How To Test Solar Panels: Solar Panel Testing Kit Solution

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If you are looking for a complete guide on how to test solar panels, you are going in the right direction as here you will get all the details thoroughly.

Once you know that your roof is compatible, it is time to consider the type of solar panel most suitable for your home and for what you want to use it. Check out this guide to know more about solar panels.

Different Types Of Solar Panels

The following are the different types of solar panels.

1. Photovoltaic Solar Panels

Photovoltaic solar panels were the first solar panels to make it clear that self-sufficiency in areas was possible by harnessing renewable energy from the sun. This type of panel can be of any size, from a few centimeters to tens of meters.

Its operation is based on the incidence of the sun’s rays on the panel, so its correct orientation is essential. Sunlight transmits energy to the electrons, allowing them to separate from protons and neutrons and “escape” from the panel in the form of electricity. 

Although this type of solar panel was very successful at the time, today, it has already fallen somewhat out of use because it is too bulky, expensive, and does not perform as well as other types of solar panels.

Within photovoltaic solar panels, we can also find different types of panels depending on the materials they are built:

  • Pure Monocrystalline Silicon: They are based on sections of a bar of silicon crystallized in one piece.
  • Pure Polycrystalline Silicon: The materials tend to be similar to monocrystalline pure silicon solar panels, although this time, the crystallization process is different.

They are based on sections of a silicon bar that has been disorderly structured in the form of small crystals.

  • Amorphous Silicon: They are also silicon-based panels, but this material does not follow a crystalline structure. These types of panels are commonly used for small electronic devices and small laptops.

2. Thermal Solar Panels

Thermal solar panels are perhaps the simplest and easy to make. Its mechanism is effortless and, in summary, consists of the sun’s rays hitting the panel and heating the water circulating through tubes inside the panel.

Later, this hot water can be used for various purposes.

3. Thermodynamic Solar Panels

They are the most widely used solar panels today. Among its benefits is the possibility of harnessing the energy of solar radiation, but also the ability to generate energy despite the rain, or even collect this energy from moonlight.

In addition, this type of panel offers other advantages over photovoltaic and thermal panels. Among them are its low price, smaller size, lower installation and maintenance costs, and higher efficiency.

We must also point out that there are different types of solar panels depending on the shape, although we will deal with this in detail in a future article.

How To Test Solar Panels: A Complete Guide

To check the correct operation of a solar panel, we need A multimeter or an ammeter clamp. To perform this check, we must complete a series of steps:

We can perform two measurements Imp and Isc. And we must bear in mind that the current value that we measure will depend on the actual test conditions. That it will be less than the value specified by the manufacturer carried out in standard measurement conditions.

Step 1: Measure Isc Current (Short Circuit Current):

Connect the + cable to the cable of the solar panel.

In this way, we pass the maximum current that can circulate through the solar panel. There is no danger since the physical limitations of the solar panel prevents the Isc value from being exceeded.

Surround the cable with the current clamp

If the reading is negative, it means that the current flow is in the opposite direction, but what interests us is not the direction of the current, not its value. If you turn the clamp, you will get a positive reading.

Step 2: Measure Imp Current (Maximum Power Current):

  1. Connect the solar panel to the regulator as in regular operation.
  2. Surround the current clamp to any of the cables that come from the solar panel, either the + cable or the cable. If the reading is negative.

It means that the current flow is in the opposite direction, but what interests us is not the direction of the current. But its value. If you turn the clamp or change the cable, you will get the positive reading.

Step 3: Measure the current of a solar panel with a tester or digital multimeter:

As these devices do not have a clamp meter, we must carry out a serial measurement. In other words, the current from the solar panel must pass through the tester.

For this, it is necessary to interpose the tester cables in the path of the + cable or the cable of the circuit.

Important points to note:

  1. Change the red tester wire from the hole with the sign V to the hole with the sign “A” or “10A”. Look at the maximum value of your tester. We cannot exceed this current. Testers without 3 holes may not be able to perform DC measurements.
  2. The black cable of the tester must be in the COM hole.
  3. Select in the direct current selector (Adc). If our multimeter does not have the symbol of Adc or DCA, we cannot measure direct current.

