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Jun 28, 2024

Solar Inverter Maintenance Checklist: 7 Tips to Extend Inverter's Lifespan

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This blog presents a comprehensive Solar Inverter Maintenance Checklist, outlining 7 essential tips to guide users on optimal inspection and maintenance practices.

A proactive approach is crucial for identifying and preventing technical issues that can lead to inverter failure. This approach involves routine cleaning, monitoring performance metrics, and inspecting the inverter and energy storage system. Neglecting regular maintenance can result in premature failure, reduced efficiency, costly repairs or replacements, and a lower return on investment. However, by conducting regular preventive checks and implementing the necessary measures, users can minimise inverter downtimes, avoid failures, and maximise their solar investment's profitability.

Therefore, it is important for installers to understand and implement these 7 steps outlined in the Solar Inverter Maintenance Checklist. Doing so will improve the inverter's performance, extend its lifespan, and ensure a sustainable, reliable, and cost-effective energy experience.

What is the role of an inverter in a solar system?

The solar inverter plays a crucial role in converting the Direct Current (DC) generated by solar panels into usable Alternating Current (AC) to power electrical loads in households or businesses. An inverter failure can disrupt the entire solar system, leading to financial losses that vary depending on the system's size and the duration of the downtime.

Solar Inverter Maintenance Checklist



1. Check Terminals and Connections


  • Inspect:

    • - Check for any loose connections between the inverter and energy storage system terminals. The loose connections can lead to a high resistance point, causing electrical arcing and excessive heat to build up at the connection point. Sustained arcing and overheating can damage the inverter’s internal components, causing failure.

    • - Look out for signs of wear and tear, corrosion or looseness in the wiring. This could lead to short circuits due to direct contact between conductors carrying different voltage levels in the system’s components.

  • Corrective Measures:

    • - Turn off the circuit box for safety and reconnect the loose connections to the respective terminals. Turn on the circuit box again and check for persisting error/warning codes on the inverter’s LED screen. Promptly addressing loose connections can prevent further issues and potential damage to the inverter.

    • - Contact the respective distributors and/or installers to replace the faulty wires to establish secure connections between the solar inverter, energy storage system, and circuit box.


2. Clean Inverter's Cooling Fan and Air Vents


  • Inspect:

    • - Check if the inverter cooling fan is working properly. The inverter cooling fan gets clogged or fails over time due to various reasons such as faulty components, accumulation of dust, debris, leaves, and small insects/animals blocking the airflow through the fan and vents. The restricted airflow can result in solar inverter overheating, eventually leading to inverter failure.

  • Corrective Measures:

    • - Contact the respective installer when the solar inverter fan is not working. Ask the installer to promptly replace the faulty cooling fan to prevent overheating and potential inverter failure.

    • - Turn off power through the circuit box for safety. Use the vacuum cleaner to suck out the dust, dirt, and debris that accumulates at the cooling fan and/or air vents. After cleaning, turn on the power again to check for any persisting overheating warning codes or do a visual inspection for any remaining dust or debris.

    • - Turn off power to the inverter through the circuit box. Use cotton buds to gently clean the accumulated dust and debris buildup in the small crevices between the air vents and cooling fans. Removing the accumulated dust and dirt ensures proper airflow within the inverter and prevents overheating. After cleaning, turn on the power again to check for any persisting overheating warning codes or do a visual inspection for any remaining dust or debris.

3. Check Warning and Error codes


  • Inspect:

    • - Check for warning and error codes on the inverter’s LED screen allows early detection of many potential issues within the inverter. Check the LED screen of the inverter, if there is an error code on the inverter’s LED screen, it means that the inverter is either 1) going to face some problems or 2) is already experiencing some technical problems. When a warning code appears, timely preventive measures can be done before any serious damage is done to the inverter. Most importantly, users can quickly identify the root cause and take appropriate actions to prevent inverter failure.

  • Corrective Measures:

    • - Check the user manual/guide for the list of warning and error codes. Some errors can be resolved by the users by following the recommended steps outlined in the manual.

    • - For most errors, the user will require technical assistance from the distributor and manufacturer. In such cases, contact the respective distributor or manufacturer to seek onsite technical assistance as soon as possible.

4. Protect Against Environmental Factors


Check the temperature, humidity, and weather elements at the inverter location. Environmental factors can impact the inverter's operational capability and potentially cause damage to components within the solar system. Ensuring the inverter operates within the recommended temperature and humidity ranges is crucial for optimal performance and longevity.

