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Why do solar inverters fail?

Solar power systems comprise several major components being: solar panels, solar inverter/s, optional battery, and meter. As long as the solar PV system is installed properly, all these components remain very low-maintenance. Solar electricity is generated effectively most days by the solar panels while the solar inverter converts the DC generated electricity to usable AC electricity to power household appliances.

The inverters have more electrical components than solar panels, and as such are much more sensitive to heat and equipment failure.

How long do solar inverters last?

String solar inverters have a life expectancy of around 10-15 years and microinverters can last for 20-25 years.

Although they are rated to last for decades, many factors can affect the performance of the inverter on your solar system:

  • Heat
  • Faulty installation
  • Humidity
  • Poor maintenance

Reasons why solar inverters fail

Overheating

Electrical components in solar inverters are highly sensitive to extreme temperatures. If the maximum operating temperature is reached, it may lead to a reduction in electricity production. It is important to clean the dust filters regularly and ensure that the inverter has open airflow.

Grid Fault

High or low voltage due to a grid fault could prevent the inverter from working effectively. Circuit breakers or fuses can be used to prevent the inverter from failure due to high voltage.

Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT)

At one time each solar panel in your array can generate varying voltages and it is important to get the maximum efficiency irrespective of the different voltage level each individual panel is producing. MPPT algorithms extract the maximum power from each individual solar panel. The MPPT tracker adjusts itself constantly to keep the solar panels at their Maximum Power Point.

If you are experiencing reduced output, it could be due to a fault in the MPPT module.

Faulty Installation

A very common reason for failure in the solar inverter is due to faulty installation. If the solar panels are not matched with the inverter capacity, your inverter will not work efficiently. As a rule of thumb, your solar panel capacity should be up to 133% of the inverter capacity.

For example, if you are using 4 kW solar panel, your inverter capacity should be 3kW. If you are using a 6 kW solar panel, your inverter capacity should be 4.5 kW. 

Fault codes

If your inverter is not working properly, it might show the error via a fault code. Refer to your inverter manual to troubleshoot the problem.

Alternatively, contact your solar specialists at Fallon Solutions for a complete solar efficiency review and solar inverter repair service.

What to do if your solar inverter fails?

If your solar inverter is displaying a fault code or it is not restarting after a power outage, contact Fallon Solutions. Our CEC accredited solar electricians can diagnose and repair the solar inverter in a flash! We provide residential and commercial solar power solutions in Brisbane, Logan, Gold Coast, Ipswich, Moreton Bay and Redland.

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