How to Test a Solar Panel?: A Step-by-Step Guide

Solar panel installation is on the rise these days. It is not only easy to install solar panels for your home but after technological advances, it becomes pocket-friendly too. Also, pricing is decreasing continuously.

While installing a solar panel, you should check its output to ensure that you are getting the power you’ll need. 

By learning how to test solar panels you can ensure that you don’t waste your time installing panels that you’ll have to take down and fix.

Steps to Test Solar Panels

Let’s start from the things you should know before going to test a solar panel:

#1: Know about solar panel systems

Before testing solar panels, you should first know some things about solar panel systems,

Let’s see what are these:

  1. When you install the solar panels, you have to check the current and voltage ratings of the solar panels that you are about to test.
  2. Make sure that the weather conditions are sufficient enough to test a solar panel.
  3. Get a multimeter and make sure that the multimeter is set on the right settings for the power you want to measure.

#2: Precautions before testing Solar panels

Photovoltaic systems include various components that can conduct electricity. 

When any of the conducting parts are active with electricity generated by the sun’s energy, they can cause injuries associated with electric shock and arc-flash.

Even low-light conditions can create a voltage that will be sufficient to cause an injury. 

The following safety measures have to be taken while testing solar panels:

  1. Do not wear metallic things or jewelry while working with any electrical circuits.
  2. Do not touch any live positive wire with a live negative wire. Be careful while doing so.
  3. Do not short circuit both the battery and the solar panel.
  4. Observe the polarities of both the battery and the solar panel & Ensure that the red and black terminals are in the right position.
  5. Before working on solar panels, cover the front to avoid electrical shocks.

#3: Measure Solar panel Amperage

To measure amperage in the solar panel, you would need:

  • A panel Tester or Ampere meter.

Now, first, ensure that your solar panel is getting full sunlight. Then, attach the meter to the positive and negative so that you measure the amp output of your solar panels.

#4: Measure Current

To measure current, you will need resistors and multimeters. The multimeter will find the DC voltage.

After this measurement, the correct formula will be current equal to the voltage.

Engineer testing solar panels
Engineer testing solar panels

#5: Using a Multimeter

A multimeter is a device that can be used to test the voltage and current of any device.

For this, let’s follow the steps below:

1. Locate the converter box: The converter box is located on the back-side of the solar panel. Then, remove the cover of the converter box and see the connections inside.

2. Master positive and negative connections: Now, note the positive and negative connections. After noting, make sure that your panel is in full sunlight. If it is not, then adjust and tilt it towards sunlight.

3. Set multimeter to DC: Always measure at higher volts than what your solar panel is approved for.

For example: If your panel is approved for 20 volts, your multimeter will need to be set to read higher.

Doing this will ensure the reading will be accurate.


#6: Connect Alligator clips

Connect the red lead from the alligator clips to the positive side and black lead to the negative side.

Then, an accurate reading of volts that are produced by your panel will be shown in the meter.

Note: Before disconnecting the alligator clips, ensure the multimeter has been turned off.


Solar panel testing is a very important step in the process of going completely off the grid

To test a solar panel properly is a very important but often overlooked procedure. 

You wouldn’t believe how many people completely skip testing solar panels and forget to confirm their solar power output before installing them.

After reading this post, I hope you will get a better understanding of how to test solar panels by yourself. If you still have any queries, you can ask in the comment section.

By learning how to test solar panels you can ensure that you don’t waste your time installing panels that you’ll have to take down and fix.

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See you in the next post!

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