As solar panels are becoming more common, people have many assumptions and questions about the systems. A common question asked is, do solar panels make noise? Of course, if you’re having a system fitted on your roof, it’s an important consideration.
The short answer to the question, ‘do solar panels make noise’ is no. Generally speaking, solar panels don’t make any noise. Solar panels are designed to be noise-free, especially at night. They’re designed to be quiet. Even solar panels that are equipped with any moving parts are intended to be incredibly quiet when operating. So, in a nutshell, you shouldn’t hear any noise coming from your solar panel’s day or night.
With that said, some panels may not be entirely silent. One common exception to the noiseless operation of solar panels is a quiet hum they may produce during the day when they’re being powered by sunlight. However, the hum should be minimal, and you likely wouldn’t notice it unless you are close to your solar panel system (within about 50 feet).
Why do solar panels make noise?
There are several other reasons you may hear low-level noise from solar panels:
The humming noise we mentioned isn’t coming directly from your solar panels. Instead, the noise comes from the inverter. An inverter is an essential piece of kit that converts the direct current (DC) electricity generated by solar panels and converts it into alternating current (AC). AC is the electricity you need to power your household appliances.
Not all inverters will hum; it can depend on the overall quality or brand of your inverter. Typically speaking, string inverters are the most common culprits for generating a humming noise. However, the maximum noise level of a string inverter is around 45 decibels, so it shouldn’t disturb you in any way.
If you’re concerned about the humming noise your inverter is making, it’s best to place it in an enclosed space to minimise it. If you have microinverters, you shouldn’t experience the humming sound – if you do, you should reach out to the installer or manufacturer for support.
If your inverter has been placed in direct sunlight or your household has a high electricity demand, it may run a fan. This fan may generate some low-level noise, although it should be barely noticeable. Ideally, your inverter should be placed in a cool, shaded area as this is where they’re designed to be.
You’ll have cabling that runs between each panel and down into your roof. If this cabling is not properly clipped, it can move in the wind and make a noise. While it’s a quick fix to clip the cabling correctly, you should have it checked by a professional if you suspect this is the source of the noise.
Another issue you may face with your solar panels is loose racking. In cases where the racking has been secured incorrectly, or it’s come loose over time, you may hear a rattling sound. In addition, when the wind blows, loose racking will cause your panels to move around, shake or even disconnect.
If you think this may be the issue, you should request that your installer comes back to ensure everything is secured as it should be. Once your panels are adequately secured, it should eliminate the rattling sound.
Although solar panels should be noiseless (minus any of the culprits we listed), you may still hear noises, particularly at night time when it’s quiet outside. This noise is likely coming from the wind. Depending on how your solar panels have been attached, it’s possible that wind is flowing through small tunnels, creating a whistling noise.
Although it may sound like things are blowing around, it’s usually just the wind travelling through the space that wasn’t there before you installed your panels. As long as your solar panels are securely placed, hearing noise from the wind shouldn’t be a concern.
Detecting solar panel noise
If you’re unsure if your solar panel system is making noise, the easiest way to check is at night. Although your inverter is still switched on at night, it will purely be gathering data instead of actively working. In this case, you can eliminate the inverter as the suspect for the noise and identify that the noise is actually coming from your solar panels. In this case, the noise may be due to loose cabling, loose racking or wind, as we mentioned above.
To conclude, apart from a minimal humming sound that may be generated by your inverter or noise from the wind, your solar panels should be operating almost silently. However, if you do hear any noise that isn’t coming from the inverter or wind, we’d recommend having your system checked to ensure you don’t run into any ongoing issues with your solar panels.
If you’re ready to start your solar panel journey, do it with a team of experts. Get in touch with us today.