Why Is My Solar Panel System Not Producing Enough Energy?

5 min

Why Is My Solar Panel System Not Producing Enough Energy?

Solar panels are a great way to generate clean, renewable energy. However, you may sometimes notice that your solar panel system isn't producing the expected amount of energy. It is important to check for any visible issues, such as shading or dirt on the panels. This article will help you know if your solar panels are underperforming, understand the common reasons for underperformance, and provide guidance on troubleshooting and potential upgrades to improve your system's output.

How to Know If Your Solar Panel System is Underperforming:

IndicatorDescriptionPossible Causes
Lower-than-Expected Energy OutputYour solar panel system produces less energy than anticipated.Shading, dirt and debris, panel degradation, inverter issues, system design, weather conditions.
Unusual Spike in Utility BillsYour electricity bills have unexpectedly increased.Reduced solar energy production, increased energy consumption, utility rate changes.
Inverter Error Codes or WarningsYour inverter displays error codes or warning messages.Inverter malfunction, electrical issues, system design problems.
Physical Damage or WearVisible damage or wear on your solar panels, such as cracks or discoloration.Weather-related damage, manufacturing defects, aging panels.
Frequent System ShutdownsYour solar panel system frequently shuts down or stops producing energy.Inverter issues, electrical problems, and system design flaws.

Common Reasons for Solar Panel Underperformance:


Shading can significantly impact the performance of your solar panel system. Even partial shading can lead to a considerable drop in energy production. To address this issue, identify the source of the shading and consider trimming trees or removing other obstructions that cast shadows on your panels.

Dirt and Debris

A clean solar panel surface is essential for optimal energy production. Dust, dirt, bird droppings, or other debris can block sunlight and reduce your system's performance. Regularly clean your solar panels with a soft brush or cloth and water to maintain their efficiency. If your panels are difficult to access, consider hiring a professional cleaning service.

Panel Degradation

Over time, solar panels may experience a gradual decline in efficiency. Most solar panels come with a performance warranty, typically guaranteeing around 80% efficiency after 25 years. Monitor your system's performance and, if you notice significant degradation, consult with a professional to determine whether you should replace any panels.

Inverter Issues

Inverters convert the direct current (DC) electricity generated by solar panels into alternating current (AC) electricity for use in your home. A malfunctioning or inefficient inverter can cause energy loss. Check your inverter for faults and consider upgrading to a more efficient model if necessary. Additionally, ensure that your inverter is correctly sized for your solar panel system.

System Design and Configuration

The design and configuration of your solar panel system can impact its energy production. Factors such as the angle and orientation of the panels, as well as the type and number of panels installed, can affect your system's performance. Consult with an expert to optimize your system configuration based on your location and energy needs.

Weather Conditions

Weather conditions, particularly cloudy or rainy days, can temporarily reduce solar panel energy production. It's important to understand that these fluctuations are normal and to factor them into your energy use expectations. Over the long term, solar panels remain a reliable source of clean, renewable energy.

What to Do If Your Solar Panel System Still Isn't Producing Enough Energy?

If you have addressed the above issues and your solar panel system is still not producing the expected amount of energy, consider the following options:

Add More Solar Panels:

Expanding your solar panel system by installing additional panels can help increase your energy production. Consult with a professional to determine the best approach for adding more panels to your existing setup.

Upgrade to High-Efficiency Panels:

If your current solar panels are older or less efficient, upgrading to high-efficiency panels can improve your system's performance. Newer solar panel technologies generally offer better performance and may be more effective in low-light conditions.

Optimize Energy Consumption:

Examine your household's energy consumption patterns and consider implementing energy-saving measures. This may include upgrading to energy-efficient appliances, using LED lighting, and insulating your home to reduce heating and cooling costs. By reducing your energy consumption, you can better match your solar panel system's output to your needs.

Consider Energy Storage:

Installing a solar battery storage system can help you store excess energy produced during peak sunlight hours and use it during periods of low energy production, such as cloudy days or nighttime. This can help you maximize the benefits of your solar panel system and reduce your reliance on grid electricity.

Want to learn more about the benefits of a solar battery storage system? Check out our article.

Final Thoughts

If your solar panel system isn't producing enough energy, it's essential to identify the cause and take appropriate action. Address issues like shading, dirt, and debris on the panels, panel degradation, inverter problems, and system design and configuration. If your system still underperforms, consider adding more panels, upgrading to high-efficiency panels, optimizing energy consumption, or installing a solar battery storage system. By taking these steps, you can ensure that your solar panel system provides you with reliable, clean, and renewable energy for years to come.

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