Your solar inverter is a central component of your solar power system. Without it functioning properly, you won’t have electricity for your home, regardless of how well the solar panels themselves are performing. For the most part, inverters will run for years without giving their owners any trouble. However, errors do sometimes arise and need to be addressed. Keep reading to learn the most common causes of inverter errors and how to fix them.
Worn Out Capacitors
Electrolytic capacitors are very sensitive to high temperatures. If your inverter gets too hot, it can cause the electrolytes in the capacitor to evaporate, which will wear them out very quickly. If your capacitor is worn out, it won’t be able to limit fluctuations and provide stable DC voltage like it’s supposed to. This can cause the inverter to fail.
On the other side of the coin, very cold temperatures can limit the evaporation of the electrolytes and prolong the lifespan of your capacitors and, therefore, your inverter. If your capacitor does get worn out, you can replace this component to restore inverter function. However, it’s important to make sure that your inverter is installed somewhere with proper airflow, where it’s unlikely to overheat, so you can prevent this problem.
Your inverter’s normal operation creates ultrasonic vibrations within the machine, so there’s not really much that can be done to prevent the vibrations themselves—and, in reality, the vibrations don’t directly cause the inverter to malfunction. Rather, ultrasonic vibrations become problematic when they cause the inverter to heat up to dangerous temperatures, leading to the breakdown of parts, such as the capacitors described above. The best way to prevent this is to ensure that the inverter’s fans are working, the air inlets are clean, and the inverter is installed somewhere with plenty of ventilation.
Properly sizing your inverter for your system is absolutely essential to avoid inverter malfunctions. If you connect an inverter to a load that exceeds its rated power, it will overload and damage the inverter. Even inverters with overload protection will overheat if they remain overloaded for too long. If your inverter is constantly overloading, unfortunately, this means it’s not the right size for your system. You’ll need to purchase a new inverter that can handle the power output from your solar array.
As you can see, the majority of inverter problems are related to overheating. If you can make sure that your SMA inverters aren’t running too hot, you can prevent a lot of common inverter errors.
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