’t ignore the potential problems when there’s something you can do to avoid them.