Solar panels do not produce any noise during their normal operation. However, you may hear noises from your solar panels due to external factors. This is normally caused by wind, loose cables, racking, animals or birds, or from your inverter. If your solar panels are making noise, it is important to check what it causes.
At first look, you may think that solar panels do not produce noise because, unlike turbines, they do not have moving parts such as large blades. Solar panels also do not involve gas combustion. Its only visible parts are the solar panels themselves, which do not produce sound.
Do Solar Panels Make Noise?
Considering the rising interest in green energy, many people replace their non-renewable energy sources with renewable power sources. However, wind turbines can be immensely noisy and not accessible for many. This is why a lot of people are going with installing new or recycled solar panels.
A solar power system is supposed to be quiet, and the solar panels should not make noise regardless of how many you can fit on your roof. If your solar panels make noise, it is probably caused by one of these factors.
You may hear wind noise at night when the surroundings are quiet. However, this is not produced by your solar panels. Depending on the location of your panels, whether it’s on a flat roof or the ground, there may be places where wind flows. This is probably the culprit of any noise you may hear.
This noise can sound like your panels are blowing around, but it’s simply the wind coming in contact with the empty tunnels. Be careful because the wind can damage your panels if they are not installed properly. If you hear any creaking noises, get your panels checked.
If your solar energy panels are installed properly, there is no need to worry even if you encounter strong wind since solar panels are designed to withstand wind speeds of up to 140 miles per hour.
Only 0.1 percent of solar panel systems were affected by defective panels, so chances are, your solar panel system won’t get damaged easily by the wind. Solar panels can withstand strong weather elements, but have it checked by a trusted solar company if you hear noise from them.
When installing solar panels, there will be cables that run between the panels and your roof. If these cables are not clipped properly, they can hit the roof or ground and cause noise. Professionals should check this problem since clipping the cable yourself can cause even more serious problems to develop.
Although this does not happen often, some installers may not have screwed the racking properly on your roof.
If this is the case, any noise you may experience is caused by poor quality. This can result in your panels becoming unstable and possibly shaking, moving around, or worse, disconnecting when the wind is strong.
When you hear metal sounds on your solar panels, call your installer immediately and tell them to reinforce all the racking on your roof.
Animals or Birds
Unfortunately, solar panels attract animals since it provides a perfect spot for birds to rest.
If your panels are placed at an angle in your roof, birds and small animals can use them for shelter or shade.
Be wary of this because bird feces can decrease the efficiency of your solar panels. So make sure there is nothing nearby that can attract groups of birds like TV antennas. If this is the case, you may run into some problems.
To remedy noise problems caused by birds on your solar panels, you can install netting on the sides of the solar panels. This will help deter small animals and birds. Installing a plastic bird near the area will also do wonders to scare animals off.
The inverter is in charge of converting DC electrical current into AC power that can be utilized by your home. It can make noise and produce a quiet hum depending on the quality of the inverter you purchased.
It is important to note that not all inverters on the market hum, but expect a noise level of around 45 dB if you have a string inverter. This means that it won’t cause a disturbance and is barely recognizable. If you have a micro-inverter, you should not hear any noise.
However, if you are bothered by the noise your inverter makes, you can have it transferred to your garage or any enclosed property. Do not forget to check your solar panel combiner box for issues. These solutions will do wonders to decrease any noise you may be experiencing.
What About Large Systems?
As renewable energy sources become more prominent, large solar farms are now popping up on highways and huge parcels of land. Similar to how solar panels in your home use inverters to create usable electricity, these farms also function similarly.
In solar farms or commercial buildings with many panels and big inverters, you may experience more noise because of the equipment involved in producing energy. Their equipment is usually huge to cope with the bigger demand, so some parts make noise.
Only Up Close
However, these sounds can only be heard when you are close to the panels, so the sound will not affect neighboring people, homes, and areas. Only employees of the farms can get close to the panels and hear any noises produced by the solar system.
To protect yourself, you can wear earmuffs, as well as other personal protective equipment. This can help eliminate any noise you may experience.
Laws Governing Sound Level
Take note that solar power in farms must be designed, installed, and operated in a way that complies with local, municipal, and state codes, particularly on solar farms.
State laws decree that the noise should only be slightly louder than the ambient sound around it. Because of this, solar farms should not be louder than big air conditioning systems that become less noisy when you are far from it.
Noise limits have different applications. For example, the sound limits in Maine require solar farms to produce a sound of no more than 75 dB any time of the day at the property line of the development or the land controlled by the developer, or the sound should be 55dB between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and 45 dB between 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. or the nighttime limit.
What Should You Do If You Don’t Know What’s Making the Noise in Your Solar System?
If you’re unsure which part of the solar panel is making the noise, listen to the noise at night. This is when the inverter is on and is gathering data instead of working.
If you still hear noises, it may be a different issue that is unrelated to the part of your solar system. If this is the case, you need to investigate other possible causes.
How About Inverter Noise in the Winter?
Many people believe that solar panels cannot be used in the winter months. However, they can still produce energy in the winter as long as they are exposed to sunlight. If there is snow that is packed on the surface of the panels, it will block sunlight. However, if the panels are clear, they can still produce energy.
The cold temperature will not affect your solar panels in any way. Considering this, your inverter will be having the same noiseless performance or producing a monotone hum. The noise should be very tolerable year-round.
If Installed Properly, Solar Panels Don’t Make Any Noise
Enjoying solar system energy for your home is an amazing way to combat pollution by using clean and renewable energy. Another great thing about it is it does not contribute to noise pollution as long as you have a great inverter. Solar panel systems are truly the ultimate way to save money and increase your home value.
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