Solar panels have a lot of benefits to them and one of those benefits is that they are designed to operate noiselessly.
But lately, you’ve been hearing noises at night when the sun isn’t shining and you’re certain it’s your solar panels. Do solar panels make noise at night? For the most part, the panels themselves are not going to make any noise. If you do notice some humming, this is normal during the day.
At night, it’s another story and if you are hearing noises from your solar panels at night there may be other reasons behind it.
In this guide, we will troubleshoot whether or not solar panels make noise at night and what could potentially be causing the noise if they are making noise.
Solar Panels Are Typically Noiseless
Let’s start by covering normal operations. Generally speaking, solar panels don’t make noise. They are designed to be noise-free and they should be particularly noiseless at night. Solar panels are powered by the sun and they use the sunlight to create electricity or power.
These panels are designed to be quiet. They shouldn’t move around and even the solar panels that are equipped with any type of moving parts are incredibly quiet when operating. Even at night, no noise should come from the panels themselves.
The only exception to this noiseless operation is that some panels produce a quiet hum during the day when they are being powered by the sunlight. This is not uncommon but the hum should not be overly loud or distracting. The hum in question should be minimal and barely noticeable unless you are outdoors or near the solar panels (within about 50 feet).
The panels themselves are quiet but there could be other things leading to the noise so let’s discuss what that may be.
Even that humming noise you hear is probably not coming directly from your solar panels. The inverter is what produces the hum as it works to turn DC electrical currents into AC currents for your household appliances.
Not all inverters hum and it could depend on the brand or overall quality of the inverter. This is most common with string inverters but the maximum noise level of a string inverter is about 45 decibels. This means that the hum is whisper-quiet and shouldn’t be disturbing or loud in any way.
When we discuss a hum, it is a soft hum that should be barely recognizable. If the inverter is the source of the noise, we recommend having your inverter located possibly in an enclosed garage or similar space to minimize the noise and the likelihood of the noise bothering you.
This hum should not happen with micro inverters. If the noise continues and it appears to be from the inverter or the panels, reach out to your manufacturer or installer for additional guidance.
While the solar panels are noiseless, you could still be hearing new noises, particularly at night when your surroundings are quiet. Depending on how your solar panels are attached, it is possible that there are new wind tunnels or places that wind flows through differently and this is creating noise.
It may sound like things are blowing around a bit but it’s really just the wind traveling through the space that wasn’t there before so you hear noise that wasn’t present before your panels were placed.
The wind can also pull and grab at the panels. As long as they were securely placed, they are not in danger but the wind grabbing the panels could cause creaking noises at times. If this is the case, it shouldn’t be a normal noise but rather something you hear just occasionally.
There are times when the installer may not get the racking screwed in well to a rafter of your roof. Sometimes it’s shoddy workmanship but sometimes this just happens. If the racking is not screwed in well it could be loose or unstable.
This will cause the racking to move around, shake, or even blow and disconnect when the wind blows. If you are hearing noise that sounds like that racking or metal is blowing and not secure we recommend having your installer come back out to take a look and be sure everything is properly secured.
If they get it secured properly, there shouldn’t be an issue with the wind blowing the racking and your solar panels will be safe and sturdy as well.
Apart from a minimal inverter hum at times and possibly some new wind noise, your solar panels should operate noiselessly even at night. If you are experiencing noise, particularly excessive noise of any kind, we recommend you get it checked out as soon as possible to avoid running into any issues with your solar panels.