With a greater public acceptance of Solar PV and fossil fuels becoming an increasingly hot topic in the media, a lot of people out there are considering going solar. The problem is, installing a solar power system is not always as easy as it seems. Here we are going to look at some of the most common reasons why solar Photovoltaic systems fail, and some safety tips you can follow to prevent problems down the road.
There are a lot of ways your solar power system can fail, especially if you haven’t put in the time to learn how they operate. And we understand that keeping up with technology can sometimes be overwhelming, especially if it’s not your specialty. But fortunately, there are a few simple tips you can use to ensure that your system will work properly.
So, in this blog, we are going to discuss common solar panel defects and how to fix them.
When a solar panel is plotted under the shade, the flow of current cannot flow around weak cells, which may cause an effect on the hotspot area. Eventually, the current will reach a few cells, causing them to overheat and melt.
One of the most prevalent reasons for solar-panel failure or fire danger is the hotspot effect. Thus, it becomes important to utilize bypass diodes when constructing photovoltaic systems. The system will guarantee that current may flow past weak cells while shading impacts are reduced under diverse shading situations.
Hotspots are widely spread in PV modules, and this trend is expected to continue as PV module technology is becoming advanced to thinner wafers. These thinner wafers are more susceptible to micro-cracks throughout the production, shipping, and installation processes.
Causes of Hotspots:
Hot patches on the surface of solar modules are widespread, and they use a large amount of the module’s solar panel failure causes.
In the current situation, we know that thrown shadows hotspots are produced. So, where do cast shadows come from?
- Shade from an item near or above a solar panel, such as trees, people, or equipment, can be effective. Another typical reason is an obstruction on the glass surface caused by dirt and debris, which can prevent light from entering the cell by reflection.
- Design flaws in some kinds of silicon cells, this is also known as multi-crystalline, or poly-crystalline cells, may also result in hot spots.
- Hot spots may have a major influence on nearby cells that can cause effect/damage to the solar power output if they are not discovered in a timely way.
How to Fix the Hotspot
- Hotspots do not exist everywhere. Heat accumulation, which may be caused by a variety of circumstances, is always the cause of the hotspot. However, if your solar panel system contains little airflow by the medium of protective cover, hotspots are more likely to form.
- To prevent overheating of the panels, a good solar panel system requires appropriate ventilation and circulation. Installing a power optimizer which is very much beneficial in limiting the energy output automatically. When temperatures climb too high is the best approach to avoid overheating.
- This eliminates the requirements of physical power or manual controls and guarantees that your production standards are maintained.
PID, which has the full form of Potential Induced Deterioration, is a phenomenon in the solar sector that has just lately become a problem. PID affects the ions in a solar cell, which results in a reduction in the cell’s output.
After the operation, PID may dramatically limit the power output of a photovoltaic (PV) module, with power losses at the module level as high as 70% in the first 18 months. These losses at the module level may proceed quickly and become so severe that they impact the overall performance of a system.
Potentially caused deterioration is a matter of module problem, which requires system-level modifications. The incidence of PID is mostly determined by the system’s electrical setup and module design/construction. PID may be caused by a variety of factors, such as system voltage, temperature, humidity, and irradiance.
Cause Of PID Effect
PID arises in systems with a large negative potential when compared to the earth. PID occurs when the inverter’s negative pole is unconnected to the ground or when the inverter’s positive pole is connected to the ground in a bipolar configuration.
PID does not occur in grounded systems, where the inverter’s negative pole is grounded, or in systems with a voltage less than or equal to 600V, since the high negative voltage potential that causes PID does not exist.
It has lower prices and increased efficiency, grounded systems are losing way to ungrounded and bipolar systems, and higher voltage systems are becoming wider.
The PID impact is particularly severe in the modules with the largest negative potential in an ungrounded system.
There are various elements in addition to the electrical arrangement that can help in generating the correct circumstances for PID to occur:
• Design of modules
• Quality Control
Now the question arises what occurs and what does not in the production plant? The production plant has a big impact on PID development in a particular panel.
How To Install:
PID can also be avoided in solar plants that have grounded electrical layouts by the medium of grounding the negative pole of the inverter.
The PV industry has developed a set of tests that are generally known as IEC62804. This test is used to assess dependability. As per the HSB experts, anti-PID procedures should also be introduced at the inverter until there is enough data to indicate that module certifications are successful.
