Troubleshooting Solar Panels

Trouble shooting solar panel problems

You bought a solar panel system and after a while you notice that your solar panels are not living up to the standards that your USP&E sales representative claimed when they were sold to you, it may not be a faulty panel.  There could be a number of issues plaguing them and making your blood pressure sky rocket.  Don’t panic or send the panels to the landfill, here are some reasons why your panels are not working correctly. 

Possition is key

Are your panels facing the right direction toward the sun?  Almost all panels need to be adjusted through the year at least 3 times.  this is so that they can be in the optimal position for maximum absorption.   For completely stationary panels, make sure they are facing south in the northern hemisphere and north in the southern hemisphere.  the reason is that sun is never directly straight up from where you standing.  unless you are on the equator your panels should always have a tilt in the direction of the sun.  Some systems have automatic trackers, they rotate as the sun crosses the sky, these are optimal, because even at sun rise and sun set the panels on a stationary panel setup will not be in direct sunlight.  It is best to grab every last drop of sun.    

Clean up

One of the major problems people face with solar panels is dirt, a solar panel system is not a set up and forget, dirt or dust will cover the glass making the crystals inside useless.  Like the windows in your home, if there is dirt on them, you can’t see out very well, and it progressively can get worse through time.   It is necessary to clean off your solar panels by wiping them off, maybe even using Windex if needed, try not to leave streaks because they also will keep the sun from passing threw. 

Cloudy day

Clouds in the sky will bring your solar intake to 30%.  Solar panels require focused light, clouds defuse the solar rays.  On a cloudy day your electricity will run by the utilities again or if off grid a back up generator system.  People who live in places that are normally cloudy should find an alternative energy source because the price of solar will not be justifiable. 


Shading from a tree, a branch, your hand, any shading, even a small corner or something as big as a leaf will cut your solar intake by 75%.  The full panel needs to be in direct light, there is no compromising this issue.  Even stand in front of the panel will put a dent in the intake of solar energy for as long as the panel is covered.  Clear all trees away from your solar array that can block the sun.  the best place to put a solar array is in a clear open area of the yard or on the roof of your home.  Hale, rocks, or bullets are common cuplrits of damage to panels making them un-usable.  In the off chance a bullet hits your solar panel, electricity and money saving is not your highest priority. There are no quick fixes to damaged  panels; you may need to replace them completely depending on the severity of the damage.  Replacing the glass is your best bet at fixing cracked glass on a solar panel, note that you need to make sure there is no moisture between the glass and the crystal because the glass will fog when the panel is heated.  If the crystal is cracked or broken, replace the panel.   

Could it be wiring?

If these have been solved and you still don’t get the energy, check the cable connectors between the panels and batteries or your house.  These may not be connected correctly, faulty or loose.  The batteries could also be a problem; they may be damaged or not able to hold a charge.  If you do not understand what might be wrong ask a technician or the company who installed them. If there is a problem, check the panels and work your way back.  There could be several things wrong with the system if it is hooked up wrong, do not discount operator error. 

And finally, after all is said and done, and your panels are the culprit, replace them.  Check warranty or call USP&E at 888-515-USPE for a service call.