Hello all. Is there a relatively easy way to measure what the maximum output of a portable solar panel is? I am asking because I am not sure if there is something wrong with my PV200 panel. It has been peaking at only about 135 to 140 watts output in direct sun, which equates to only about 65 to 70 percent in pretty good conditions. I have other PV series panels and have had much better results in similar conditions. I have had a PV350 which peaks at 325 watts up to more than 350 watts. I have had a PV420 that peaks out in the 390 watt range. Obviously those panels are doing much better than 65 to 70 percent so I am wondering if one of the four panels on the PV200 is not working or is not working completely. I have not used the PV200 much and it is still in like new condition so I ruled out any damage after it got to me. I have also tested the panel on various power stations to make sure that it was not a power station issue (tested on PS70, EB3A, AC200 Max, and AC500). I am just not sure if there is any way for me to easily test to see what the true capacity of the panels is (without tearing them apart). Has anyone else experienced similar results with the PV200? Thanks for reading.
@Pilotstt Please don’t worry. Your PV200 is perfectly normal at this power.
The later new solar panel models have upgraded and optimized in the process circuit design, so the output will be higher.
As for your question about how to test the maximum output power of solar panels:
Solar panel maximum output power test requires the use of a variety of test instruments, to carefully operate and ensure adequate sunlight exposure. The current environment needs to be very good light radiation to make the solar panel full efficiency output.
I’d measure the voltage coming from the 2 mc4 connectors in full sun. It should be 24-26V.
My 10 PV200s were putting out 1.8 - 2.2kw for the last 2 months, but mid-last week they dropped down to a max of 1.4kw midday with clear skies. I have a separate PV array, rigid panels, & its output has also dropped a lot. Other folks are reporting the same experience. I can’t explain it.
All solar panel ratings are the absolute highest they will ever put out. Kind of like when car manufacturers advertise mpg, as if you’re ever going to get that in the real world.
All panels are somewhat directional. While it will provide power just laying flat on the ground, ideally it needs to be angled toward the sun for max output. I can squeeze an extra 200 watts out of my twelve 100-watt panel array, just by aiming the array towards the sun a few hours past high noon, from where it was pointing up. The whole array seesaws east-west, so every night I tilt it east to catch the morning sun, then tilt it west in the afternoon.
I have two “older” PV200 and can confirm that this range is normal for this Panel. You can optimize your Poweroutput by a bit when you play with the angle of the panel to the sun.
Try to get your panel in a 90 degree angle to the sun.