How to Test a Solar Panel

Last Updated: May 3, 2020

How to test a solar panel to know they are working fine? Although Solar Panels modules pass through rigorous testing under some specific conditions for assessing the quality and performance before being introduced to the market. These tests last for months and are very critical.

Solar Panels are being Tested in the Critical Conditions

Testing Solar Panels is necessary before you go for any action i.e Installation. And when you leap into Solar Panels, you must know how to test a Solar Panel because it is a big investment.

Important things you should know before going for testing

Here are a few things you should know what they are and how they work before you go for testing. They are following;

You probably know that there are two classes of electrical current i.e Alternating Current (AC) and Direct Current (DC).

  • The fact is Direct Current flows in one direction and it is used to be used for devices with needs low of voltage i.e Your Panels.

One thing is confirmed that you are gonna measure the output in watts as almost every household appliances measure power usage this way.

Remember! – Wattage = Voltage

Power is the wattage and equals voltage and it is known as Current. So one thing is clear that you will need to measure wattage and voltage for calculating the solar power system’s production.

What to do first?

There are a few steps to follow for the accurate testing of solar panels.

To Commence, Measure Solar Panel Amperage

Amp meter, a solar panel tester will be needed. To assess the amp output of your solar panel, you will require to connect the meter to positive and negative terminals. You will need to make sure that your solar panels are facing the sun when you start testing for the most accurate measurement. Remember you will require an amp meter that will evaluate higher than the amp output of your solar panels for accurate measurement.

Measuring Current is the Next Step

The essential equipment for this step consists of multimeter and resistors, they all would help us in measuring DV voltage. The formula will become current equals to the voltage after this measurement.

Solar Panel: How to Check a with a Multimeter

Know how much output your solar panel is giving. Steps to test solar panel’s output with a multimeter are following;

How to Test a Solar Panel
From VoltaicSystems.

NOTE: If your multimeter is inappropriate, you might damage your panels. You should know how to use a multimeter. So try not to comprise in buying such things. You can buy a high-quality device.

  • Converter Box Location: Usually the converter box is located on the backside of a solar panel.  Make sure you remove the cover once you successfully locate the converter box. The thing is you get to see connections inside when you remove the cover
  • Noting off the positive and negative connections: Remember, you have to do work very carefully as you have to note off the positive and negative connections. The moment you note the which connections are positive and negative, make sure your solar panels must be under sunlight for better reading

Useful tip: For a better and accurate reading, it is better to keep your solar panel tilt under sunlight.

How to Test a 12 Volt Solar Panel

Why testing 12-volt solar panel? Why not any other voltage Solar panel? The answer is we use 12 volts Solar Panels the most. The testing method is the same. What you have to do is to ensure to place positive to positive and negative to negative when you connect your multimeter to the connection on the back of your Solar Panel.

  • Set the multimeter to above 200 VCD. You might ask why 200VCD? Because setting 200VCD ensures your reading accurate as much as possible (If you meter shows an overload, it means you have set low and you have to increase it).

Remember! – As long as your multimeter is working fine, you will get accurate results while testing your solar panels. There are a variety of multimeters ranging from low to high price based on price. The more multimeter is expensive, the more it will be qualitative.

How to Test a Solar Panel Charge Controller

Let us first know what exactly a solar panel charge controller is;

A solar panel charge controller controls/manages the power into the battery from Solar array. In simple words, it regulates the energy flow from the Solar array and lets it go directly to the Batteries. It makes sure batteries don’t get overcharged and filled power in batteries does not go back.

Accurate testing of solar panels requires an accurate charge controller. Because this is significant in the case of Solar Plus Storage. The testing charge controller can be done in the few steps;

  1. First of all set the meter for measuring DC Amps and make sure you put leads in the port to measure DC Amps.
  2. After that, set the meter to 10A.
  3. You would have to connect the solar panel to the charge controller and controller to the battery.
  4. The very next step is disconnecting the positive cable that runs from the battery to the controller.
  5. You would need to link the positive lead from the meter to the positive cable to measure the current.
  6. Link the negative lead from the meter to the positive terminal on the battery at the end.

These steps would end up measuring the current passing between the panel, controller, and battery.

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