Before initiating the troubleshooting steps in a solar inverter, you must be aware of how it operates. Here we have discussed how the inverter converts DC energy from the panel into AC power:
The energy from the solar panels will be stored in the battery, which will be charged directly from the roof’s PV cells. The inverter starts operating and functioning during this process, later which will be converting the power type from DC to AC and storing it on the battery. The DC electricity from the panel is then transmitted into the inverter. The inverter transforms the energy to AC and stores power in the battery until it is needed. After switching on the light, it also pulls AC power from the battery through the inverter.
Causes Of Inverter Problem:
Generally, the inverters are installed incorrectly. The reason behind the situation is that solar inverters are designed in such a way that they can provide years of trouble-free service, and they are built to withstand issues. However, if you install it correctly, with no bad connections or yields, it can function appropriately. The majority of internal issues with solar inverters are caused by improper installation in the first place.
How To Fix The Inverter Problem:
• Make sure the installer is a professional with appropriate expertise while making the installation or repairing of the inverter. Check to see whether everything is operating at the correct power level, as specified by the manufacturer.
• The first step is to disconnect or turn off any device that isn’t in use! Then, if you have a single device, hit the reset button or unplug and reconnect the power.
• Checking for ventilation on a regular basis is the best strategy to handle the temperature issue. If you’re installing the inverter in a confined space, ensure there’s enough ventilation to keep the space cool. You must also provide a space for a decent cooling technique for the inverter, which is dependent on its kind and size. For the greatest results, install cooling fans in the switch cabinet and create an airflow pattern.
High Grid Voltage Issue
How renewable energy threatens our power grids is a big matter of consideration. But a real issue that isn’t getting enough attention from the industry is how voltage rises on our mostly old and inflexible infrastructure, preventing customers from getting the most out of their solar PV installations.
The experts are much aware of the same; however, it has been observed that most of the customers are unaware of how crucial the link between the voltage at the inverter and the voltage on the grid is. When anything goes wrong, the client receives a bill that shows considerably less power was exported to the grid than anticipated, and someone a solar installer, an electrical retailer, or a network also receives an irate phone call.
Cause of High Grid Voltage Issue:
In order to push the electricity out, the inverter must be operated at a greater voltage than the grid. In simple words, current flows from the point of higher voltage towards a point of lower voltage, never the other way around. The major issue is each and every solar installation that pushes power into the system raises the network voltage slightly and with tens of thousands of systems coming online on SA Power’s network each year. There are some systems that will be confronted with a grid voltage that is outside inverter tolerance (the AS/NZS 4777.1 standard limits inverter voltage to 255V).
How To Fix The Problem:
• Installing a three-phase inverter is one of the best options since the current fed into the grid is split into three wires instead of just one with a single-phase converter. By doing this, the voltage will be reduced, and the current can be generated.
• Up gradations to the grid, including the replacement of power lines with thicker ones that contribute less to voltage growth.
• Increasing the grid’s voltage allowance to manage the greater voltage generated by solar.
How To Tell If A Solar Panel Is Bad?
Usually, solar panels can work for years without issue. But most solar panel owners might not be aware of whether the installed solar system is working correctly or not.
So if you don’t know how to tell if a solar panel is bad, follow these simple steps to find out any issue.
Here’s how you can tell if a solar panel is bad:
- Step 1: Check If The Inverter Has A Green Or Red Light
- Step 2: Examine The Solar Meter
- Step 3: Measure the Solar Panel Output
- Step 4: Check for Common Solar Panel Issues
What To Do If Your Solar Panels Fail?
Just like any other piece of equipment, a solar panel can fail, and that could mean that your system is not working as efficiently as it should, and in some cases, it can mean that your system is not working at all.
If you believe that your solar panel has failed, then the first thing you should do is refrain from looking at the system yourself. If you start to remove parts or replace parts, then you could cause further damage, or you could even cause your warranty to become void.
To begin with, it is worth identifying whether the system is displaying an error message on the inverter and if so, you should make a note of this as it will help further down the line. Your solar panel might have become damaged from the weather, it might have become excessively dirty, or parts might have completely failed. Whatever the reason, you should always consider calling on professional help.
This is because your chosen professional service will have experience in identifying the cause of the problem through a number of methods. Whether it is cosmetic damage or internal damage, they will have the expertise and experience that will enable them to do all that they need to do to make things right. So, if a part needs replacing, they will have the correct tools and knowledge to work on the system, ensuring that they rectify the problem while ensuring that your warranty remains in place.
Solar panels are an integral part of the system, and that means that it is vital that you leave any repair work to a professional service. There are risks that come with attempting to carry out repairs yourself, and any further damage caused could result in high repair costs or maybe even the installation of a new system. So, if your solar panel fails, then you should seek expert help as soon as possible.