This page will contain verified reports of any solar panel failures. Let me know your results and feed back.
It will also contain any known issues with location and installations issues
PANEL FAILURES and Recalls
2001 many Kyocera panels as they went to leadless connections. I have verified KC120 and KC80 panels with this problem. You can use a multi meter and measure the correct voltage but when you measure the amperage it is very low.CAUTION-Be careful measuring amperage, don't leave your meter in the configuration, anything you connect to is like a direct short.
THIN FILM SOLAR- I have seen and heard from 2 main solar test facilities , ASP STAR center and TUV , that thin film has a very high failure rate. They can't give details by brand so be very careful. The oldest and best thin film maker I have seen is uni-solar. It could be just a few new brands that are failing. If you have any brand detail you could share let me know. Please contact me jim stack firstname.lastname@example.org
thin film data- I found a study on IEEE, from a NREL PV System Performance & Standards Technical Progress FY 2004 . It shows and tells about thin film failures. Key is they show hot spots in a framed modual. Only First Solar made any in 2004. They have improved a lot since 2004. The link is below.
KNOWN ISSUES WITH LOCATION AND INSTALLATION-
1- Solar panels will not work as good in high heat. Do not mount panels with no air space under them on a roof or other mounting. Always allow good air flow around panels and inverters.
2- Most solar panels have all the cells on a panel connected in series, IE + to - and shade on any one cell can reduce or stop the power for the entire panel. So do not mount the panels so they get even a small area of shade on them. Watch the shade during the entire day. If a panel is near a side wall, tree, chimney or even a pipe or flag pole it may shade cells during the day reducing output.
Shade or Partial shade on newer high voltage DC systems (200-600 VDC) can really cause problems. There have been a few rare cases that caused a panel to over heat and break, a few have has the connection box actually explode. High voltage trying to by pass through diodes of a shaded panels can cause this type of failre. BE SURE YOU DON'T HAVE SHADE on panels.
3- Always have the panels facing true south and at the angle of your latitude + or - 15 degrees. If they are pole mounted you can adjust the angle for winter , mid year and summer to get the most from the panels. A tracker that moves on 2 axis can help the output but can add expense and possible problems. You must decide what's best for your location. Panels facing West or East will be 10% less output.
4- You need clear area that is in the direct sun. Check your area for the number of clear sunny days and the number of Sun hours each day. I used to live in upstate New York which doesn't have much clear sun at all. Now I live in Arizona that has some of the best and clearest sun in the world. A cool Sunny area is even better. Check the National Renewable Energy labs charts for your area.