How to Tell If Your Solar Inverter Is Working: Tips and Tricks

Troubleshooting a solar inverter

If you’re solar savvy, then you know that solar inverters are an important part of the solar process. But what do you do if your solar inverter isn’t working right? In this blog post, we will give you some tips and tricks on how to tell if your solar inverter is working properly. We’ll also provide some troubleshooting advice in case there are problems. So, whether you’re a new solar convert or a seasoned pro, read on for all the info you need to keep your solar inverter running smoothly!

Check for errors

Did you know that the majority of solar owners avoid going near their inverter but Choice found that nearly 20% of all owners had experienced an issue that was attributed to their inverter?

One of the first things to check is the display panel on the inverter. If there are any error codes or messages displayed, take note of them and look up what they mean. Often, these codes can help you narrow down the problem so that you can troubleshoot more easily. If there are no error codes, take a look at the LEDs. They should all be lit up green if the inverter is working properly.

A green light on the outside of an older SMA inverter indicates that there is more than 90% output (which is excellent). A light flashes if it’s below 90%.

Access the system data or logs

There are two methods for obtaining information about a modern solar PV system’s output from the inverter: on a digital screen if it has one, and via an online account linked to your inverter.

They provide more information and clarity to your systems’ anticipated performance than conventional reports. They may provide you with monthly and yearly kWh output.

The inverter’s screen doesn’t provide as much information, but it should be able to give you three figures:

  • The amount of kilowatts (in kW) being supplied to your home or the grid at that moment (at any given time, there will be a different quantity for each).
  • The amount of energy it has generated so far that day (kWh). This should be checked when the sunsets.
  • The estimated number of kilowatt-hours of energy generated in total since it was put in (kWh)

Listen for sounds

Another way to tell if your solar inverter is working properly is to listen for any strange noises coming from it. If you hear any buzzing, humming, or other unusual sounds, this could be a sign that something is wrong.

Check the power

One of the most obvious ways to tell if your solar inverter is working properly is to check the power output. If the inverter is working properly, it should be producing the same amount of power as it did when it was first installed. You can check this by looking at your electricity bill or monitoring your solar system online.

Error code

Check the connections

If everything looks and sounds good but the solar inverter still isn’t working properly, then it’s time to check the connections. Make sure that all of the cables are securely connected and that there is no damage to any of the wires. Once you’ve checked the connections, try restarting the inverter. If it still doesn’t work, then you may need to call a solar technician for help.

Check for overheating

Inverters are made of electronic components and are therefore sensitive to temperature changes. The maximum operating temperature is reached if the inverter heats up excessively so it’s important to keep your inverter cool during summer. It’s critical to evaluate the cooling technology as early as possible during the design process, since it may affect how much cold air enters the inverter. The switch cabinet and the structure housing the inverter(s) must be well ventilated, for example.

It is critical to monitor the cooling during operation and ensure that the cooling or ventilation system is functioning properly.

Isolation Faults

Solar inverters are designed to operate safely and reliably in all weather conditions, but they can be affected by faults in the system. Isolation faults are the most common type of fault and occur when the inverter is no longer able to communicate with the solar panels. This can happen if there is a problem with the wiring or if the solar panels are not generating enough power. When the inverter detects an “isolation alarm” as a result of a short-circuit between various phases in the circuit, it indicates that something is wrong.

If you think that there may be an isolation fault, then you should call a solar technician for help. The short-circuit is frequently caused by moisture or damage to the sleeve on the cable, faulty installation, improper DC cable connection to the panel, or dampness in the PV module connection section. This will be more prevalent in areas with a lot of humidity and/or near to the sea.

Troubleshooting steps

  1. Turn off the AC isolators, making sure they’re in the “Off” position. One should be located in your mains electrical region near your generation meter, and another by your inverter.
  2. Turn off your DC isolators. You may have a few, and they’ll be located near the inverter. The inverter should turn off and the screen goes blank. Leave it off for about 5 minutes, then go ahead and switch it back on. It’s important that the DC isolators are turned on before the AC isolators so that arcing doesn’t occur.
  3. Now, turn the AC isolators back on. It’s also common for your inverter to take a few minutes to restart, during which the lights will flash on and off. As it tests, you may see a variety of messages on the screen.

Conclusion

If you follow the steps above, you should be able to troubleshoot most solar inverter problems. However, if you’re still having trouble or the problem persists, it’s best to call a solar technician for help. With their expertise, they can quickly diagnose the problem and get your solar inverter working properly again, contact the friendly staff at Skyline Solar who will be able to assist.

SMA Inverter connections

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