Common Problems Faced By Solar Panel Owners - Part 2

common solar problems - faulty wiring

To reap the benefits out of our solar panels for the long term, we need to make sure that they are protected against potential technical and maintenance issues. In our previous blog post, we discussed the three major issues commonly faced by solar panel owners. These were bird droppings, the creation of hotspots on solar panels, and the accumulation of dust and pollutants on the surface of solar panels. However, there are certain other serious solar panel maintenance related problems that are yet to be discussed. These include micro-cracking of solar panels, the PID effect, and faulty wiring. Let’s talk about them one by one.

Micro Cracks

micro cracks in solar panels

Also known as microfractures and often invisible to the naked eye, this form of solar panel degradation can severely affect the output of the solar panels and their longevity. 

Cause: The reason behind the formation of solar panel micro-cracks can be faulty manufacturing, careless transportation, or environment-related. 

  • Manufacturing: If the manufacturing process isn’t properly controlled or the quality of silicon used is subpar then there is a greater chance of panels developing micro cracks.  
  • Environment Related: The thin silicon wafers used to make solar cells undergo thermal expansion during the day and contraction during the night. This is called thermal cycling and over time causes the small imperfections in the cell to develop into large micro cracks. Other natural factors can be hailstorm, heavy snowfall, or humid and freezing weather conditions.
  • Logistics and Installation: Improper handling and installation of solar panels can also cause problems in your PV Solar System. Incorrect packaging, dropping or bumping of panels, stepping on the panels, and installation on nonplanar surfaces thereby creating stress are some of the reasons.   

Solution: Buying high-quality solar panels and hiring a solar installer that follows best practices will keep solar panel micro-cracks at bay mostly. However, not all environmental factors can be avoided, and thus periodic monitoring will ensure that the problem can be resolved at the earliest.   

PID Effect

PID effect and prevention

PID stands for potential induced degradation and is caused when there is current leakage from the system into the surroundings. It happens when there is a difference in potential between the cells in the solar panels and the ground. Positive charge flows from the glass, mounts, and frame towards the PV cells and damages them. It can lead up to an output loss of 30% and over time damage the panels. 

Causes: Several factors can combine to lead to PID loss. These include the quality of raw materials used in the manufacturing of solar cells and solar frame, location of installation, and system voltage.  

Solution: Usually buying a PID resistant solar unit is the best way to prevent PID loss. However, often the location and earthing of solar panels can be the culprit which can be solved by a solar professional.

Faulty or Exposed Wiring

faulty wire connection in solar panels

Wires connect individual panels to inverters and to the solar battery. Hence, even the smallest fault in the wiring can inhibit the proper functioning of solar panels.

Causes: Loose connections, oxidation, exposed wires, and corrosion can prevent the flow of current from one component to the other. It can lead to a decline in power output and a short circuit might even damage the panels seriously. Even birds and rats can inflict damage to the wires. 

Solution: It’s best not to meddle with wires unless you are a qualified electrician. In case you feel that there is some problem with the wires, then call your solar panel installer. 

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