PV Testing: How to and Why Is It Important?

Underperforming solar photovoltaic (PV) modules result in lost revenue for asset owners. Solar system owners must invest in module testing plans that will eventually generate enough revenue to justify their costs.

To maintain smooth PV system operation, installers are encouraged to regularly inspect and test the solar modules.

What Is PV Testing?

Photovoltaic (PV) testing can be divided into two categories: visual inspection and a testing procedure.

Visual Inspection During Solar PV Testing

A visual inspection is done before and after a PV module has undergone environmental, electrical, or mechanical stress testing in the lab to ensure that the module is in good condition.

A visual inspection should take place, not only at commissioning but also, during routine testing.

The British standard BS EN 62446’s checklist is a great technique to ensure that all critical DC system components are evaluated and taken into consideration during the visual inspection. Below is a checklist example shared by NREL.

Getting Started With Testing

System performance testing comes after the inspection phase. For the DC side, the following test list is provided in BS EN 62446 (for the DC side):

Continuity Testing

Continuity testing is frequently performed to check electrical system connections, the proper process of disconnecting mechanisms, grounding, and the performance of overcurrent protection devices. PV system equipment grounding is particularly difficult; mounting configurations offered by different manufacturers frequently need specific hardware and grounding procedures.

To ensure correct equipment grounding procedures, be careful to adhere to the company’s instructions for the module and mounting system.

PV Modules Polarity Testing

The polarity of array wire and other dc components should be carefully considered in PV systems, as it is with all dc circuits. Arrays with reversed polarity are capable to serve as loads, which can have drastic consequences and harm PV modules or the wiring of the source circuit.

The 2011 NEC states that all PV components must be clearly recognized by marking, grouping, or tags at all terminations, connections, or splices in order to clear up ambiguities and encourage improved wire management techniques.

Voltage and Current Testing

Before closing disconnects and starting system operations, basic voltage and current checks are carried out on both dc and ac circuits in PV systems to verify that these parameters are within acceptable ranges.

Open-circuit Voltage (Voc) and Short-circuit Current (Isc)

The short-circuit current (Isc) and open-circuit voltage (Voc) test values are used for particular module functionality. Both these values should be within design specifications. Open-circuit voltage (Voc) and short-circuit current (Isc) values from either the Nominal Operating Cell Temperature (NOCT) table or the Standard Test Conditions (STC) table should be valid.

Insulation Resistance Testing

According to the NEC [110.7], an insulation resistance test is used to confirm and show the integrity of electrical equipment and system wiring. Measurement of insulation resistance is performed between the test conductors and the ground, or between other conductors.

System Functional Testing

Functional testing of systems ensures that they operate as intended during startup, shutdown, and normal process settings. This testing process is developed to verify system’s operating parameters are within nominal and intended bounds.

System Performance Testing

Performance tests are used for the verification of system power output and energy production. Performance tests can also be useful to identify issues that need maintenance, as well as to estimate system revenue and warranty terms.

These tests generally include voltage and current measurements and may also entail I-V curve tracing.

Special Tests

PV Testing

Special tests are performed for preventive maintenance or troubleshooting specific problems.

These tests are as follows:

EL Imaging

An electroluminescence (EL) is identical to an X-ray. EL images show microcracks and defects in the inner layers of solar cells.

This technology helps the solar owner and manufacturing companies to detect cell damage which can be responsible for hot spots and underperformance in the future.

Shading Analysis

The shading effects on PV arrays are evaluated and assessed using a shading analysis. Any obstruction close to PV arrays that block the solar window could result in shading.

Power Quality Analysis

Power quality analysis, inverters efficiency, and ac module testing can be done with the help of power analyzer tools available in the market.

These tools can be used to monitor power factors, voltage surges and sags, harmonics, and other conditions with time.

Periodic inverters testing is as important as module testing for solar system safety and reliability. However, these inverter tests are not addressed in this article.

Success in the Solar Industry Starts With Testing and Certification

A certification list for quality assurance has been proposed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and these international standards are largely acknowledged throughout the solar sector. This certification list is effective at revealing system design verification, and material faults that can lead to premature field failures.

