How to Test a Solar Panel?

If you are looking for solar panels with all your interest and might these days, you might be interested in knowing what goes into the new setup to keep it working well.

More overall of us want to be on top of things before getting a new setup so that we know how and when maintenance may be needed.

Have you learned how to test a solar panel? If not, then you came to the right place. Headline Solar will not hesitate to explain how a solar panel works and how you can test it.

Testing the solar panel without the sun

Many of you might think that the best way to test a solar panel will be to expose it to sunlight and see if it does anything or how much solar energy it produces. However, that is not the only way sometimes that is not even an option. Before installing these panels you might have to check them and what if you are not ready to set up the system and then test? To check a single panel or cell, you can use various methods, each of which can prove efficient.

Testing may have a few stages as well. What do we aim to test? Firstly we will have to see if the solar panel works, which can be done with a multimeter. Then, there can be a test to see the solar panel's output or panel's efficiency. Further more there can be checks to see if the solar panel works in coordination with other panels. All these three tests are done at different times. Testing a panel with a multimeter to see if it is even working may be the first step.

This can be done even when the solar panel is not attached to the system. The other two tests are done after installation. Our focus today will be on testing the solar panel before installation, which means that testing with a multimeter.

Using a multimeter to test the solar panel

Multimeter scan be the best companion for testing a new, uninstalled solar panel. You can use this device to measure the operating current, open circuit voltage, and short circuit current. All you need is the multimeter and the solar panel to test.

• You can locate the open circuit voltage on the solar panel label; keep the figure in mind before attaching the multimeter. Turn on the multimeter to DC volts.

• Now take the solar panel outdoors and place it in direct sunlight. Angle it towards the sun so that there is maximum exposure.

• Locate the positive and negative ports and attach the multimeter.

• Read the voltage on the meter and compare it to the figure on the panel’s label.

• If the reading matches the claimed voltage on the label, the solar panel is working excellently.

The closer the reading is to the multimeter, the better it will be for the final installation because it will be in optimum working condition. However, test the panel a few times just to make sure. Also, ensure that the solar panel is facing the sun properly.

Do the test on a sunny day when the sun is shining bright. And, of course, be sure to test a clean solar panel.

How to test solar panel

Using a multimeter to measure short circuit current

For this test, you have to see the label again. See what reading the specs label mentions. It is an easy test and no different from the previous one because it only requires a multimeter.

• Shift the multimeter reading to amperes.

• Touch the red probe to the positive connector side of the solar panel.

• Touch the negative side of the solar panel to the black probe. 

• There can be a spark, but that is only due to the short circuit.

• If the current reading is close or similar to the label, the solar panel works well. 

Testing operating current

For operating current, again, you will only need to set the solar panel in the sun and ensure that it is completely exposed to light. The operating current will be the solar panel’s output, so you must use extra equipment like a solar charge controller and a battery. 

•Connect the solar charger to the battery.

•Connect the adapter cables to the controller.

• Only connect the negative cables.

• Once you connect the multimeter, cover the solar panel, so additional energy is not generated.

• Take the first reading with the solar panel covered.

• Now take another reading after removing the cover from the panel. 

• Take the reading, and the rise will be the operating current.  


Measuring or testing the abilities of your solar panel is a healthy check-up milestone. Anyone who is about to or has already installed solar panel systems at home can rely on a multimeter alone.

We have discussed the checks you will need, and all of them are easy but do not require additional hands! Texas and Illinois are the best states to install solar panels. If you need them installed in these areas contact us now!

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