If you want to test your solar panel system to see if it’s working properly or just to see what output it’s giving, you can do this using a multimeter to measure current, or amps, and voltage.
Before you start, you’ll need to find the voltage (v) and current (A) ratings of your panel. You should be able to find them on the back of the panel. You should also make sure that it’s a nice clear, sunny day to get the best readings out of your panel. You should also check that it’s safe to be up on your roof!
To measure open circuit voltage, you’ll need to make sure that your solar panel is completely disconnected from your system’s regulator and battery (if you have one). Angle the panel towards the sun, and ensure that your multimeter is set to measure volts. Measure the voltage between the positive and negative terminals by connecting the negative contact on the voltmeter to the negative on the panel and the positive contact on the voltmeter to the positive on the panel.
Then, you can move on to the short circuit current. Follow the same steps as the open circuit voltage, but ensure that your multimeter is set at 10A to start with.
Only try to test your solar panel if it’s safe to do so. If your roof isn’t accessible without scaffolding or specialist equipment, consider speaking to an MCS-registered solar company about your concerns. They may recommend that they come to service your solar panel system.