Solar inverter installation requires careful planning and execution to ensure optimum results. When properly installed and maintained, solar inverters provide years of quality service with little or no problems. This article will provide some important tips to keep in mind when installing and maintaining your PV inverter, whether doing a professional or DIY solar installation.
Solar Inverter Installation
Solar inverter installation involves mounting the inverter onto a solid surface, connecting the inverter to the solar panel array, and then connecting the inverter to the main electrical panel. Given the criticality of inverters in solar power systems, how do you ensure a proper installation?
The inverter installation procedure is usually based on two things: the type of inverter you have and the specific location you want it installed. Each factor has its place in the process and should be considered when making your installation decisions. Here is more about them:
Type of Solar Inverter
Solar inverter installers charge different amounts based on the amount of labor required. If you have a string or central inverter, your installer will only need to attach several panels in series with each other (string) and then connect each string to the inverter.
On the other hand, if you have a micro-inverter, your installer will need to connect the solar panels in parallel with each other and then bolt them underneath each panel (unless they come already mounted). This would require more hours of work.
As you can see, the solar inverter installation cost will depend on your choice of inverter. Apart from inverter type, your system could be on or off-grid. These require different connections and come with different components.
Grid Tie Inverter Installation
A grid tie inverter installation should only be done by a professional. This is because the inverter needs to be connected to the main electrical panel, which requires some level of expertise. The installer must ensure that all wiring and connections are completed in accordance with local building codes and regulations for grid-tied power systems.
Off grid Inverter Installation
An off-grid inverter installation is usually more complex than a grid tie inverter. The wiring and connections are different, and the voltage levels are higher in off-grid systems. In addition, an off-grid system must be connected to a load center or breaker panel with a battery bank. All these factors make it important to hire a qualified person.
Solar Inverter Location
The solar inverter location is also important. Microinverters and power optimizers are mounted on the roofs, or any other location outside where your panels are located. String and central inverters, on the other hand, can be mounted in different places such as inside your house, inside the garage, and even outside under a covering.
When planning your inverter installation, it is important to choose a location where you can safely access it in case of maintenance or service needs. This could be inside your house or near a door that leads outside.
Once you have decided on the type of inverter and the installation location, you can start the process of installing your solar inverter. This should be preceded by adequate preparations and everything sourced beforehand. Below is solar inverter set up tips to guide you.
Solar inverter Installation Tips
There are several important tips to keep in mind when doing a solar inverter install. These will help you ensure best installation decisions based on your particular type of inverter and other factors.
- Ensure your solar array is compatible with your inverter. This will reduce any performance issues after the installation process. For example, an off grid inverter will not work with a grid-tie solar system and so on.
- Make sure that your inverter is installed in a location where it will not be exposed to excessive heat or cold. Extreme temperatures can damage the inverter and reduce its lifespan.
- Always install solar inverter units in secure locations away from any potential sources of moisture or water damage. Outdoors, ensure there’s a cover to keep out rain and sun.
- If you are installing a string inverter, be sure to leave enough space all around the device for proper ventilation. Inverter overheating can cause serious issues. Experts recommend 12 inches of clearance.
- Make sure that all wire connections are made properly and that all electrical components are properly grounded.
- It’s good practice to have your solar inverter installation done by a qualified professional who has experience with PV systems. This will help ensure a proper procedure and that your warranty remains intact.
Now that we have covered the process to install a PV inverter, you might be interested in knowing how to keep it working correctly- and performing at its best. Continue below for tips on how to ensure this critical device remains in great condition.
Solar Inverter Maintenance
A well-maintained solar inverter will last a long time. That’s in addition to allowing a smooth provision of electricity in to the appliances in your home, office, or business. Inverter maintenance is relatively simple and only requires a few basic steps. Here’s what to do.
1. Keep Inverter Cool
Inverters generate heat when they are in use. So it’s important to keep them cool and prevent them from getting too hot and damaging the electronic components inside. Solar inverter overheating is best prevented by ensuring a well-ventilated area and keeping the air vents open and debris-free.
2. Inverter Cleaning
Solar inverters need to be kept clean in order to operate efficiently. Dust, dirt, and debris can build up on the inverter and cause it to work less effectively. To clean your inverter, simply use a piece of cloth to wipe down the unit. Do so regularly, especially if the inverter location is prone to dust.
Note: the inverter air filter may clog with dust and restrict the free flow of air. This must only be cleaned by a professional.
3. Inverter Inspection
Periodically inspect your inverter for signs of wear and tear. Look for damaged wires or loose connections as well as scratches or other irregularities on the unit itself. These can all affect the performance of your inverter and should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
4. Inverter Error Codes
Be on the lookout for error codes if your inverter has a display for these. Some inverters may flash a light instead. A solar inverter red light simply means something is wrong, either with the inverter itself or other components such as ground faults. On the other hand, a technician will help interpret error codes.
5. Solar Inverter repairs
If you notice any problems with your inverter, be sure to contact a qualified solar inverter technician for assistance. Timely repairs help to prevent bigger problems and save you heavier costs. Avoid DIY inverter repair. Trying to fix the unit yourself can void the warranty and cause further damage.
Inverters are a vital part of your solar energy system. As such, you want yours correctly installed and maintained for trouble-free operation. Use the tips in this post when planning your solar inverter installation and performing regular maintenance tasks. With a little care, your inverter and solar array will provide you with years of clean, renewable energy.