Why do solar inverters fail? (Top 5 reason)


Warning!

At times, solar inverters fail to provide the required performance. Even in some cases, the entire system falls down before you can take its full advantage. In general solar inverters have a life expectancy of ten to fifteen years. If you have a micro inverter, it is likely to last for more than two decades.

Well, there are many factors that determine efficiency and performance. So, what are the potential factors that impact the performance of the inverter?

In this guide, you will get a comprehensive guide to understand the reasons for failure. In addition, even the inverter is running smoothly, you should be aware of preventive measures you should be taken care of.

Top five reasons that cause inverter failure  

Overheating

Every electrical device and major component is sensitive to temperatures. Moreover, most of the electrical components have a certain capacity to endure heating. If the maximum operating temperature exceeds, the inverter face difficulties in producing the required electricity.

What preventive measures can be taken?

To avoid overheating, you should clear the dust filters that get deposited over time. Moreover, you need to make sure the inverter is getting airflow. Likewise, make sure you haven’t covered the surface and the airflow unit.

On the other hand, you can conduct an assessment while installing the device in the first place. In general, engineers propose a substantial cooling technology. However, after a few days of using the inverter, you should check whether the cooling system is adequate or has sufficient capacity.

It is also crucial to have proper ventilation at the switch cabinet. Apart from this, you can keep an eye on the cooling system regularly to make sure the operation is working properly. Installing and cleaning dust filters impedes airflow.

Isolation fault

‘Isolation fault’ is one of the most common problems. It occurs due to short-circuit between the different parts of the circuit. Then, it shows an isolation alarm! In most cases, short-circuit is an outcome of moisture or critical damage to the sleeve of the cable. Faulty isolation is also a combined result of poor installation and connection of the Direct Current Cable.

If you live in a humid region, you are more likely to face specific problems. In the case of an isolation fault, the inverter stops working completely. Seldom, it works in low capacity and reduced efficiency.

What could be the preventive measures?

Look, isolation fault is an outcome of a combination of poor installation. Therefore, you need to make sure the DC cables are attached properly without any leakage or faults. Also, make sure the cable wires are watertight.

On the other hand, you can also take prevention against the level of protection or IP. While installing the inverter, you must have noticed the level of IP. For both inverter cabinets and buildings, this level calls serious attention. Make it a point to maintain adequate safety standards.

Poor installation of the inverters

 Poor installation generally refers to two issues:

  • Physical misconnection
  • Incorrect programming

An EPC party carries out the infrastructure of the solar PV system. Hence, the expertise of the installers is very crucial. You need to ensure the access system is provided by the inverter manufacturer. This, in turn, makes sure the installation is correct.

What preventive measures can be taken?

In order to ensure the right installation technique, you can accomplish the following testing methods:

  • Yield testing
  • Remote activation and deactivation technique
  • Regulative reactive power testing

Just a minute, do you have delivery documentation? If not, I think you should claim immediately. It is to ensure if you ever came across a faulty installation, you can invoke the request later.

Grid fault

You might come across this problem, where you are unable to start the inverter after the grid fault. Let me explain it more clearly; the voltage peaks occur during the sudden deactivation. It triggers the cut-outs of the system, and the inverter gets stuck. Hence, you are unable to start the device.

In that case, you have to inform your inverter service centre, and they will come and restart the system. It suggests the monitoring system has not the capability to connect the modules.

Then, how to avoid grid fault?

If you ever face such a situation, you have no choice but to contact the manufacturing team. Or, even contacting your local service provider is also an alternative choice. However, I want you to curb this problem from the root. That means, why would choice a grid which doesn’t have the required potential?

Hence, before you choose a brand, ensure the internal components are quality products.  Instead of going for a top brand, make sure the internal mechanism is sound. Moreover, their service quality cannot be compromised for any reason!

The MPPT Module

MPPT technique plays a major role in operating the system of the modern inverter. MPPT or Maximum Power Point Tracking system is integrated to maximize the performance of the inverter. A large string is connected here to place the modules in a series. This series is a crucial component to scale the current in the PV system.

However, all these strings don’t produce the same amount of energy. There are many factors that influence energy generation. Different positioning and faults in the panel can disrupt the productivity of the strings.

There is a transparent match between the algorithm of the MMPT module and the inverter to maintain the optimum voltage quality. It ensures the maximum output of voltage in the system. Disruption in this module can lead to disintegration in the system.

What are potential preventive measures?

For elevated voltage levels, you have to establish or strengthen the MPPT module. Your responsibility is to maintain the smooth functioning of the module. In order to ensure the performance, you can conduct some performance tests. Moreover, the yield compound also depends on the MPPT module.

Final Say

Apart from these top five reasons, overuse of your inverter frequently can lead to failure. It means if you are using the inverter part, its operating limit. It can be either your choice or lack of awareness. Using a high voltage device can reduce longevity and results in failure.

If you follow the preventive measures precisely, you can safeguard your inverter and can use it smoothly. Whether it is a minor or major fault, it will always have a negative effect on your inverter. So, it’s better to maintain proper guidelines and be aware of the safety measures.

People also asked: 

What happens when a solar inverter fails?

For any electronic device, it is very common to witness faults. If you strictly follow the given guidelines suggested by the manufacturers, you are likely to avoid all impending issues for the solar inverter.

Can solar inverters be repaired?

YES! IF YOU CAN ADDRESS TO THE PARTICULAR PROBLEM OF THE INVERTER, IT WOULD BE EASIER FOR THE SERVICE PROVIDER TO MITIGATE THE ISSUES QUICKLY.

How long should a solar inverter last?

It is likely to LAST FOR TEN TO 15 YEARS IF YOU MAINTAIN THE INVERTER PROPERLY.  Many manufactures offer guarantees for ten years and more.

What causes solar inverter failure?

There are many reasons for solar inverter failure. It can either be overheating, grid fault, or poor installation.

Matt

I’m Matt, a computer and electronic embedded system developer. Currently, working as an electronic engineer. In my leisure time, I do love to blog about technology stuff. Specially, new advance high tech devices. Portable solar systems are one of topic that I love to investigate. They are becoming more powerful day by day which keep me alert.

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