grid tie inverter siting

ozarkerbobozarkerbob Registered Users Posts: 1
I have a 5.4 kW system (40 X 135 kyocera panels). I started with a xantrex inverter, which worked ok for the first year, but in the second summer started "reporting" a falsely high AC line voltage, and then kicking off. Turns out it was under recall so I replaced it. The replacement worked only a month before it started malfunctioning. Kicking off line while reporting AC voltage fault. This occured only in hot weather. I gave up on xantrex and bought a PV Powered inverter. The installer put this inverter in the same place as the others, in full sun. My manual says "the optimum location of the unit is outside, shielded from direct sunlight. It also says that the maximum output temperature range is -15 to 105 F. It frequently gets over a hundred in the summer here in Arkansas. And with the inverter in full sun there is no telling hot it will get in the afternoon sun.

Could the siting of the inverters have been a factor in the failure of the Xantrex and will I have problems with the PV Powered inverter? I am trying to stay on good terms with my installer but am beginning to question. Thanks for any input.



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Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,783 admin
    Re: grid tie inverter siting

    In general, electronics last a lot longer if kept cool. The standard engineering rule of thumb is 1/2 the life for every 10C (18F) increase in temperature of the device... If your inverter is 36F warmer in full sun, then its life would be 1/2*1/2=1/4 as long... Also, thermal cycling (hot/cold/hot/cold) is very hard on electronics too (actually this equation applies to almost anything from electronics to jet engines to chemical reactions to vegetables in the fridge).

    Specifically, from what little I understand, Xantrex/Schneider has been having less than long life from their (home) GT inverter product line. I am on my third. The first one was working fine and was recalled after ~6 years (out of warranty). The second (new build) lasted a few months then failed. I now have a "new/old" (pre-recall) version that has been working OK for the past 6 months or so (~7 year old installation).

    Again, personal observations--I am not in any solar business/related areas and not speaking for anyone else here.

    -Bill

    PS: welcome to the forum. :D
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,298 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: grid tie inverter siting

    When you get 2 inverters, reporting "HIGH AC VOLTAGE", I'd look at the power company, jacking up the voltage to keep the AMPS on the line down in heavy usage.

    And some sort of shade for the inverter would not hurt it either.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
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  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,381 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: grid tie inverter siting

    I have 2 PVP5200 on an east facing exterior wall, so far so good for about 3 years. It gets,damn hot here but the PVP have a very large heat sink and I expect that helps. They take full sun for about 3 hours every morning. I have only seen the heat sink hotter than I wanted to touch once.
  • jagecjagec Solar Expert Posts: 157 ✭✭
    Re: grid tie inverter siting
    BB. wrote: »
    In general, electronics last a lot longer if kept cool. The standard engineering rule of thumb is 1/2 the life for every 10C (18F) increase in temperature of the device... If your inverter is 36F warmer in full sun, then its life would be 1/2*1/2=1/4 as long... Also, thermal cycling (hot/cold/hot/cold) is very hard on electronics too (actually this equation applies to almost anything from electronics to jet engines to chemical reactions to vegetables in the fridge).

    My inverter is in the basement, for exactly that reason.

    If it's designed to handle high temps and bad weather, but experiences neither, then it should last for a very long time.
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