You’d be forgiven for thinking that your solar inverter, once installed, is a “set and forget” sort of deal. While it’s true that a well-installed and high-quality inverter will probably run smoothly for at least several years, you should monitor it just as you monitor and maintain your panels.
It’s not a big task, but if you include your inverter in your annual system service, as well as keeping a monthly check-in schedule, then you’ll be able to spot problems and glitches early and make the most of your system’s capabilities.
Here’s the four best things you can do to look after your solar inverter…
Look out for – and act upon – warning lights
Whatever your model of inverter is, it’ll have a repertoire (as it were) of warning lights to attract your attention. Most inverters now can sort out minor problems and glitches themselves, but more serious problems, or minor problems that often lead to more serious hassle, will elicit a cry for help. As soon as you see any lights, read your manual to see if you can fix it or whether you have to call a techie in.
Listen out for noises
Your inverter will work away quietly 99.99% of the time, but you may hear the occasional clicking noise as it turns on in the morning and turns off again at night. If you’re hearing more clicks than usual, or any other funny noises (especially if there’s a warning light too) then you need to take further steps – either work through the manual or call someone in.
Watch its performance
Watching your inverter’s performance is the best way to make sure it’s healthy. Most modern inverters have a yield functionality so that you can see how much energy your system is producing. If there’s a sudden dip or a slow-but-steady decline that can’t be explained by the season, overgrowing trees or the weather, then you may need help. Knowing what to expect on a daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal basis means you’re able to see shortfalls rapidly and take action.
Check the data
You should also compare your output with the data supplied to you by your installer or manufacturer. If you’re finding you’re always much lower than your estimated energy production then there may be a physical reason, like shady trees or an obstructive building. It’s not always about looking for problems with the inverter itself, there are often external reasons for less-than-optimal outputs and these can sometimes be eliminated or improved upon.