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How do you know how much electricity your solar panels are generating?

how much electricty does solar panels produce
Georgia Carter Updated: 01 July 2022
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Solar panels are a big investment – make sure you’re getting the most out of them. Solar panels are a great way to reduce your electricity bill, but only if they’re working properly. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on them and know how to detect and fix any problems that may arise. How do i know how much electricity my solar panels are generating?

Follow these simple tips to ensure your solar panels always generate the most electricity possible for you. It’s the best way to get the most out of your investment and save money on your electric bill. This article outlines the simple steps you can take to answer the common question of, “how do I check if my solar panels are working properly?” and what you can do if your solar panels are not working.

Key facts

  • Your solar inverter, which converts DC energy into AC for your appliances, includes a monitor that records the amount of energy being produced at a given time from your solar panel system.
  • Debris and bird droppings are the most common forms of degradation and underperformance when it comes to solar panels.
  • If one solar panel malfunctions, it affects the entire solar panel system. Be sure to check on your solar panels regularly.
  • Review your electricity bills at the end of every month. These bills include how much energy you have returned into the grid and how much money you have made as a result.
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How to check if my solar panels are working properly

You can’t just install solar panels on your house without knowing how much electricity they’ll produce. You need to know the electrical energy output of each type, so you know what kind will work best for your home. Your home’s generator rating, indicated in kW, measures how powerful it can be. But this doesn’t tell you anything about what kind or quantity the energy source your solar panel system will provide. 

Your solar inverter is a box that takes DC electricity from your panels and feeds it with AC right before entering the switchboard. It’s often located at the front side of the house, near the wall where you make adjustments or in the garage if there’s no space nearby for storing these devices themselves – but they can also be found anywhere. This little machine has many different functions, including displaying how much power is currently generated by either watt(W) or kilowatt-hour (kWh).

5 steps to check if your solar PV system is working properly

The amount of energy your solar cells produce depends on how much fuel they are fed. In the case of photovoltaic (PV) panels, this means relying exclusively upon natural sunlight for their power source. While you cannot control the weather, there are a few steps you can take to ensure your solar panels are receiving the best care to produce the most electricity and work at maximum capacity.

Below are the top five steps you must take to guarantee a fully working and energy-producing solar system:

Check your solar panels for dirt or shade

If the front of your panels is dirty or greasy, it will greatly reduce their output. To maintain optimal performance, get rid of them by cleaning your solar power system periodically depending on how much grime there is buildup, and if you have a poor tilt (more than 10 degrees), these types can self-clean in rain episodes alone.

Bird droppings are a major problem and can reduce the yield of an entire array. If you want to get the most out of your roof, make sure there are no obstacles in sight. Power lines and antennas can seriously degrade solar panel efficiency.

Examine the inverter

On hot summer days, your inverter could be overheating. Make sure the heat sinks (fins) on the back or top of it are clean, and nothing stores up against you so that it doesn’t get too much sun exposure.

solar panel energy isometric illustration 02 4x

Look up your systems data

The inverter display screen provides important information about your system’s output, such as any spikes in power consumption. The online account lets users graphically monitor the performance over time and compare it against expected values based on weather reports for each month or year recorded by sensors within minutes of activation (this may be daily).

Check your electricity bill

Your excess electricity feeds energy back into the local grid when you’re not using it. You will typically receive a feed-in tariff for this power, and your solar panels will show up on your bill as an item called ‘solar generation’ (kWh). If you do not receive a notification that your solar panels are feeding energy back into the grid on your bill, something is wrong with the power generation of your panels.

Have a solar monitor installed

With a large range of features, inverters today can do much more than just provide power for your home. They also come equipped with Wi-Fi interfaces that enable solar monitoring, so you know how much green energy has been generated at all times. If your inverted doesn’t include these features, consider purchasing a solar monitor that can do the work for you.