Step 4: Measure Isc Current (Short Circuit Current):

  • Touch the + cable of the solar panel with the red wire of the tester. 
  • Touch the cable of the solar panel with the black cable of the tester.

Important: Normally, digital testers or multimeters have a current limitation of 10A. So, we can only measure solar panels with currents below 10A and one at a time.

Step 5: Measure Imp Current (Maximum Power Current):

  • Disconnect the + cable that goes from the solar panel to the regulator.
  • Touch the + cable of the solar panel with the red tester cable.
  • Touch with the black cable of the tester the regulator input where the + cable of the solar panel was.

How To Test Solar Panels

Most Popular Solar Panel Brands

The best solar panels on the market are divided into few brands. The best brands of solar panels take into account the sales margins, but a series of factors such as the quality, reliability, and importance of the brand.

1. SunPower

The United States does not have many companies that specialize in photovoltaics, but SunPower probably only represents a giant in the industry.

In the past, it has also been the subject of a period of crisis, but thanks to the support of the Obama administration, it has been able to remain in the market.

2. Panasonic-Sanyo

The Japanese multinational has entered the world of photovoltaic panels by purchasing Sanyo.

Its solar panels are among the best in the world in terms of performance, second only to the new Sunpower X models. Their performance is around 20%, a fair value, while the competition stops alongside the values ​​of 15%.

3. LG Solar

After the USA and Japan, Korea also has its brand of excellence in the industry, that is, LG, thanks to its subsidiary LG Solar.

The latest technological evolution of this multinational is undoubtedly Cello technology, used in its photovoltaic modules. It is an innovative system that can improve performance and reliability. 

Briefly, the system is equipped with cables 12 that can better scatter sunlight over the entire surface of the photovoltaic panel itself.

4. Trina Solar

Even a Chinese brand could not be missing from the list. A catalog has several solutions that adapt both to the domestic installation and the industrial one.

For example, the Quadmax module guarantees the performance of 16.8%, and with its 72 cells, it can produce a power of around 205-215W. Built with square cells, it gives the plant an excellent aesthetic impact than many competing models.

Advantages Of Solar Panels

Solar panels offer a host of benefits, some of which stem from the type of energy they use. Thus, solar energy is an immaculate energy supply method that does not leave any kind of waste in the atmosphere. Also, it does not pollute the soil or water.

In addition to being totally clean and environmentally friendly energy, it is among the so-called renewable energies. These are energies that come from nature, and that will never run out, at least in millions of years. 

These energies are wind, solar, or geothermal, among others. These energies, unlike fossil resources such as coal or oil, are inexhaustible.

It must also be taken into account that it is an energy that does not usually cause problems. It is safe, quiet, and does not require complex installations or high maintenance beyond cleaning the panels when they are dirty and no longer captures energy as efficiently.

Of course, one of the great benefits of these solar panels is the economic savings they produce at home. A support installation can be used to support some necessary appliances, and we can even save a large part of heating or hot water.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here we have compiled top Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), so it will help to clear all the doubts.

Q. How do solar panels work?

A. Solar panels generate electrical energy by absorbing sunlight. That energy can be used in your home, business, or returned to the CFE.

Q. Will I be able to expand or reduce my system if my consumption changes?

A. Yes, one of the many advantages of micro-inverter solar power systems is that they can be resized by removing or adding more solar cells.

Q. Is it possible to make solar panels at home?

A. There are many ways to make a home solar panel, but photovoltaic solar panels are expensive and use technology that we can hardly carry out in our homes. 

On the other hand, solar thermal panels can be manufactured in an artisanal way with materials that are easily available and at a much lower cost than solar energy equipment. So, it is always advisable to obtain branded ones.

Wrap-Up

We are sure this guide on how to test solar panels will help you buy the best solar panels. Over time they can make a difference in the recovery time of the investment made and the profit margins. 

There are different brands of solar panels, where depending on the characteristics of each one will be its performance, so buy the best one that will give you profit for a long time! 

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