Solar inverters play a pivotal role in converting the direct current (DC) generated by solar panels into usable alternating current (AC) for powering homes or businesses. Over time, these inverters might show signs of wear, inefficiency, or failure, and require a replacement. How do you know if it’s time to replace your solar inverter? Keep reading to learn a few tell-tale signs.
1. Age of the Inverter
The lifespan of a solar inverter typically ranges from 10 to 15 years. As the inverter ages, its efficiency might decline, affecting the overall performance of your solar system. If your inverter has reached or exceeded this age range, it’s advisable to explore replacement options to maintain optimal energy conversion.
2. Decreased Energy Production
A noticeable decrease in your solar system’s energy production could indicate inverter issues. If you observe a significant drop in the amount of electricity generated by your panels despite consistent sunlight exposure, it’s a red flag that the inverter might be malfunctioning. This decline often points to the need for a new inverter to restore efficient power conversion.
3. Inverter Error Messages or Warning Lights
Inverter error messages displayed on the unit or warning lights that remain illuminated signal potential malfunctions. These alerts might vary, ranging from simple error codes to more complex issues like ground faults or insulation problems. Persistent error messages or lights that don’t resolve after troubleshooting indicate a need for professional inspection or replacement.
4. Strange Noises or Overheating
Unusual noises, such as buzzing, humming, or clicking, coming from the inverter could indicate internal component damage or failure. Additionally, if the inverter feels excessively hot to the touch, it might be overheating due to internal issues, potentially necessitating replacement to prevent further damage.
5. Warranty Expiration
Most inverters come with a manufacturer’s warranty, typically covering a specific duration, often a decade or more. If your inverter experiences issues after the warranty period, it might be cost-effective to replace it instead of investing in repairs, as repair costs can be substantial and frequent.
Consult a Professional
If you’re having issues with your solar inverter, it’s a good idea to consult a certified solar professional before you jump to replacing this expensive piece of equipment. They can perform diagnostics to determine whether replacement is necessary and provide guidance on suitable options.
For those considering new SMA grid-tie inverters, these models offer advanced technology, reliability, and efficient power conversion. SMA is known for its high-quality grid-tie inverters suitable for various solar system sizes, ensuring optimal performance and longevity. If a solar expert determines your current inverter needs to be replaced, they can guide you in choosing the right model for your inverter replacement.