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How Can I Tell If My Solar Panels Are Working?

January 19, 2024 | Reading Time: 6 minutes

Congratulations, you’ve just invested in solar panels! You made the transition to renewable energy and you’ve alleviated all your stress about ever-changing electricity rates, so long as the panels are working properly.

It’s only natural to wonder if your panels are producing electricity as they’re supposed to. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be a mystery until your electric bill shows up at the end of the month. There are various ways you can keep tabs on your system and make sure it’s operating correctly at all times.

How to Make Sure Your Solar Panels Are Working Properly

Monitor the System Through an App

Many systems are synched with a monitoring app or website that will give you access to your system’s production rates, your home’s consumption, your battery levels, and much more. This monitoring system will tell you everything you need to know about your solar panels and their functionality.

Isaksen’s Insider Tip: Isaksen Solar sets you up with your own Isaksen Solar App login so you can easily monitor your system. Additionally, we conduct 24/7 monitoring on our end and will inform you within 48 hours if we notice any issues. Our service team will be sent to troubleshoot and repair it as needed.

Check the Inverter

Your inverter should be equipped with a colored light that will clearly indicate the health of your system. A green light typically reflects a well-operating system, while a red or orange light could signify a problem.

Your inverter’s manufacturer may also have an app allowing you to track it’s status virtually. Enphase and SolarEdge, the two most popular solar inverter brands in the US, are both equipped with a monitoring app giving you full access to the “brain” of your system at all times.

Visually Inspect the Panels

Take visual inspection of your panels from the ground on a regular basis to ensure there is no dirt or debris covering the cells. A significant amount of grime will create an additional layer for the sun to shine through which can limit the energy production potential of your panels.

You may opt to clean your panels if you live in an area where rain is not frequent or strong enough to clean them for you. Use an extended tool with a non-abrasive surface and mild soap to wash your system while standing on the ground.

Learn the DOs and Don’ts of cleaning your solar panels here. 

Review the Connections

Conduct a visual inspection of wire connections to ensure there is no visible damage to the wiring or other components of the system, especially after a storm.

Do not attempt to reconnect or manipulate any wires or components of your system. Instead, call your solar installer as soon as possible.

Use a Solar Meter

If your system is not connected to an app, your system may be connected to a solar meter that displays your system’s output.

If you still aren’t able to access your system’s production levels, a handheld solar meter may be worth investing in. This tool can evaluate the performance of your solar panels at any given time. You can purchase your own solar meter online or at Home Depot.

Review Your Electricity Bill

The tell-tale way to find out if your solar panels are working is by comparing your electricity bills. If your system is sized to produce enough electricity for your whole home (as most systems are) then your bill should have decreased significantly from when you were subscribed to traditional electricity.

If you decided to equip your system with batteries than it’s likely your bills are now zero, close to zero, or even credited in your favor.

If you have not added significant electricity-demanding items in your home since your solar installation, it is unlikely that your bill will increase with a properly functioning system.

Contact your solar installer if your bill has gotten higher and you believe it’s a result of your panels not working correctly.

Check with Your Solar Installer

Your solar installer is a prime resource for the status of your solar system. Direct any questions or concerns to them so they can take the necessary steps to fix your system as soon as possible.

Isaksen Insider Tip: At Isaksen Solar, we have an entire department dedicated to servicing solar energy systems. Even if we didn’t install your system, we may still be able to help you. Give us a call, (508) 717-3820.