  • Temperature:

    • Inspect:

      • - Inspect the temperature at the installation location. Most Growatt Inverters have built-in monitoring systems and displays that show the internal temperature readings. If the operating temperature approaches the extremes of the recommended temperature range, corrective measures must be implemented promptly to prevent solar inverter overheating and solar inverter failure (caused by condensation within the inverter during low temperature)

    • Corrective Measures:

      • - Implement forced cooling or warming measures to maintain the recommended room temperature. Users can install an air conditioner or heater in the room housing the inverters, lowering or increasing the temperature according to the daily temperature conditions. Maintaining the optimal temperature helps prevent inverter overheating or condensation buildup, extending the inverter's lifespan.

  • Humidity:

    • Inspect:

      • - Look out for obvious visual signs like condensation on the inverter or mold growth in the inverter location. For more accurate measurements, use a hygrometer or humidity monitor to measure the room’s humidity levels. Inverters work best in moderate temperatures and dry locations. Addressing high humidity promptly is crucial to prevent potential damage and ensure efficient operation.

    • Corrective Measures:

      • - Use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture in the inverter location. Alternatively, users may consider moving the inverter to a more suitable location that is dry and well-ventilated. Maintaining proper humidity levels is essential for the inverter's optimal performance and longevity.

  • Weather Elements:

    • Inspect:

      • - Take note of rain, snow, and wind conditions near the inverter’s installation location. These environmental factors can impact the inverter’s performance. Depending on the Ingress Protection (IP) rating, the inverter site has to be well-sheltered and protected from direct exposure to water jets or precipitation. Ensuring the inverter is installed in a suitable location can help mitigate the effects of adverse weather conditions.

    • Corrective Measures:

      • - Install the inverters indoors OR build a dedicated shelter to house the inverters. Always take note to minimise inverters’ exposure to water and direct sunlight. It is advisable to install or relocate the inverters to a room where temperature and humidity can be controlled more easily. This controlled environment helps ensure optimal operating conditions and extends the inverters' lifespan.

5. Check for Firmware Updates


  • Inspect:

    • - Check for the current firmware version installed on the inverter. Growatt inverters will have the firmware version number written on the LED screen (following the instructions to toggle to the version number display). End-users should cross-check with their distributors or manufacturers for the latest firmware upgrade available for their region. If the installed firmware is not the latest version, the owner should update the firmware to benefit from the newest bug fixes and optimisations.

  • Corrective Measures:

    • - Download the latest firmware upgrade upon receiving the manufacturer’s or distributor's notice. Install the latest firmware upgrade on the inverter to fix bugs.


6. Monitor Inverter Performance Data


  • Inspect:

    • - Create an inverter performance checklist documenting all inverter failures and downtimes. Use empirical data to spot any seasonal trends in inverter failure and performance. It is also advisable to share these observations with the installer so they can better determine the root cause of the inverter failure. This collaborative approach can lead to more effective troubleshooting and preventive maintenance strategies.

  • Corrective Measures:

    • - Use monitoring applications provided by the manufacturers to check on the performance of the inverter. Growatt users can use either ShinePhone mobile application or ShineServer platform to monitor their inverter performance conveniently. Regular monitoring enables timely identification of any issues or performance degradation, allowing for prompt corrective actions.    

7. Keep a Maintenance Log


  • Inspect:

    • - Keep a maintenance log that records the frequency of regular maintenance tasks such as cleaning, inspecting connections, and replacing components. Check the frequency of maintenance and cross-refer to the Performance data sheet to determine the ideal maintenance frequency that leads to lower failure rates. Regular maintenance at optimal intervals is important for ensuring the inverter's reliable and efficient operation over its lifespan.

  • Corrective Measure:

    • - Determine the ideal frequency of each maintenance task that contributes to stable inverter performance. Note the trends and patterns in log data and customise the maintenance log based on seasonal conditions or specific environmental factors. This data-driven approach allows for optimised maintenance routines tailored to the individual system's needs, ensuring consistent and reliable inverter operation.

How to Monitor and Troubleshoot Growatt Inverters?


Growatt's ShinePhone and ShineServer platforms offer precise monitoring capabilities that serve as excellent preventive maintenance tools for solar inverters. These solutions actively monitor inverter performance, providing users with real-time data and insights to proactively identify potential issues before they escalate.

The ShinePhone mobile app enables remote monitoring of inverter status, energy production, and fault alerts. The ShineServer web-based platform delivers comprehensive monitoring and analysis features, including detailed performance metrics, historical data trends, and customisable reporting. By leveraging these monitoring platforms, users can promptly detect deviations from expected performance parameters, facilitating timely maintenance and interventions.

Download ShinePhone (Apple OR Andriod) and ShineServer to actively monitor your inverter system’s performance and longevity.

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