2nd Mar 2023

An overarching question proposed by one of our loyal customers has to do with noticing a reduction in panel output, voltage, and current. If you’ve noticed something similar within your system, then continue reading to learn what potential factors could be causing these known issues.

Question #1: The voltage is normal, but why is the current nearly zero or less than normal?

Answer: In terms of your solar panels’ performance, if the voltage is normal, your panel is not necessarily bad or needs replacement. Now, if the current is zero or less than normal, this could be due to several different factors including lighting conditions –overcast or cloudy weather – or weakened PV cells. A low current reading could also be caused by dust/debris buildup on the panel, a misinterpreted reading, poor connection, or damaged connectors/wiring.

Question #2: Why is the voltage lower than usual?

Answer: If you notice that there is a low-level voltage, don’t be alarmed as it could be caused by poor lighting conditions which are out of your control. Continue to monitor the voltage as the day progresses and test on different days to validate your reading. Another cause for half/lower voltage can be full or partial shading, as your panel will lower the voltage to protect itself.

Question #3: Why are the current & voltage lower than normal?

Answer: Fluctuations in weather and solar strength pose the greatest issues when it comes to panel performance. This could be why you notice your current and voltage levels fluctuating downwards.

Question #4: I went to charge my power station with my panel, but its output was abnormal. Why is this?

Answer: This could simply mean that the solar panel charging current is too high compared to that of the power station. Therefore, your power station limits the solar panel's output to what the highest input level of said power station can do. There is also the overlooked aspect of maintenance. Make sure the solar panels’ surface is clean and clear of any dirt and debris to help rule out whether your panel is bad or not.

As we conclude this article, it’s vital to never base a potential problem on a single day’s worth of readings. If the outcome remains the same over a couple of days where there is no dramatic weather or seasonal changes, then we recommend taking the next steps to either troubleshoot or upgrade the components, as needed.

Remember… Be Wise, Go Solar!