Is your solar inverter pulling its weight? Here’s how to check.
Monitor your solar power system to ensure it is delivering maximum output.
If you’ve made a significant investment in a new solar power system you may think that once it’s installed, it should be able to take care of itself. However, like any good investment, it’s important to follow its performance. By servicing your inverter annually and regularly monitoring its output you can ensure it is living up to your expectations.
Plus, measuring how much clean power you are generating and how much money you are saving on electricity bills is a highly satisfying exercise. An added bonus of regularly monitoring your solar inverter is that in the event your system develops a fault, you’ll pick up on it much quicker, reducing your downtime and saving you money.
So when it comes to monitoring your system, simply follow these steps:
1. Look out for warning lights
If your system develops a glitch, it will usually set off a warning light. (Different brands and models display different warning lights. Check your inverter’s manual to determine what your system’s warning lights mean.)
When a glitch is detected, most inverters will attempt to resolve the issue by resetting themselves. However there are some situations when your manual will instruct you to manually shut down your solar power system. This isn’t a difficult process, however it is important that you follow the instructions correctly. This handy inverter shut down procedure will help.
2. Take note of your inverters daily rhythms
Each morning as your inverter fires up and again in the afternoon when it turns off, you may notice it making clicking noises and various lights flashing. This is normal. Take note of what your inverter does on a day to day basis, so if something out of the ordinary happens, you can rectify it promptly. For example, if you notice your inverter’s warning light has stayed on much longer than usual after starting up for the day, it’s likely you’ll need to follow the shut down instructions above to reset your system.
3. Monitor your yield
Yield is the amount of electricity your solar power system is producing. Most inverters have a function which enables you to monitor your yield. Keeping an eye on your yield is the easiest and most effective way of ensuring your system is functioning correctly.
Regular monitoring will enable you to detect what your system’s normal yield ‘looks like’, on a daily, monthly and annual basis. You will come to recognise seasonal changes and times when your panels are affected by shade. This means that fluctuations in yield caused by inverter faults and other more complex malfunctions can also be identified sooner.
If your inverter only captures daily yield data but you’d prefer to see your monthly yield figures, simply record your yield on a piece of paper at the start and end of the month, then divide the difference by the number of days in between. For full details on monitoring your system’s yield, consult your inverter’s user manual.
4. Compare the data
When your system was installed your solar power retailer should have given you a document that estimates how much electricity your system should generate, based on your location and your specific installation. Using the figures you collect each month you can check how your system compares with these energy estimates provided by your solar retailer.
In the event your system isn’t producing as much power as it should (and you’ve ruled out factors like seasonal changes and shade that can affect your yield), consider asking a licenced technician come and take a look at your system. Our qualified and experienced electricians at Service My Solar can help ensure you are getting the most out of your inverter and make sure it’s pulling its weight.
Call Service My Solar for help
To book your inverter inspection or for more advice on monitoring your system, please give us a call on 1300 496 278 or contact us online.