What’s The Life Expectancy of a Solar Inverter?
Global data shows that the annual installation of solar energy has grown significantly from 2010 to 2021. This increase in popularity particularly stems from the fact that solar energy is clean, renewable, and sustainable. But, to use solar energy, you need a solar power system. One key component in a solar power system is a solar inverter.
A solar inverter transforms direct current solar panels produce into alternating current you can use in your home or business. A new roof solar panel installation would be impossible without a solar inverter. So, what is the life expectancy of a solar inverter? Let’s find out!
How Long Can a Solar Inverter Last?
Solar inverters have varying lifespans depending on the different types available on the market. So, let’s take a look at the lifespan of different solar inverters
String Inverter: This is the most frequently used type of solar inverter today, particularly because it is affordable. While popular and inexpensive, string inverters have a shorter lifespan of ten years.
Microinverter: This type of inverter is relatively expensive but has several advantages. One major advantage is a longer life span of 15 to 25 years. It also has lower operational costs and a general increase in productivity of about 5 to 25%. Compared to string inverters, microinverters are much smaller. They also perform better when a screen or cloud partially covers the solar panel.
Hybrid Solar Inverter: This is a string inverter with a charging and discharging mechanism similar to batteries. This type of solar inverter combines the functions of a string inverter and battery inverter, hence the name hybrid. The hybrid solar inverter has a lifespan of 15 years.
What Factors Affect the Lifespan of a Solar Inverter?
While there is a varying lifespan for different solar inverters, it’s important to recognize that numerous factors can shorten that life expectancy. These factors include:
The most crucial element within an inverter is its temperature. This element can directly impact the inverter’s lifespan. So, what makes a solar inverter vulnerable to temperature fluctuations? The answer is simple, its internal electrical components. This is why you are often advised not to place your solar power inverter in direct sunlight or without ventilation, as there is a likelihood of overheating.
If the internal electrical components overheat, it damages your solar inverter’s components and limits its overall life. Therefore, ensure that when you install your solar inverter:
- It must be done in a well-ventilated area. If the installation is done indoors, ensure air conditioning is also installed.
- Keep the inverter out of direct sunlight, especially if you are to install the inverter outdoors. Try to place the inverter under the frame or against a wall. This will help protect the module or roof from direct sunlight.
The external environment of the inverter also plays an important role in determining its lifespan. While a solar inverter does come with outdoor protection and can protect itself from fog, rain, and dust, it can last longer in a clean environment. So, why is a clean environment suitable? When dust touches the solar inverter’s radiator, its heat radiation function is affected.
Also, the heat radiation is affected if tree leaves, dust, and sand come into the inverter’s air pipe. This is why solar experts recommend installing solar inverters in sealed spaces if the external environment has heavy dust or is seriously polluted.
Maintenance and Cleaning
Like any other electrical appliance in your house, the solar inverter also requires cleaning and regular maintenance. Maintaining and cleaning your solar regularly directly influences how long it lasts. As most solar inverters are kept in places like carports or garages, cleaning them regularly ensures no debris or dust accumulates.
This, in turn, prevents the solar inverter’s vents, electrical components, and heat sinks from being damaged or clogged up. It’s also advisable to inspect your solar inverter thoroughly every few months. This ensures that no inconveniences occur that could cause harm to your inverter.
Where You Install the Inverter
The location of its installation matters a lot in its lifespan. Therefore, ensure you choose a location with good ventilation and low humidity. Also, ensure you have enough space between each inverter, especially if you play to have multiple inverters.
When a solar inverter leaves the factory, it leaves with a set time. But the actual service life is significantly reduced due to factors like maintenance, operation, and installation. Taking suitable measures ensures that your solar inverter can live out its days the right way.