Solar Panel Installation in Basingstoke
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Common Problems With Solar Panels (And How To Combat Them)

Solar panels have a reputation for being consistent and reliable. But nothing in life is perfect, solar panels included. There are some common problems you may come across as a proud (or soon-to-be proud) owner of a solar array. Thankfully, these common problems are all quite easy to combat, so you’ll have your solar panels up and running at maximum efficiency again before you know it. 

Below we’ll look at the most common problems with solar panels, and for every problem we present, we’ll also provide a solution.

To work out exactly how many panels you need you’ll need to think about your annual energy usage currently, how much exposure to the sun your panels will get throughout the day, and the size of your roof (which may limit the amount you can have).

Read on to answer the question: ‘How many solar panels do I need?’.

Common Problems With Solar Panels

    • Inverter problems

    • Low electricity production

    • Loose electrical connections

    • Damaged panels

    • Dirty panels

    • Lack of maintenance

    • Shading issues

    • Nesting problems

Inverter Problems

When people choose solar panels for their home, most are attracted to the 20-25 year warranty that most panels come with. The problem is, plenty of people don’t realise that this large warranty applies to the panels themselves – not the entire system. And inverters, as a hardworking part of that system, won’t last nearly as long as the panels.

Your inverter is responsible for inverting the energy your solar panels produce from Direct Current (DC) to Alternating Current (AC), which the appliances in our homes in the UK all use. If this stops working, then you won’t be able to use the electricity your solar panels produce in your home, meaning you’ll be paying high prices for energy from the national grid.

Increased energy bills are usually a sure sign that your inverter isn’t working properly. Even more obviously, most inverters will display a fault code when something isn’t working quite the way it should. Check your inverter product information or manufacturer handbook for more information.

The problem could be anything from a surge in DC to a faulty fuse or even something more catastrophic, such as a failure due to it being an older part.


Because there are multiple possible problems with an inverter, there are multiple solutions. You may need to:

    • Check out the error code on the inverter and follow the manufacturer’s instructions (it may be as simple as switching a switch off and on again)

    • Contact the manufacturer directly for advice

    • Contact an installation company to discuss replacement

Low Electricity Production

One thing you should know as a solar panel owner is how much electricity your panels typically produce for you day to day. That way, when things go wrong, you can react to it much quicker. When you don’t know what your typical electricity production is, you can’t know when it’s low, and low electricity production is a common problem with solar panels which could indicate that something is wrong.

Here are some common causes of low electricity production in solar panels:

Seasonal Variation If you have your panels installed in summer and you’re used to your panels producing optimal electricity when it’s wall-to-wall sunshine outside, then you might think there’s an issue when you notice they’re producing less in winter. This isn’t a problem that can be fixed. This simply happens when the seasons change, so take note of the time of year before worrying too much about your panels’ production levels.
Malfunctioning Parts This is the most concerning reason of the three. If your panels suddenly drop off in production, then there’s likely a fault somewhere in the system. It could be the panels themselves, the wires, or even the circuit breakers that are causing the issue.
Gradual Performance Loss If your panels are producing less and less over the years, then this is perfectly natural and besides replacing them with a whole new system unnecessarily, there’s little you can do. Efficiency drops off slowly, but it will drop off. Take note of your system’s age before worrying too much about a reduction in energy production.


If you’re experiencing a sudden drop off in electricity production for no obvious reason, then the chances are something is malfunctioning in the system. You’ll need to:

    • Contact solar panel experts to come out and diagnose and fix or replace the problematic parts

Loose Electrical Connections

One of the most common problems with solar panels is a loose electrical connection. Solar panels use far more wires than most people realise, and given that they’re exposed to the elements on your roof, accidental disconnections are a lot more common than most realise, too.

Loose connections are easier to fix, but if there is a fault with the wiring then you’ll need more specialist help.


If you’re feeling confident, then you can:

    • Check your solar panels yourself for signs of a loose connection, and plug the wire back in where necessary (if you have the relevant safety equipment and training to work on roofs)


    • You can contact the experts to have them come and do the same thing for you if you’re nervous around solar technology or roofs

    • Experts may need to replace the wiring if it’s faulty and can’t be salvaged

Damaged Panels

If your solar panels become damaged then they won’t be able to perform at their best. Whilst all solar panels are designed to be robust and to withstand the elements, sometimes cracks and damage can occur to the panels for a variety of reasons. Maybe it’s something being dropped from a height, poor installation, or simply thermal expansion throughout the day.