Expertise and Experience Count in Solar PV Testing

The individual responsible for conducting the test must be aware of the purpose of each test, expected outcomes, and test instruments used. Although it may seem simple, even a tiny error when entering numbers might result in a significant risk to the project.

One of the sales arguments used over the years to market PV panels goes like this: “It has no moving parts, it requires no maintenance, and it is an “install and forget solution”.

Yes, solar PV is a reliable and simple solution but it requires maintenance and testing just like any other electrical system. Therefore, an “install and forget” solution can leave you on the road sooner rather than later.

Solar Power 101: How The Best Solar Panels Cope with Shade

Many homeowners who have solar panels installed on their roofs worry about one thing the most: shade. Having shade over your solar panels is inevitable. It also brings a valuable impact to the operation and power generation performance of your solar panels.

Shades can come from the clouds, the leaves that have fallen from trees close to the panels, or it could be due to a structure that overshadows your home at a certain time of the day.

However, thanks to the best solar panels available to date, such as the Solid State Solar’s solar solutions, shading has become less of a problem for many solar panel owners.

Below are a few shading scenarios which you can possibly experience:

1. Spot Shadows

Say the spot shadow coming from a single leaf fallen from a tree and landed onto your solar panel. This shadow may not seem much. However, it can actually have a huge impact on your solar panels’ sunlight collection and power generation capabilities.

Solid State Solar’s solar panels are designed to keep solar energy flowing independently on parallel rows. This means that each cell row deploys versatile and redundant paths to allow power to move from one cell to another. Thus, a spot shadow delivers a very minimal to zero impact on the panel’s performance.

2. Linear Shading (Landscape or Portrait Orientation)

A linear shadow delivers a greater impact on a solar panel’s performance compared to a spot shadow. If the linear shadow is on a portrait or landscape orientation, conventional panels typically shut down one of the three zones for electricity in order to deviate from the shading.

Most conventional solar panels will typically experience an average of 33% power loss when subjected to linear shading. However, industry-grade solar panels such as Solid State Solar’s only experience a maximum of 17% power loss. Therefore, even if our solar panel experiences linear shading, its performance will not be heavily affected.


As shading is bound to happen one way or another, having a reliable solar panel that offers the capability to withstand shading is extremely important.

At Solid State Solar, we are well aware of the possible scenarios that may affect solar panels’ efficiency and power generation capabilities. Therefore, we make sure that all of our solar solutions can bypass all the obstacles that may undermine our panels’ performance.

8 Simple Ways of Conserving Power Within Your Business Property

Are you looking for the most practical ways to conserve power and reduce your monthly electricity bills at your business? You are lucky enough to stumble upon this post.

Here are 8 quick and easy methods that you can implement today:

1. Hire an energy auditor.

Having a comprehensive audit of your business’s monthly energy usage and costs allows you to have a quick gander of how your company goes about using power. In order to accurately do energy audits, you need the help of a certified energy auditor who can do the job.

2. Turn off electronic equipment and lights that are not in use.

Whether big or small, any running equipment that is not in use can make a substantial contribution to your company’s total energy consumption. Therefore, it would make a difference if you encourage your team to make sure that all unused electronics are turned off.

3. Make use of natural light as much as possible.

Natural light is not only great for helping you save up on your company’s monthly electricity bills, but it is also great for the workplace. In fact, natural light is proven to have positive effects on employees’ mood, eye health, and vitamin D levels. Additionally, natural light is also hypothesized to boost people’s productivity.

4. Install LED or CFL bulbs as they are longer lasting.

As lighting is essential to any business facility, it also covers a huge chunk of most entities’ total energy consumption. Investing inLED or CFL light bulbs allows you to cut back your monthly lighting cost as these bulbs are energy-efficient and longer-lasting compared to conventional light bulbs.

5. Invest in programmable thermostats.

A programmable thermostat offers the capability of automatically adjusting the temperature in your facility or workplace when no one is around. You can also set it to automatically turn on the central cooling or heating a few minutes prior to your business’s or workplace’s opening.

6. Invest in energy-efficient electronic equipment.

Investing in electronic equipment that has high energy-efficiency ratings is one of the best ways to reduce your business’s overall energy consumption. Computers, printers, copiers, air conditioners, and other commonly used electronic equipment should also offer impeccable energy-efficiency to help you save more.

