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How to improve the service life of the inverter?

How to improve the service life of the inverter?

September 27,2021.
Photovoltaic inverters are electronic products, limited by internal electronic components, they must have a certain life span. The life of the inverter is determined by the quality of the product, the installation and use environment, and subsequent operation and maintenance. So how to improve the service life of the inverter through correct installation, use and later operation and maintenance?

1. The internal temperature of the inverter

The temperature inside the inverter is the most important factor affecting the life of the inverter. Excessive temperature will reduce the performance and life of the components. The internal capacitor of the inverter is a key factor affecting the life of the inverter. There is one of the simplest basic principles: the rule of ten degrees, that is, for every 10 degree decrease in the ambient temperature, the life of the capacitor doubles; every 10 degree increase in the ambient temperature, the life of the capacitor is shortened by half.

The inverter itself is a heat source. The power modules, inductors, switches, cables and other circuits inside will generate heat, and all the heat must be dissipated in time, otherwise the internal temperature will rise higher and higher. Therefore, the heat dissipation design of the inverter is a key link in product R&D and design. At present, the inverter industry basically uses natural cooling and air cooling. All of them are air-cooled. In order to ensure the stability of the internal temperature of the inverter, in addition to product design considerations, special attention should be paid to the following items in installation and use:

(1) The inverter must be installed in a ventilated space and maintain good ventilation with the outside world. If it must be installed in a closed space, an air duct and exhaust fan, or an air conditioner must be installed. It is strictly prohibited to install the inverter in a closed box.

(2) The installation position of the inverter should be avoided as far as possible from direct sunlight. If the inverter is installed outdoors, it is best to install it under the eaves on the sun-back side or under the solar modules, and the eaves or components above the inverter will block it. If it can only be installed in an open place, it is recommended to install a sunshade canopy above the inverter.

(3) Whether it is a single installation or multiple installations of the inverter, it must be installed in accordance with the installation space size given by the inverter manufacturer to ensure that the inverter has sufficient ventilation and heat dissipation space and operation space for later operation and maintenance.

(4) The installation location of the inverter should be as far away as possible from high temperature areas such as boilers, oil-fired hot air blowers, heating pipes, and air outlets of external units of air conditioners.

2. Input voltage and current parameters of the inverter

Improper matching of the inverter's input voltage and current parameters will also affect the life of the inverter. The higher the voltage or current the internal components of the inverter bear, the shorter the life of the components. Let’s take the MAX 100-125KTL3-X series inverter as an example. The input working voltage range of this series inverter is 200-1000V. If the voltage is too low, the current will be too high and close to the critical state. If the input voltage is too high, the current will decrease, but the voltage will be close to the critical state. In this case, not only the power generation efficiency of the inverter will be affected, but also the reverse Therefore, we generally recommend that the string input working voltage be configured to the rated voltage of about 600V. Considering the electrical parameter characteristics of the component under NOCT conditions, the string input working voltage is configured to about 650V, which can take into account the high efficiency of the inverter. And service life.

If the string input working voltage is configured at about 800V, not only the power generation efficiency will be reduced, but the power devices and current bus capacitors will be subjected to high voltage, and the life of the insulating layer will be reduced, which will affect the life of the inverter. If the string input working voltage is configured to 500V, then the current will increase by 20% compared to the rated voltage. The heat of the inverter is mainly from the current. If this is done, the heat will increase by 20%, and the temperature of the inverter will rise. Cause the service life to decrease.

3. The external environment of inverter operation

The external environment in which the inverter operates is also an important factor affecting the life of the inverter. At present, the protection level of string inverters on the market can reach IP65 or even IP66. It is dustproof, rainproof, and has salt spray corrosion resistance. It can adapt to harsh external environments, but in places with serious pollution or dust In more places, because dirt falls on the radiator, it will affect the function of the radiator. Dust, leaves, sand and other fine objects may also enter the air duct of the inverter, which will also affect the heat dissipation and affect the service life. In this case, it is particularly important to clean up the dirt on the inverter or the cooling fan on a regular basis, so that the inverter has good heat dissipation conditions.

One end of the inverter is connected to the photovoltaic array and the other end is connected to the power grid. The power quality of the power grid will also affect the life of the inverter, especially in rural power grids where the voltage is unstable, fluctuating high and low, and the grid harmonics are high, which is easy to trigger the inverter. When the voltage exceeds the range, the inverter will stop running, and resume operation when the voltage is normal, but if it restarts frequently, the service life of the inverter will be reduced.

Conclusion

After the inverters are shipped in batches, they undergo quality inspections one after another, and their design life is almost the same. Therefore, system design, installation, and later operation and maintenance are key factors. In order to improve the actual service life of the inverter, on the one hand, it is necessary to create a good operating environment for the inverter to protect it from wind, sun, and rain; on the other hand, it is necessary to conduct regular inspections to keep the inverter The cooling air duct is unobstructed to avoid over-temperature derating and other failures.

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