My solar panels are acting strange

ansacs

New Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2021
Messages
3
Hello and thanks in advance for any help you can give. I am a newbie to installing solar systems and I will apologize for rambling before hand. I am having troubles with my solar panels which are 605 watt, 51 Voc, 16 Amp panels arranged in two series of six panels. Each series goes to a PV1/PV2 in a 2 MMPT Sol-Ark-12k-p. They should give me 300 ish VDC (which they do) and 16 Amp each line (which they do NOT). My readings with a meter show me a 32.2 Amp reading on both series whether they are connected or disconnected from the inverter. The inverter itself actually regulates the Amps and shows me a value of ~6 Amps depending on what is using it (which seems okay).

My real problem is that this means I am only getting 1800 watts on a system that I should be getting ~7000 watts out of. I would normally think it is a bad day and clean the panels however I previously had a Outback Skybox wired to only 1 of the series (I messed up and didn't realize that the skybox didn't have a transformer, live and learn). When replacing the inverter we went ahead and wired up the remaining series and hooked them to the Sol-Ark. My frustration and confusion is that before I hooked up the second series my measurements were coming spot on (around 300 V and 16 Amp). I was also generating 1200 to 3200 watts depending on the conditions and load.

In conclusion now with twice the panels I get less power and I cannot seem to figure out why. I am hoping that someone on here can give me some ideas to test and try and fix this conundrum.

Some of the things I tried:
-Checked the connections to the inverter and made sure they had good contact. No difference.
-Checked the V and Amp both when PV1/2 are connected to the Sol-Ark and when disconnected. Their voltages are different between PV1 and PV2 however the Amps are the exact same. This doesn't seem to change when plugged into the sol ark vs disconnected.
-Disconnected the MC4 connectors on the new series (PV2) so that they no longer had a circuit. PV1 had the same V and Amp as before. PV2 had the 0 V and Amp (thank you physics for working).

Things I am thinking of trying or I am desperate enough to consider:
-I used 8AWG chemical resistant very thick sheath wire for running my 10-50 ft PV lines to my inverter. Perhaps I needed better shielding?
-Clean the solar panels...maybe they are just that dirty?
-Get a new meter. Perhaps my 300 VDC meter cannot handle the Amps or the Amps detection was fried when I tested the battery?
-Observe for a few days and see if it was just bad timing.

Thank you for taking your time to read this. Please let me know if there are any other details that would help.

Added pictures of the inverter/battery with PV wires and diagrams to try and help my explanation.
 

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Last edited:

Bud Martin

Photon Sorcerer
Joined
Aug 27, 2020
Messages
2,070
OP: "My readings with a meter show me a 32.2 Amp reading on both series whether they are connected or disconnected from the inverter. "
That does not make any sense to me, if they are disconnected from inverter then there will be no path for the current to flow.
What are you using to check the PV panels current?
Can you show us the pictures of your setup?
 

ansacs

New Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2021
Messages
3
I went ahead and added pictures to the original post. I am using a Digital Multimeter (DC and AC) to measure the voltage and amperage. I bridge the +/- connections with my +/- testers. The multimeter give a path with resistance to measure the amps. Though this entire thing has me questioning the validity of my digital meters measurements.

BTW the meter I have
 

Bud Martin

Photon Sorcerer
Joined
Aug 27, 2020
Messages
2,070
I went ahead and added pictures to the original post. I am using a Digital Multimeter (DC and AC) to measure the voltage and amperage. I bridge the +/- connections with my +/- testers. The multimeter give a path with resistance to measure the amps. Though this entire thing has me questioning the validity of my digital meters measurements.

BTW the meter I have
The meter Input and Com ports are for measuring Voltage/Ohm/Freq/Temp only, not for measuring current, the current measurement is done using the clamp only (see meter user manual) , so how did you bridge the connections with your meter to read the current flow?
 
Last edited:

ansacs

New Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2021
Messages
3
Whelp, guess I should have better studied my meter. Thanks for the help. I will try measuring it again when I get out to the site next.
 
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