Common reasons why solar inverters fail & need repairs
Has your solar inverter stopped working? We’ll explain the most common reasons why an inverter might fail & why you’ll need solar inverter repairs.
Solar power is a popular energy choice for Australian homeowners, with over 2.4 million solar systems being installed in homes across the country. Solar energy is a renewable, clean energy source that saves people money each year on their energy costs.
While solar panels are fairly low maintenance once they’re installed and don’t have a lot of repair issues since there are no moving parts, the solar inverter can sometimes fail for a variety of reasons.
This guide will go over some of the common reasons why your solar inverter may not be working.
What is a solar inverter?
Solar inverters are a vital component of your solar system. As your solar panels gather energy from sunlight, the solar inverter converts it into a form of electricity that can be used for electronics, appliances, and other items in your home.
As sunlight hits a solar panel, electrons within the panel’s solar cells begin to move around. That produces direct current (DC) energy. The circuits within the solar cells gathering that energy.
Most houses use alternating current (AC) energy. The inverter converts the DC energy into AC energy.
But how do you know if you have a solar inverter failure?
Reasons why your solar inverter might be broken
You may notice that your electricity bill is higher than it should be. You might also see an orange or red light on your inverter instead of the usual green one. These are all signs that your solar inverter might be broken. Let’s discuss some other of the reasons why your solar inverter might have failed.
Wear on the Capacitor
One of the primary reasons for a solar inverter beginning to fail is electromagnetic wear on its capacitor. A solar inverter relies on capacitors to give a seamless power output at different current levels. Capacitors do have a limited lifespan and age at a quicker rate than other parts of the inverter.
They are also sensitive to extreme temperatures, even high quality capacitors. High temperatures that are above a specific operating temperature can reduce capacitors’ durability. These high temperatures are usually a result of high currents.
The electrolytes can also start to evaporate at a higher speed due to high temperatures. This causes the overall operating temperature to lower and the lifespan of the condenser to decrease along with it.
Fluctuations in voltage and current
All major brands are rated for a certain current and voltage. If either of those things gets too high, it can begin to damage the components in the inverter. The inverter bridge is commonly affected by an increase in current or voltage.
The damage is typically caused by excess heat that’s produced by the spike in current or voltage. You can avoid over-current with circuit breakers or fuses.
Overvoltage is more tricky to avoid as spikes are not always man-made. They could be a result of solar flares or lightning which can be difficult to avoid unless you have control of Mother Nature.
Issues With the Circuit Breakers
A circuit breaker will click off if there is a current spike or fault that goes through the circuit. Sometimes it’s just a false alarm. There are other instances where it could mean you have a faulty breaker or short circuit.
If your circuit breakers are still on but your solar inverter isn’t working, you can shut down and restart the device. You can do this by following the below steps:
- Shut down the AC breakers and DC isolators
- Wait 10 seconds
- Turn the isolators and breakers back on
If your inverter doesn’t come back on or if your circuit breakers continually shut off, you should contact a reliable solar inverter repair company to evaluate the issue.
The inverter screen is broken
If you look at your inverter and the screen is blank, it might be broken. The LCD screen could have gotten sunburned or stopped working due to an internal issue. Even if no screen is showing up, that doesn’t necessarily mean the entire system has failed.
If you’re still showing savings on your electricity bill from your solar energy or your meter is counting solar during the daytime, your solar panels are still producing power and you may not need an inverter replacement. We recommend shutting down your installed inverter and restart it. If it’s still showing up blank, you should contact a inverter repair company to come to evaluate your inverter and potentially replace it.
There’s an error code on the screen
Your inverter will sometimes show an error or fault code directly on the screen, along with a red light. This code will let you know exactly what the issue is. There are different fault triggers that result in a solar inverter not working effectively.
You can refer to your owner’s manual to see what the fault code means. At that point, you should also contact your installation company as they will be able to clear the code and remedy the issue.
Ultrasonic vibrations that originate in the centre of inductive components of your inverter can cause friction. This results in unwanted and excess heat generated by the inverter. It can also contribute to additional damage to your inverter’s components.
It might be overheating
A solar inverter is comprised of different electronic components that are sensitive to temperatures. Higher temperatures can result in a large reduction in production or no energy production at all. The solar inverter needs to be placed in a location that’s well ventilated, like a garage, so it can cool down properly.
Contact a reputable Brisbane solar inverter repair company
Attempting to get to the bottom of why you might have a faulty solar inverter can be a complicated process. Your solar system is a valuable investment, not one you want to inadvertently damage as you look for the cause of an issue. Solarfix is an affordable and reliable solar repair company that is experienced in repair work, fixing solar inverters and allowing you to get back to enjoying the benefits of solar.
Contact us today to book an on-site inspection.