How to check if the solar panel is charging the battery


After solar PV system installation, most people forget the system needs to be regularly checked. The system might get defective after some time. And if you are not familiar with your solar PV system, you will be frustrated trying to figure out what is making your solar not work as expected. 

A defective solar panel is the main reason your solar might not be working. But how do you check if your solar panel is the problem?

Solar Inverter
Solar Inverter

In this guide, I give you all scenarios you can use to tell if your solar panel is charging your solar battery. You will have enough knowledge to fix your solar panel issue by the end of the guide. Don’t go anywhere.

How to check if the solar panel is charging the battery

A defective solar panelOpens in a new tab. is a disease to your solar PV system. If a solar panel is defective, it will not send any current to your solar battery. As a result, you will be in the dark unless you have an electricity line. 

Checking if your solar panel is charging your solar battery does not need a lot of expertise. You will need some information that I will gladly give you in this guide.

Step 1: Check the voltage of the solar battery

The first step to tell if your solar panel is charging your solar battery is by checking the voltage of a solar battery. 

  • You can do so by connecting a multimeter to the solar battery. 
  • Check the reading on the readings on the multimeter before you start charging.
  • Check if the readings after a few hours have changed.
  • If the readings have not changed, check if the solar battery and the connections are in the right condition. 
  • A faulty solar battery cannot receive any charge. If the solar battery is not defective, the solar panel has a problem. 

Checking the solar panel will help you determine the issue. 

Step 2: Check the condition of your solar panel, solar battery, and regulators

First, check to see if the connections are made properly. If the solar panel wiring is done right, you can check the panel itself. Black spots, dust, and water droplets might inhibit the charging process. You should also check if the diodes are intact; otherwise, your battery will not charge. 

Step 3: Check the voltage of the charge controller 

The terminal voltage of the charge controller should be in range for it to charge a solar battery. 

If the above components are not working as they should, there is a high chance that your solar battery will not charge. 

Why is my solar panel not charging my battery?

A solar panel might be having a hard time charging your solar battery if one part of it is not working efficiently. Below are some things you should look for in your solar panel if it is not charging your solar battery.

  • Look for hotspots: A solar panel with hotspots will not charge a solar battery as it is expected. 
  • Check the positioning of the solar panel: if the solar panel does not face the sun directly, then the solar panel will not charge your solar battery.
  • Look if your solar panel is covered by dust: Dust particles interfere with the absorption of solar energy by the photovoltaic cells. Wipe off any dust and observe the charging process again.
  • The wiring: one wrong connection in your solar PV system will result in your solar panel not charging the solar battery. This video demonstrates a step-by-step procedure for connecting a solar panel to a solar battery. 
  • Fault solar panel: a faulty solar panel cannot collect or pass any charge to a solar battery. 
  • Faulty solar battery: Sometimes, a solar panel is not the issue. If the battery is defective, it cannot charge and hold any charge. 
  • A faulty charge controller: if a charge controller is defective, it inhibits any charge from reaching the solar battery.

A solar panel should always face direct sunlight and have a functioning solar sensorOpens in a new tab..

How to test a solar panel with a multimeter

Before you start using a multimeter to test a solar panel, you will need to;

  • Learn how a multimeter works 
  • Check the voltage and the amperes of the solar panel. 
  • Observe if the weather conditions are suitable for testing.

Once you are done, you should set the multimeter in terms of DC voltage and DC amperage.

Step 1: Test for voltage

Set the multimeter in terms of DC voltage to test for voltage. Ensure you set the maximum voltage to accommodate the voltage readings.

Step 2: Test for Amperes

When the multimeter is set in DC amperage, read the amperes readings. 

Step 3: Calculate the wattage of the solar panel

The wattage is found by calculating volts × amperes= wattage.

Once you get the wattage, you can use it to determine the size of the battery, and the time it takes to charge a battery fully. 

Solution for solar panel low voltage problem

A solar panel can register high amperes but a low voltage. This might be as a result of a;

  • Defective charge controller
  • A faulty solar inverterOpens in a new tab.
  • A defective solar panel
  • Or wring setup

This guide above has described instances where the solar panel might not be charging. We are now going to discuss ways you can fix these issues. 

Dust particles

Solar panels are not meant to be cleaned every day. However, if you live in a dusty region, ensure you check the panel regularly and clean it.

High temperatures

High temperatures in a solar panel result from the presence of black spots. If a solar panel has hotspots, you should replace them with a new one.

Shading

Make sure you place the solar panel in a direct sunlight path.

Faulty inverter

A faulty inverter should be replaced with a new working one.

Bad wiring

The wrong setup can cause more harm than the low voltage in your solar PV system. Use this guide to learn how to set the home PV system.

Faulty charge controller,

you should replace a faulty charge controller immediately.

Faulty solar panel

There is no solution to ad faulty solar panel. If your panel is defective, ensure you replace it immediately.

Conclusion

If your solar panel is not charging your solar battery, then there must be an issue with either the;

  • Panel
  • Solar battery
  • Inverter
  • Setup
  • Or the Charge controller

The guide above will help you troubleshoot the problem with your solar PV system and fix any issues. 

Matt

I’m Matt, a computer and electronic embedded system developer. Currently, working as an electronic engineer. In my leisure time, I do love to blog about technology stuff. Specially, new advance high tech devices. Portable solar systems are one of topic that I love to investigate. They are becoming more powerful day by day which keep me alert.

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