Solar panel problems and how to solve them
Nearly four in 10 solar panel owners we surveyed have had a problem with their solar panels.
The most common – and most serious – problem is with the inverter. In some cases it means that you don’t get any usable renewable electricity from your system. It’s also a pricey problem to fix, costing upwards of £900 if you need a professional to help, according to our research.
Some issues can be resolved yourself though, while being able to identify what’s wrong with your system can help save time and money when it comes to getting it fixed.
Here we reveal:
We surveyed 1,987 Which? Connect members online in May 2019 to find out the most common solar panel problems.
Solar panel problems
Inverter problems are the most common, our research found. More than one in ten (12%) of owners told us that they had a problem with their inverter, while just 3% had issues with their generator meter.
You should expect to replace your inverter at some point during the life of your solar panels: read on to find out after how long you might expect to do so.
Most common solar panel problems
After inverters, the most often-mentioned problems were birds nesting under solar panels and a build-up of dirt on panels. These are more minor issues. Dirt build-up affected owners in the south east of England and London more than those in other regions, according to our survey.
Three solar panel owners had squirrel problems, discovering them nesting under the panels or biting through cables.
When do solar panel problems occur?
Inverter problems typically took the longest to occur after purchase, our research found. For those who said that their inverter was the first problem with their solar panels, it occurred on average between three-and-a-half years and four-and-a-quarter years after they bought their system.
Owners whose panels stopped producing electricity said it was typically between two and four years after purchase – but this was a much less-common fault.
How long after purchase did solar panel problems occur?
Solar panel problems: how owners tackle them
We also asked those whose solar panel systems had problems how they dealt with them. Use this in conjunction with the expert advice below to determine whether you should call a professional when you notice a problem with your solar panels.
No matter what the fault, the most popular approach to getting it fixed was the solar PV firm doing so under warranty. Nearly three in ten (29%) owners in our survey who had problems took this approach.
Another 17% fixed it themselves successfully, while just 3% admitted trying to fix it themselves and then calling in a professional.
How did you fix your solar panel problem?
The vast majority of problems with inverters, poor electrical connections, panels producing no electricity and other electrical issues were fixed either by the solar PV company under warranty or by a professional hired by the owner.
A third of people with generation meter problems said the solar PV firm fixed it under warranty, although nearly a quarter (23%) fixed it themselves. Sorting it themselves was also the most popular solution for panel where dirt had built up.
But nearly half (46%) of those who found that their panels were producing less electricity said that they did nothing.
How owners commonly tackled solar PV problems
You can also use our Trusted Traders search tool below to find local solar panel experts in your area.
Fixing solar panel problems: expert tips
Here we share their tips on identifying and solving the solar PV problems that owners told us were most common. Click on a problem to find out how to solve it.
Whenever you call a professional, make sure that they are registered with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). This ensures that they’re signed up to deliver high standards and you have access to redress if something goes wrong. Find out more about MCS in our .