Why a Solar Inverter Fails - What Should You Do Repair or Replace It? | Green Life Zen

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The potential advantages of solar power are appealing, saving money while favorably affecting the environment is an excellent thing! Nevertheless, if your solar energy system fails to work as it should, it can diminish both your savings and environmental advantages.

Instead of changing the whole panels, you might think about repairing the inverter, and checking out if they're possible for your scenario. Solar inverter issues are well known, which suggests there are numerous solutions to check out.

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Solar Inverter Lifespan

When it comes to the operaton system of the solar panels solar inverters are very crucial to make it work properly, and they can normally last anywhere between 10 and 12 years. We typically need to replace them at least once throughout the lifespan of the panel due to electro-mechanical wear. Generally speaking, solar inverters have a much shorter life expectancy than the panels themselves.

There are two primary types of inverters: string inverters and micro inverters. The latter can last almost twice as long as the former: approximately 25 years. Regardless of their extended durability, the technology behind micro inverters is still brand-new, and the guarantee of their longer lifespan has yet to be completely satisfied.

It's very important to remember that while solar panels have a cumulative lifespan of 10 to 25 years, there are ecological aspects that can reduce this lifespan substantially. Keep in mind that your solar system is exposed to the aspects, including bad weather condition.

An efficient inverter that's working as it should is critical; it is how the system transforms the DC energy from the panels into AC energy that can be utilized within your house.

Why Do Solar Inverters Stop Working?

Solar inverters can stop working for a variety of factors, and when they do, it's going to affect the capacity of your solar panel and how much electrical power you're able to generate in the system as a whole.

Here are three main factors that we list and expand as to why your solar inverter could be stopping working:

  • Heat
  • Defective installation
  • Humidity

  • Unproper Maintenance


For as long as electronics have been around heat and electronic systems have actually been enemies. You need to install your inverters in cool, dry locations with lots of fresh air as prolonged durations of direct sunlight can trigger solar inverters to wear out too soon. 

Extended heat also adversely impacts the inverter's performance due to fact that most electronic systems currently tend to run several degrees hotter than room temperature with higher heat densities due to today's smaller circuit sizes. This is particularly true in locations that are not temperature-controlled with air conditioning outside.

Defective Installation

You should properly match your solar panels with appropriately sized inverters; solar panel capacity should not surpass 133% of inverter capacity. A bad setup can cause problems in the future, such as grid fault and maximum power point tracking (MPPT) errors. There must also be lots of clearance in multi-inverter setups, to prevent heat transfer between systems.


High humidity can deteriorate solar panels, adversely impacting the inverter's capability to output appropriate current and voltage. Since the percentage of water vapour in damp air is higher than usual, incoming radiation from the sun refracts off this water and reduces inverter performance, possibly causing inverter failure. Such water vapour can reduce your inverters' energy output by as much as 30%.

Unproper Maintenance

Maintenance and cleaning is just as much a part of the solar process as the original setup. A properly maintained solar systems protects your investment, and bad maintenance can cause your solar inverter system to stop working. Check the outside of your inverter frequently for physical damage; clean routinely to make sure that dirt and dust are not blocking their cooling fins and vents too.

Think about scheduling expert maintenance once every 5 years, in which the inside of your inverter is examined by an expert for deterioration, pests, and other indications of damage.

Keep in mind that a failing battery can also just be an indication that it's come to the end of its life expectancy. Batteries are unpredictable, and battery storage problems in hybrid inverters are common too. Keep your inverter clear of particles as much as possible. These small maintenance tweaks aren't just for show; they actually do safeguard your inverter!

How to Repair a Solar Inverter

You will obviously need a CEC trained professional well versed in solar technology, or a representative of the manufacturer to repair a solar inverter. There are, nevertheless, still some troubleshooting steps you can take, including the points described below.

Reset inverter

You can reset the inverter yourself if you have some working knowledge of electrical systems. As this is a comprehensive procedure, it's crucial to understand that you should be as careful as possible to avoid risking threat to yourself along with further damaging the system.

Only try to reset the inverter if you understand the procedure involved. You can always refer to an expert if you're unpleasant doing this yourself; this piece of troubleshooting is totally optional.

Inspect Your Fault Codes

It is very important to record the fault codes that your system is showing and save that information for an expert to examine later on. Since their job is to maintain solar inverters and other solar devices, chances are, they'll be able to use the information to identify what types of repair are required, or to determine if the inverter needs to be replaced entirely.

Changing a Solar Inverter

When it comes to a failing solar inverter, repair is typically the first thought homeowners have, however oftentimes you might need to replace it entirely. If you discover that your item is just plain defective, it's time to evaluate your options.

Check Your Service Warranty

If your inverter is still under service warranty, then you are typically spared from a significant costs to replace it. The manufacturer might not replace it free of charge, however you typically pay a lot less than the cost for a total replacement outside of the service warranty duration.

Check the documents that came with your inverter to see where you are within the service warranty duration. As you might think, the service warranties vary between manufacturers, so it's crucial to examine your particular system.

The Cost of Solar Inverter Replacement

The cost of replacing a solar inverter differs depending on the size and brand name. A 3-phase inverter will generally cost at least $2,500, while the cost of a micro inverter will differ depending on how many need replacing.

Replace or Upgrade: Which One is Wortwhile?

You might even think about a complete system upgrade if you are looking at replacing a solar inverter. If the distinction in cost isn't significant, devoting to an upgrade holds more advantages than just replacing the inverter after all. To make sure it is worthwhile, do your calculations before devoting a whole brand-new system though.

Will an Installer Upgrade Your System?

Not every installer will agree to upgrade your system, you might need some appointments with them. There are liability problems at play and the installer might be worried that they will be held responsible for the initial installer's work. It might be hard, or not feasible, to upgrade the system depending on the age of it.

Will You Lose Your Premium FIT?

In some circumstances, upgrading your system might suggest that you lose your premium feed-in tariff (FIT). Whether you lose your premium rate or not depends on the state in which you live as well as the size of your solar panel system and the one you are upgrading to. For instance, in Queensland, if you're on the 44c feed-in tariff rate and want to upgrade your inverter to a larger one and add more panels, you'll likely lose your premium 44c tariff. On top of that, the rules around premium feed-in tariffs can alter and vary with retailer. 

Conclusion: Don't Be Wasteful

Defective solar inverters end up somewhere, and simply discarding them isn't always the best idea as the prime goal for going solar for a lot of solar enthusiasts is the environment. It's best to look for methods to recycle the various solar panel system parts properly.

Check out this great guide that teaches you how to recondition old dead batteries and bring them back to life again to its fullest initial function. Learn the skills and build a profitable battery reconditioning business at your local area while saving the environment as well.