Photovoltaic (PV) hot-spots is a reliability problem in PV modules, where a cell or group of cells heats up significantly, dissipating rather than producing power, and resulting in a loss and further degradation for the PV modules’ performance. Therefore, in this article, we present the development of a novel machine learning-based (ML) tool to diagnose early-stage PV hot-spots. To achieve the best-fit ML structure, we compared four distinct machine learning classifiers, including decision tree (DT), support vector machine (SVM), K-nearest neighbour (KNN), and the discriminant classifiers (DC). Results confirm that the DC classifiers attain the best detection accuracy of 98%, while the least detection accuracy of 84% was observed for the decision tree. Furthermore, the examined four classifiers were also compared in terms of their performance using the confusion matrix and the receiver operating characteristics (ROC).