Energy news uk
Don’t fix it, replace it!
There’s no point in fixing something which isn’t broken. It’s also true that we have a replacement culture in the UK rather than repairing our appliances. However, there is an exemption and that is the inverter in your PV system. This is due to a number of reasons.
It’s become common knowledge since the popularity of solar PV has grown in the UK that an inverter will typically have a lifespan of 5 – 10 years. Usually, the inverter doesn’t show any negative signs but it will just eventually stop operating. When it does, you should see if an error message is displaying on the inverter’s screen and reference it to someone who could possibly highlight what the issue is.
If the issue is something which is connected to the inverter rather than the component itself then a possible repair could be the best option. For example, many solar systems were installed in a poor manner around 2011/12 as companies rushed to beat the Feed-In Tariff drop. It’s possible that an issue could be resolved by simply replacing a wire in the circuit. It’s important that you choose a company who will honestly tell you this is the case before offering an inverter replacement.
If it is the inverter which has broken down then this would be the most convenient time to consider the inverter upgrade. If you choose to replace your inverter with a like-for-like replacement then you can expect to pay between £750 – £1,500 (incl. Installation and VAT). Firstly, this is capital that you cannot recoup and would only hinder your return on investment. Secondly, be it that you are entitled to either 20 or 25 years of Feed-In Tariff earnings then in that timeline you may have to account for up to 3 replacements. You will have a manufacturer’s warranty with your inverter but it’s very likely that it would only be for 5 years.
Our inverter upgrade consists of two components which are the power optimisers and the inverter. Both are manufactured by SolarEdge and work in combination with each other, sharing the tasks of what a traditional inverter normally completes. The SolarEdge HD Wave inverter is only left to convert electricity from DC to AC. The power optimisers will complete other tasks like managing the voltage and tracking the maximum power point. However, the latter will be done for each panel when a traditional inverter would track the maximum power point for the system. This prevents the lowest performing panel in the system dictating the system’s overall performance and allows any potential production to be utilised. This increase in production means for an actual return on investment.
If your original installer is still trading then allowing another company to work on your system would most likely void any possible workmanship warranties you have. As well as this, the component may still be covered by its manufacturer warranty and you can contact the manufacturer directly to have the component replaced. If you choose to involve a third party then it will most likely cost you time and money.
You may choose to wait until your inverter breaks before enquiring with us about the inverter upgrade but this means a lower return on investment. The sooner you have the technology installed, the sooner you achieve an increase in production and an increase in earnings/savings.
Once your system is upgraded, we undertake any remaining warranties and monitor the system’s production. We can highlight any issues and offer possible remote troubleshooting too. As the power optimisers allow the panels to operate as individuals, you can also monitor the performance of each individual panel. This means a quicker route of identifying where the problem is and resolving it; even using this as evidence to claim on the manufacturer’s warranty.
It’s also possible that you may have to take into consideration possible call-out costs and waiting times if you are to rely on repairs!
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