7. Clean or replace your cooling and heating systems’ filters regularly.

Dirty filters on your air conditioner or heater can affect its efficiency and performance. As a result, your HVAC system’s motors work harder, thus leading them to use more energy. For this reason, it is crucial that you make sure that your HVAC’s filters are also clean.

8. Make use of alternative energy sources.

If you are on the lookout for the ultimate way to conserve energy and cut back the cost of your monthly electricity bills, then going off-grid is the way to go. Alternative energy sources such as solar panels or wind turbines can help you have a more sustainable and cost-efficient energy source for your business.

Ways You Can Save Power at Your Home

Conserving energy at home benefits your bank and contributes to the foregoing efforts to fight the adverse effects of global warming. Thus, by making an effort to cut back your monthly electric bill, you are also giving the planet a favor.

This quick guide will walk you through a rundown of the different ways you can save power at your own home.

Saving Energy With Your Gadgets

Your gadgets are probably one of your most-used electronics at home, and they are unknowingly one of the biggest contributors to your overall energy consumption. Here are a few ways on how you can cut back your power use with your tech gadgets:

  • Turn off devices that are not in use to conserve their batteries’ power.
  • Make use of the hibernate or sleep modes of your devices.
  • Avoid charging your devices overnight.
  • Turn down the brightness of your phones, computers, and other devices with screens.
  • Make use of your device’s “eco” mode if it has it.
  • Have a set schedule where you and your kids do a fun activity that does not require the use of your devices.

Saving Energy With Your Appliances

Your appliances at home, such as your fridge, oven, TV, etc., are probably the ones that are constantly using electricity at your home.

Below is a list of the probable ways for you to save power whilst using these electronics:

  • Unplug appliances that are currently not in use.
  • Use your outdoor griller instead of your oven or electric grill when having a roast.
  • Invest in appliances with an inverter feature as they are more energy-efficient.
  • Do your laundry a maximum of twice a week only.
  • Hang your clothes instead of folding them to avoid creasing. This will eliminate the need for ironing.

Saving Energy With Your Heating and Cooling Systems

Here are some ways you can save energy with your heating and cooling system:

  • Open your windows to allow air to enter your home during warm weather situations.
  • If possible, avoid using your home’s central heating or cooling and use space heaters or electric fans instead.
  • Clean your heating and cooling systems’ filters regularly.
  • To keep your home warm during the freezing winter months, seal small leaks at your doors or windows to prevent the cold air from seeping through.


The little things you can do to conserve energy at home can substantially impact your monthly electricity bills. Additionally, by taking these steps, you are also leading a more sustainable lifestyle.

Solar Panels That Withstands The Heat

All of Solid State Solar’s solar panels are specifically engineered to withstand extreme heat wear and tear.

As the globe is setting record-high heat recently, having a reliable and durable solar panel is crucial for homeowners and businesses who are aiming to use a sustainable and clean energy source. For this reason, our solar solutions at Solid State Solar are built tough to resist the intense warm weather of the world today.

Solar panels are created mainly for the purpose of giving people a more eco-friendly power source option for their homes or commercial properties. Solar systems offer the benefits of reducing carbon emissions that contribute to global warming. However, not all solar panels work well under extreme heat.

Many panels, mainly the ones with sub-par quality, do not deliver the best power generation performance when subjected to intense warm weather. As a result, these solar panels need replacements from time to time, thus, contradicting sustainability and investment returns.

Therefore, to make the most of the advantages solar power has to offer, one must choose to only invest in solar panels that are guaranteed durable and dependable even in adverse climate conditions such as extreme heat.

Engineered for Longevity and Reliability

Solid State Solar takes pride in providing solar panels that deliver maximum power generation regardless of the weather condition. Our solar solutions are designed and crafted with industry-grade materials that are guaranteed to withstand extreme weather situations. Thus, whether it rains or shines, you can depend on our solar panels to deliver the same level of impeccable performance on any day of the year.

Furthermore, as Solid State Solar’s solar panels are engineered to withstand extreme heat, you get the assurance that our panels can make the most of the sunlight in your area and turn it into ample energy that you can use for your day-to-day activities.