When your solar array isn’t producing as much energy as it was projected to, it can be frustrating. You may wonder, “Is there something wrong with my panels?”
Rest assured, you aren’t the only one with this concern. In fact, many customers were curious when they saw a dip in their systems’ energy production last year.
The biggest factor for system efficiency
Luckily, the panels aren’t to blame. Mother Nature takes that honor!
2017 was an outlier year for solar energy production in the Northeast. With less sunshine in Massachusetts & Rhode Island, photovoltaic systems had less raw material from which to create energy.
The number of cloudy days rose dramatically in 2017, from 73 cloudy days in 2016 to 97 in 2017. The chart below shows what this looked like for Providence, RI – look at that giant spike of cloudy days in May!
In addition, we received over an inch more precipitation in 2017 than in 2016. (When your panels are covered in snow, they can’t produce energy.)
In short, the weather is the largest player in the efficiency of your panels, so big year-to-year changes like this can be surprising. Keep in mind, however, that a year of higher-than-average energy production could follow.
Solar Panel Troubleshooting: How to ensure your system is working
If you still want to double-check your system’s functionality, here are a few ways to do so:
- Check the metering software that we provide you. With every system we install, My Generation Energy provides on-line monitoring service. The performance of each day is displayed and archived so there’s no guessing or wondering about how well your system is working. (Not a customer yet? Click here to monitor an active solar energy system in real time!)
- Check the weather. Four’easter month? Using your online monitoring service, select a past date that was sunnier to see how energy production compares. You should notice a significant difference between a sunny day and a cloudy or snowy day. And if snow covers your array, don’t worry about cleaning it off of your panels. As long as they are mounted at an angle of 15º or more, they will self-clean.
- Call us! Monitoring system still not matching up to your expectations? Give us a call and your sales rep can identify potential obstacles to your system’s efficiency and discuss ways to improve your energy production and savings.
Because we install only the best photovoltaic (PV) panels, inverters, hardware, and electrical components, the weather is the only variable factor. We select equipment with the longest warranties in the business, zero maintenance, and dependable performance. Your panels come from industry-leading suppliers – we don’t take chances on off-brand equipment.
These systems are our legacy. We intend for them to function perfectly for years and years. The weather, on the other hand … well, if we could bring you more sunny days, we certainly would have started doing that a few weeks ago!
Bottom line: we want you to be satisfied with your system. Contact us if you have any questions!