Is your solar PV inverter not performing as well as it used to? Are you not getting the return on investment you expected? It may be that your solar inverter needs replacing. It could also be that your warranty has expired and you need urgent help.
As the Guiseley moves away from fossil fuel dependence, more homeowners are investing in renewable energy. Many are opting for solar photovoltaic panels that convert sunlight into electricity. Most people prefer these because of the lower energy bills and the option of selling excess energy back to the national grid under the smart export guarantee. One of the newest forms of solar is the hybrid solar panel system which also uses an inverter as it heats water like the old systems but also converts energy to electricity like solar PV.
One essential component of this system is the solar inverter. This is the control centre, the link between your panels and the building - without it, your panels would be useless. Solar panels send DC (direct current) electricity to the inverter, where it is transformed into usable AC (alternating current) electricity that powers your Guiseley household or business. They can also be set to backup power mode, where solar batteries are kept permanently charged and only discharge power during interruptions to the energy supply from the national grid.
They are usually coupled with a charge controller that sends power to the grid when the batteries are full.
Although solar inverters are generally reliable and perform well, most inverters will need to be replaced at some stage.
As the nerve centre of the whole system, solar inverters have to cope with a heavy workload; this part works harder than any of the other components in the whole system!
Eventually, the capacitors will fail due to electromechanical wear and tear. Capacitors regulate the flow of electricity to make it flow evenly, and the high electrical load passing through these components gradually wears them out.
Other factors also affect performance and lifespan, including:
The majority of solar inverters come with a warranty of between 10 and 15 years. While this might seem a reasonable length of time (not many electrical goods can match this!), it is about half the expected lifespan of your solar panel array.
It's not easy to judge exactly when solar PV inverter replacement should take place. The very nature of the system means that there will be some loss of efficiency over the years, but a drastic drop in output could be a sign that it's time to replace the inverter.
Even so, don't jump to conclusions and assume that the solar power inverter is causing the issue and rush into having it replaced. Be very wary of independent local installers or unqualified contractors who advise you to buy a new inverter before checking the entire solar panel system.
Skylamp Solar solar panel engineers will test your system for you and advise you whether a replacement inverter is necessary.
In the meantime, it's a good idea to monitor the output and check for any fault codes on the display panel.
There's a clue in the length of the warranty, as this gives an idea of the minimum length of time you'd expect the item to work for.
However, there are factors that will affect the unit's life cycle, as we've mentioned.
Also, it's better to consider investing in a good-quality brand as these will typically last longer than cheaper models.
And one other issue to be aware of is that there are two different types of inverters:
Micro inverters are usually found on smaller arrays and have a big advantage over string inverters; they are each attached to a single panel and act independently, so there's no loss of efficiency if another panel is in shade from a tree or chimney, for example.
Because they don't have to deal with a high electrical load, they have an increased life span, with a warranty of up to 25 years.
The price varies from one inverter to another, depending on the brand, type, system size, conversion efficiency and potential power output. We posted an article entitled “what size inverter do i need for my solar panels” to go into more details on this.
Micro inverters typically cost between £100 and £150 each, but you'll need one unit per PV panel.
A string inverter can cost anywhere between £500 and £2,000 so it's vital that you seek advice to ensure that you get the right one for your needs - and your bank account!
Feel free to call Skylamp Solar for advice on this or any other issues concerning solar PV inverter replacement and solar panels in general.
The actual installation only takes a competent fitter between one and two hours, so it's a pretty straightforward job.
Of course, it depends on whether it's a string inverter or micro inverter and where the unit is situated.
Micro inverters may take longer to install as they are usually located on a roof, which requires extra work and possibly the use of scaffolding.
When it's time for your existing inverter to be replaced, you need a team that can do the job professionally and offer competitive pricing.
If you need advice regarding your solar panel inverter and suspect that you need a replacement, don't hesitate to call us. We'll guide you in the right direction and get your solar system running smoothly again, leaving you to enjoy the benefits.
Yes solar inverters do need servicing despite having a lifespan of around 5-10 years depending on the specification and brand.
In short yes but an electrician is unlikely to know the ins and outs of solar inverters and also not be able to recommend which ones to use. The cost will almost be the same so you would be wise to have it done by a solar technician.
The lifespan of a solar inverter can vary between specification and brand but the best on the market can last up to 15 years whilst the cheaper ones might start degrading or fail within 5 years.
In general once per year but that is assuming the inverter and panels have the recommended angle of tilt and that they are not in an area with lots of falling debris and dirt in an overly dry environment i.e. sheltered from the rain.