Possible reasons why your system is underperforming

  • Debris: The output of your panels will be greatly reduced if there is a lot of dust or grime on them. This includes leaves, bird droppings, and sticks.
  • Shade: Shade can greatly affect performance, and you might not notice any shading issues until after installation. In addition to the obvious trees, watch out for antennas or power lines that could create an obstruction.
  • Overheating: Your inverter could be overheating on hot summer days, so you might consider installing a fan to help keep it cool.
  • Orientation: The northern side of a solar panel will produce more energy than the southern one, and it’s important to make sure they’re properly tilted so as not to have any losses. A well-designed installation can reduce these amounts significantly with proper design considerations like angle coverage for an area to get optimum output from its resources.
  • Time: The output and energy generation differ during the day’s phases. Dawn and dusk will not provide your panel with enough solar power to generate huge amounts of power. It’s best to review your solar panel’s performance during midday.

How do I know if my solar panels are turned on

When the sun shines on your solar system during daylight hours, you can check to see if it’s functioning by looking at what colour of light shines back on your solar bo or invertor. Green means everything is working as planned, whereas orange indicates there may be an issue with a specific part or component of the system. Red means no power is being produced at all, and there is either a major fault, numerous problems, or the solar system simply is not on.

What to do if solar panels stop working?

The circuit breaker may have tripped out in the distribution board/fusebox. Check if there are any problems with your power source by checking at both ends of it, and be sure that everything is working properly before assumption. The next steps would include confirming whether or not you’ve got a faulty generation meter on-site (which could lead to other issues), so let’s take care of these first two things. If that doesn’t yield any answers, consider calling in a professional. If you have purchased solar panels with a warranty, now would be the time to call in that benefit.

stopped working

How to read a solar inverter display?

Power measures how much energy you can get from your solar panels. It’s also called wattage, and it will tell us what size battery or inverter we need to use if they’re not powerful enough! Power has been measured in watts (W)or kilowatts(kW). On the other hand, energy refers specifically only to those types that come out as electricity. For example, if your regular output is 5kW of power for 60 minutes, you will have produced 5kWh of energy.

The data on the inverter’s screen is less user-friendly, but it still should be able to give you three figures:

1) The number of kilowatts of power generated and sent to your house and/or the grid at that specific point in time. This is measured in kW.

2)The number of kilowatt-hours of energy your system has produced that day, measured in kWh. Check this when the sun goes down.

3) The number of kilowatt-hours of energy your solar system has produced in total since it was installed, measured in kWh.

Frequently asked questions and answers

  • How do I monitor my solar panel output?

    When installing or maintaining a solar system, your provider will provide an installation monitor that can be either a physical device at home or accessed online. You can also easily track energy production through inverters, measured in kW and kWh. Another way is to check up on your monthly electricity bill and see if you receive money through feed-in tariffs.
  • How many kW are my solar panels?

    There’s plenty of sun in Australia, so it only makes sense that we have some great deals on them. While the capacity of kW production depends on your solar panel material, placement, and size, there is a general rule of thumb as to how much power is being produced. A 6 kW size will generate between 720 kWh and 900kWh per month. For reference, an average household uses about 893kWh per month, or around 20kW a day.
  • How often should you get your solar panels checked?

    Installing a solar system is an expensive investment. But if you’re looking for long-term savings, regular maintenance will help ensure your installation runs smoothly and efficiently throughout its lifetime. If you’re noticing an increase in your energy bill, a red light on the inverter during daylight hours or dirty and obstructed panels, then it might be time for some maintenance. A tune-up can help optimise performance, so all systems work properly together while reducing wear & tear from naturally occurring elements like weathering over years of use. It’s recommended to get your panels, and solar system checked around once or twice a year.
  • What maintenance do you need for solar panels?

    With the right care, solar panels can last for decades without any major maintenance. They only need to be cleaned periodically so dirt and leaves don’t get into their parts which would damage them over time – this includes an annual light cleaning session to maintain cleanliness inside your home or business! However, suppose heavy snowfall occurs when there’s still more sunlight left on its surface. In that case, you might want to take extra steps during those dark winter days by using special tools designed specifically towards clearing away ice buildups from atop these energy-producing devices.
  • What happens if a solar panel system fails?

    The fate of your home’s power depends on a single panel. If it fails, then all other solar panels will not work, and you’ll lose electricity completely! You can replace just one faulty component to get things back up and running again in no time at all. When it comes to repairing your solar panels, there is no need for worry as long you take care of the problem early on. With proper knowledge and skill from an expert field technician in time-sensitive repairs like these. The most common problems can be resolved without too much investment or hassle.

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