Solar System Inverters : How long do they Last? I PremierImprovementsOne.com
Updated: Dec 4, 2021
There are many configurations of the inverter, which converts DC power from solar panels to usable AC power.
String inverter vs. Microinverter
Inverters are available in two types: microinverters and string inverters. Some string inverters can be equipped with module-level power electronics, MLPE (or DC optimizers) for certain applications. For roofs with shading conditions, suboptimal orientation or not south-facing span, microinverters and DC optimizers are used.
String inverter outfitted with DC optimizers
This technology ensures each panel has its maximum capability in real-time. It also allows for the use of "string" inverters to limit the production levels of other panels.
A bypass diode is a technology that stops the "Christmas light effect" from occurring in some string inverters. This technology can be found here by Fronius.
A string inverter is a good option for roofs with a favorable azimuth (orientation towards the sun) and little shading.
String inverters have simpler wiring and are easier to repair by solar technicians. According to Solar Reviews, they tend to be less expensive. Inverters are typically 10-20% more expensive than a solar panel installation. It is therefore important to choose the right inverter.
How much time do they last?
Inverters can be expected to last for 25-30 years, but solar panels are more durable than inverters. This is due to the faster aging of their components. Inverters are susceptible to electro-mechanical wear. According to Solar Harmonics, electrolyte capacitors are less durable and wear faster than those made of dry components.
EnergySage stated a typical residential string inverter would last approximately 10-15 years.
Standard warranties for string inverters are generally between 5-10 years. Many have the option of extending their warranty to 20 years. You should consider whether you are eligible for free maintenance or monitoring throughout the term of a solar contract.
EnergySage stated that microinverters can last up to 25 years. This is nearly twice the life span of their panel counterparts. These inverters usually come with a standard warranty of 20-25 years. Microinverters are a new technology that has been around for ten years. It is not surprising that they have a lengthy warranty. However, it remains to be seen whether the equipment can live up to its promise of 20+ years.
This is also true for DC optimizers which are often paired with a central string inverter. These components are guaranteed to last 20-25 years.
According to kWh Analytics, 80% of solar array problems are at the inverter level. This can be caused by many factors.
Fallon Solutions says grid faults are one reason. Grid faults can cause inverters to fail. Circuit breakers and fuses can be activated in order to protect them from high-voltage damage.
Sometimes, failures can occur at the MLPE where components of power optimizers are exposed to higher temperatures. It could be a problem in the MLPE if you notice a reduction in production.
Also, installation must be done correctly. Fallon suggested that the maximum solar panel capacity should not exceed 133% of the inverter capacity. They will not work efficiently if the panels are not properly matched with an inverter of the right size.
Those Solar Guys suggested that inverters be kept running for longer periods of time by choosing a dry, cool area with plenty of fresh air. Although some brands are better suited to direct sunlight, it is best to avoid installing outdoor inverters in places that receive direct sunlight. It is also important to ensure that each inverter is properly spaced so heat doesn't transfer between them.
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