What do solar inverter error codes mean?
The main purpose of an inverter is converting the DC output of solar panels into an AC power supply that is suitable for your appliances. However, modern inverters are smart devices with other functions beyond power conversion. They now come with built-in power monitoring and mobile apps, and you can check how your solar system performs on a daily basis. Solar inverters can also detect when something is wrong, and they will generate a corresponding error code and notification.
Electricity generation from a solar PV system can be disrupted by external or internal factors.
- For example, your solar inverter may disconnect automatically from the local grid when the supply voltage or frequency becomes unstable. In these cases, the inverter will detect when the grid has stabilised, and it will reconnect to resume normal operation.
- Solar systems can also be affected by internal issues that disrupt power generation, which can be related to hardware or software. For example, one of your solar panels may have suffered an electrical fault, or there may be an inverter software error.
Most error codes displayed by solar inverters are related to temporary issues, where your system suffers no permanent damage. However, in cases where you must actually replace components, having a solid warranty from manufacturers and installers is very helpful. Each inverter brand has unique codes – here we will discuss the most common issues, and how they are reported by the inverter brands we work with: Sungrow, Fronius, ABB and Huawei.
Nectr is a Clean Energy Council Approved Solar Retailer, and we offer a workmanship warranty on top of those provided by our partner brands.
Inverter error codes caused by external issues
Many error codes displayed by inverters are triggered by electrical issues that originate outside of your solar power system. The Australian grid operates at 220 volts and 50 hertz, and grid-tied solar inverters synchronise at this voltage and frequency. However, when the grid voltage becomes unstable, inverters will disconnect to avoid damage. There are four main scenarios:
- High frequency
- Low frequency
A high-quality solar inverter can detect all these conditions, and disconnect when necessary. Slight variations in voltage and frequency are normal and tolerated by most devices, except for very sensitive equipment. However, major fluctuations are potentially damaging for most electrical devices – including solar inverters.
Depending on the inverter brand and model, different error codes may be generated for similar issues, depending on their duration and severity:
- For example, a transient overvoltage from the grid may produce a different code than an extended overvoltage.
- An inverter may also generate different codes depending on the magnitude of an electrical disturbance – for example, a 10% undervoltage may trigger a different code than a 5% undervoltage.
Not all codes generated by solar inverters indicate errors that disrupt power generation. Some codes are simply notifying the operating conditions. For example, an inverter may indicate when there is not enough sunshine to start generating power – this normally happens just after sunrise or before sunset.
Inverter error codes caused by internal issues
A solar inverter can also generate error codes in response to internal issues – generated by hardware or software. These can include electrical faults related to the solar array, wrong connections and poor connectivity. The following are some examples of internal conditions that can trigger an error code from your inverter:
- Overcurrent, which can affect the DC input or AC output. Generally, there will be a different error code in each case.
- Excessive operating temperature, where the inverter shuts down to protect its internal electronic components.
- Electrical faults such as short circuits, ground faults, arc faults, etc.
- Fan malfunctions, in inverter models that have them.
- Reverse polarity in DC connections.
- Damaged electrical insulation, which increases the risk of major faults.
- Software issues: outdated version, failed updates, etc.
- Lack of electrical grounding and/or a neutral conductor.
- Accidental connections between DC and AC components.
- Monitoring issues: The solar PV system may be working normally, but the inverter isn’t measuring its operating parameters correctly.
- Memory errors: Being unable to access or edit data.
If you have a solar inverter with power optimisers (Huawei FusionSolar) or microinverters (Enphase), each solar panel can be monitored individually. In these cases, you may get error codes that tell you exactly which panel (or panels) is being affected.
Common error codes from inverter brands used by Nectr
We have provided a general description of the error codes that may affect solar inverters. Here you can check common error codes for the inverter brands we use at Nectr:
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