The silicon used in the cells is thin, but it expands and contracts throughout the day with temperature changes, and this can lead to micro-cracks in the panels, causing a drop off in efficiency and power generation.


No matter the cause, if your panels are damaged, you only have one solution open to you:

    • Replacing the damaged panels with a solar panel installation company

You won’t necessarily need a whole new system, especially if your solar panels aren’t nearing the end of their natural life anyway. If you have an older system, then upgrading to more modern panels and technology might be worth your while.

It’s important that you replace your broken panels, though, because without microinverters in your system (where each panel has an inverter attached to the back to convert DC to AC for your home) your whole system will be affected by one low-performing, damaged panel.

Dirty Panels

Solar panels are generally self-cleaning, especially in the UK where rain is so common. But if there’s been a period of dry weather, then the chances are there will be a buildup of dirt and grime on your panels.

Even a thin layer of dirt can affect your panel’s performance. It blocks the direct sunlight from reaching your solar cells effectively, meaning the whole process isn’t as efficient as it would otherwise be.

Remember, solar panels are built and tested in laboratory settings. Whilst it isn’t possible to replicate this at home, you should do all you can to make conditions as optimal as possible, and dirty panels are one of the most common problems with solar panels that need addressing to improve their efficiency.


There are three options available to you here:

    • Climb up a ladder to wipe down the panels with a soft cloth and warm water (you’ll need appropriate safety precautions in place to do this, of course)

    • Hire or buy a long-handled wiper that will allow you to clean your panels from the ground with warm water

    • Call out the professionals to come and clean your panels for you

Lack Of Maintenance

Sometimes solar panels, like most things in life, simply need a little TLC to make sure it’s working the way they ought to be. This maintenance can involve tests, checks, fixes, and replacements on almost any part of the system including:

Panels Battery Inverter
Racking Charge Controller Wiring
Home’s Electrical Panel Power Meter Etc 

When solar panel maintenance is carried out on your solar system everything is thoroughly checked to ensure it’s in full working order. This is one of the best ways to ensure your panels perform at their best for their full life.


Unless you are a trained solar expert, you can’t complete a thorough solar panel maintenance service yourself. Instead, you will need to:

    • Contact a solar panel installation company that offers maintenance services

Shading Issues

When your panels are first installed, they’ll usually be placed in the optimal position for maximum sunlight throughout the day, meaning they can perform at their peak during daylight hours. Sometimes, though, things change.

Where once your panels may have been completely free of any shade, new buildings, growing trees, or new structures in your area can all have changed that recently. Of course, where those obstructions are will impact the solution.


If the shading is caused by something on your property:

    • You can consider pruning any of your nearby trees that may be impacting the panels

If the shading is caused by something NOT on your property:

    • You can consider having your panels moved by professionals if there’s a better place for them now compared to when they were first installed

Nesting Problems

Solar panels are excellent for your home and the environment. But what many people don’t realise is that they’re excellent for nature, too, especially nesting birds like pigeons. And these nesting birds can create a real problem for your panels.

Their droppings and nesting material can affect the panels themselves, reducing their efficiency. The birds can easily disrupt the inner workings of your panels, as their nests are often built underneath the panels where wiring can easily be affected.


Solving this problem might involve hiring pest control companies who can safely remove the nests and birds and relocate them:

    • Hiring a pest control company to safely remove the nests is key, but you may then also need them to carry out some pigeon proofing to prevent the problem from occurring again

    • Any damages will need to be fixed by a solar company

Common Problems With Solar Panels Roundup

The best thing you can do to avoid problems with solar panels is to ensure you work with a professional installation company to begin with. By working with DES Renewable Energy, you can ensure that your panels are positioned perfectly and that the installation is carried out professionally to reduce the risk of loose connections or damage.

But even with the best will in the world, these problems may still occur. In that case, why not hire us to carry out maintenance and cleaning services where necessary to get your panels back up and running to their full capacity?

Contact DES Renewable Energy today if you notice any problems with your solar panels, and we’ll do our best to set it right.

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