Finding a suitable location for your solar inverter is critically important. Sometimes it can be difficult depending on site conditions or the orientation of your house.
Solar inverters are critical to the efficiency and effectiveness of your entire solar system, so care needs to be taken when selecting a location for your inverter.
Read the guide below to learn more and find out what measures can be taken to avoid long term damage to your solar inverter.
In this guide you’ll learn
- Why the location of your inverter is important
- How to identify the best location
- Reasons why the best locations aren’t always an option
- What to do if you need an alternative solution
Why the location of your solar inverter matters
Imagine you just spent upwards of $10,000 on your brand new rooftop solar system. Only to find out that it could be generating you less electricity than initially promised. Unfortunately this is a problem faced by countless Aussie households each year.
First lets look at preventing the issue, rather than having to rectify it later. (we’ll get to the solutions you can implement later in the article).
A solar inverter is an expensive piece of electronic equipment. They “invert” voltage from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). Simply put, your solar panels produce DC voltage, and your household appliances require AC voltage.
The location of your solar inverter is critical. They heat up when operating so certain steps need to be taken to ensure they operate properly. There are two main factors you need to consider when choosing a suitable position:
- Ensuring adequate airflow
- Avoiding direct sunlight
You must ensure your inverter has good access to natural ventilation for cooling purposes. As a result of the high operating temperatures, solar inverters have an in-built fan to draw the air in to help cool the unit.
Inverters must also avoid contact with direct sunlight. Direct sunlight hitting your inverter will cause the inverter itself to heat up (more than normal). The hotter your inverter is, the less efficient it will be. This means the electricity generated by your solar panels will be less than what they’re capable of producing.
Another consequence of direct sunlight is a reduced lifespan of your inverter. It could lead to the early failure of the inverter and risk voiding your manufacturers warranty.
The best location for your solar inverter
We’ve already established that we need good natural airflow and to avoid direct sunlight. There are several locations that your solar installer will look for first before starting.
The best location for your solar inverter includes:
- a garage or carport
- south facing wall
- on a veranda with large awnings
- any other external wall that is fully shaded
These are the ideal locations for your solar inverter, however due to site conditions they’re not always achievable or a feasible option.
Why you can’t always install your inverter in an ideal location
On existing properties the site conditions govern the install. There are many reasons why a certain location for your solar inverter will or won’t work. Here are a few examples.
You might not have a garage or carport
The aspect of your property might mean the south facing wall is not accessible
The internal cable route to get to a suitable location is not achievable (or it will cost you a lot in extra cable and labour)
If you can’t find a suitable location it could cause you headaches and add unnecessary cost onto the project. However, there is a cost effective and simple solution that solves everything.
What to do if you can’t find a suitable location for your Solar Inverter
If you still can’t find a suitable location for your inverter don’t stress, there is a solution. By using a suitable solar inverter cover you have much more flexibility choosing a location to install your inverter.
To ensure your inverter warranty is maintained, the solar inverter cover you use should be approved for use by the inverter manufacturer.
The cover you use should block direct sunlight, but still allow sufficient airflow to pass through the sides and top of the inverter. On top of this, access to the display panel should be maintained so you can view your inverter settings and make any changes as required easily.
To learn more on this topic read our article “Do I Need To Cover My Solar Inverter? Top 5 Most Asked Questions“