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Shedding Light on Solar Panel Underperformance: Causes and Solutions

As solar energy becomes increasingly popular, more and more households and businesses are installing solar panels to reduce their reliance on traditional energy sources. However, despite their numerous benefits, solar panels can sometimes underperform. When this happens, it can be frustrating and expensive. In this article, we will discuss some common causes of solar panel underperformance and potential solutions.


Shading is the most common cause of solar panel underperformance. When a panel is shaded, even partially, its output decreases significantly. Shading can be caused by trees, buildings, or any other object that obstructs the sun’s rays from reaching the panel. Even a small amount of shade can reduce a panel’s output by up to 80%. Read more…

Solution: The solution to shading is straightforward: remove the object that is causing the shading or relocate the solar panel. If it is a tree that is causing the shading, trimming the tree or removing it entirely may be necessary. If it is a building or other permanent structure, repositioning the panel may be the only solution.

Dirt and Debris

Dirt, dust, and debris can accumulate on solar panels over time, reducing their efficiency. This is especially true for panels that are mounted at an angle, as debris can accumulate on the surface of the panel and block sunlight. Read more…

Solution: Cleaning the panels regularly is the solution to dirt and debris buildup. A soft brush or cloth and some water can be used to clean the surface of the panel. However, if the panels are mounted in a hard-to-reach location, it may be necessary to hire a professional to clean them.

Faulty Wiring

Faulty wiring can cause a decrease in a solar panel’s output. This is because wiring that is not properly connected can cause resistance, which reduces the flow of electricity. Faulty wiring can also cause electrical arcing, which can damage the panel and decrease its lifespan.

Solution: If you suspect faulty wiring is the cause of underperformance, it is important to hire a professional to inspect the wiring and make any necessary repairs. It is not recommended to attempt to repair the wiring yourself, as this can be dangerous and may cause further damage to the panel.

Inverter Failure

The inverter is an essential component of a solar panel system. It converts the direct current (DC) produced by the panels into alternating current (AC), which is used to power homes and businesses. If the inverter fails, the system will not be able to function properly, resulting in a decrease in output.

Solution: If you suspect the inverter is the cause of underperformance, it is important to hire a professional to inspect the inverter and make any necessary repairs or replacements. In some cases, the inverter may need to be replaced entirely.

Aging Panels

Solar panels have an average lifespan of around 25 years. However, as panels age, their efficiency decreases. This means that older panels may not be able to produce as much energy as they did when they were new.

Solution: If you have older panels that are underperforming, it may be time to consider upgrading to newer, more efficient panels. While this may be a significant investment, it can pay off in the long run by reducing your energy costs and increasing your energy independence.

Read here: Solar Panel Maintenance and Repair with Drone technology


Solar panels are a great investment for those who want to reduce their reliance on traditional energy sources. However, underperformance can be frustrating and expensive. By understanding the common causes of underperformance and their solutions, you can ensure that your solar panel system is functioning at its optimal level. Regular cleaning, professional maintenance, and upgrades when necessary can help you get the most out of your solar panel investment.


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