A few months back consumer advocacy group CHOICE surveyed solar system owners and found the biggest issue they had was the inverter.
This isn’t unexpected as the inverter is the most sophisticated part of any solar system and is usually located outside in harsh weather conditions.
It has to survive everything from hail in winter to extreme heat in summer, all the while continually generating power during daylight hours.
One issue that has become apparent recently is the glut of poor-quality inverters installed in the first wave of the solar boom. These are failing and cannot easily be repaired.
However, there is a silver lining in the cloud. Quality replacement inverters come with the latest, easy-to-use remote monitoring.
This is an important feature as the CHOICE survey found 46 per cent of respondents use their electricity bill to track their system’s performance.
The problem here is that if the inverter recognises a system fault and stops working, they won’t discover it until they get their next quarterly power bill.
So it pays to regularly check your inverter and see if it displaying an error code.
Often an inverter won’t completely shut down if a fault develops and will continue to operate at a minimum level. Nevertheless vital production is lost.
An error code doesn’t necessarily mean the fault lies in the inverter. It could be a short-circuit caused by moisture ingress, compromised cable connections or damage caused by rooftop vermin. Many faults can also be traced back to an original shoddy installation. Some of these bring a risk of electrocution or fire.
So there are many reasons why it’s money well spent to get your solar system professionally checked and tested every 18 months to two years.