Don't Be Left in the Dark: Solar Inverter Replacement from a Discontinued Brand

Don't Be Left in the Dark: Solar Inverter Replacement from a Discontinued Brand

Solar and other forms of renewable energy are becoming more and more significant in a world beginning to feel the effects of climate change .

Once the Feed-In Tariff was introduced in 2010 and the cost of PV panels fell, the popularity of domestic solar panel installations steadily increased year on year and, as of 2023, there are over 1.7 million domestic properties with Solar PV systems installed.

As solar technology advances and efficiency increases, some of the original solar product manufacturers have fallen by the wayside or simply ceased trading over time. This can leave customers with older products that may need servicing or maintenance, with no existing manufacturer support.

A Landscape of Lost Brands: Familiar Names You Won't Find Anymore

Some notable solar inverter manufacturers no longer trading are:

  • ABB (acquired by FIMER in 2019)

    • ABB-PVS
    • ABB-UNO
    • ABB-TRIO
    • ABB-PRO
  • Aurora Power-One PVI (acquired by ABB – see above!)

  • Samil Power Ltd (dissolved in 2018)

    • SolarLake TL
    • SolarLake-PM
    • SolarRiver TL
    • SolarRiver TL-S
    • SolarRiver TL-D
  • Eversolar (acquired by SMA Solar Technology in 2011)

    • Eversolar TL1500
    • Eversolar TL3200
    • Eversolar Evershine TL3000-10

Error Codes Explained: A Breakdown of Common Inverter Error Messages

One of the most common error codes for the ABB/Aurora PowerOne inverter models is E031.

This error code on your Aurora PowerOne inverter indicates an internal error related to voltage measurement. In simpler terms, the inverter is having trouble reading the incoming voltage correctly. This is caused by a faulty relay inside the inverter.

In this instance, it is generally recommended to have a full inverter replacement, as explained further on.

How Long Can You Expect Your Solar Inverter to Last?

While solar panels typically have a performance output guarantee of around 25 years, inverters tend to last around half this time frame, between 10 and 15 years . This is due to the internal components such as the electrolytic capacitors, which are prone to wear and tear at a much more rapid rate.

Solar inverters generally have a warranty period of between 5 and 20 years, depending on the manufacturer.

The Inner Workings: Key Components of a Solar Inverter

The inverter itself is a critical component in any solar PV system .

It is responsible for converting the direct current (DC) electricity generated by solar panels into usable alternating current (AC) electricity for your home. This conversion process ensures compatibility with the existing electrical grid.

Beyond the core DC-to-AC conversion, the inverter houses a Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT) that constantly optimises the output from the solar panels, ensuring they operate at their peak efficiency under varying weather conditions.

Safety is paramount, so the inverter incorporates fuses and surge protectors to safeguard the system from electrical faults.

Additionally, a monitoring system provides valuable insights into the inverter's performance, allowing for proactive maintenance and system optimisation.

Identifying Potential Problems with Your Inverter

While modern inverters boast extended lifespans, no device is immune to wear and tear. Understanding the potential failure points within a solar inverter can help you identify early warning signs and ensure timely maintenance .

One critical area is the power conversion stage, where elevated temperatures can stress electronic components.

As briefly mentioned, another weak point can be the inverter's capacitors, which can degrade over time and affect overall performance.

Environmental factors like extreme heat, humidity, and dust can also accelerate these issues with your inverter.

Regular maintenance, including dust removal and proper ventilation, can significantly extend the lifespan of your inverter.

Swapping vs. Repairing: Why Replacing Your Inverter Might Be More Affordable

There are two main reasons why homeowners often opt to replace their entire inverter rather than repair individual parts when failures occur.

Firstly, inverter parts typically are not covered under the standard warranty. These warranties usually focus on the entire inverter unit, and once it is expired, replacing a single faulty component can be expensive. Acquiring the specific replacement part might be difficult and may not be much cheaper than a new inverter, especially for older models.

Secondly, troubleshooting and replacing specific parts within an inverter requires qualified technicians and specialised tools. The labour cost associated with such repairs can be significant, especially compared to the price of a new inverter that comes with a fresh warranty.

In many cases, the cost-benefit analysis favours a full inverter replacement. This ensures a reliable system with renewed warranty protection and avoids the potential risks of a repair not being entirely successful.

How Atlantic Renewables Can Help with Your Faulty Inverter and Inverter Replacement?

Having been established in the industry for over 14 years, Atlantic Renewables is well-accomplished with both new and older solar manufacturers, including inverter and battery products that may no longer be on the market. We can provide guidance and expertise for your current inverter, and what your next steps are for getting your solar system back up and running.

Atlantic Renewables

Atlantic Renewables are a solar PV design and installation company, providing affordable solutions in Manchester, Cheshire and throughout the North West.