Inverter has died ' Options '

we have a 9 year old 16 panel 4kwh system paying 21p FIT , one large inverter in the attic.  facing SSE but shaded, it has stopped working, we have an extended warranty of sorts ( bad workmanship ) , but the insurers still arranged for an inspection. it has died.  the options.  1. replace like for like,   2. micro inverters on each panel ,  or can we cover a bank of panels ( say in 4's ) on small inverters.  is the info about inverters working at the lowest performing panel still correct or have they got smarter in the generation.  cost is a factor and anything over the get it working price really need to pay for the extra expense.   :) thanks in advance
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Comments

  • Verdigris
    Verdigris Posts: 1,725 Forumite
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    It is only really worth having micro-inverters if there are shading issues.

    It might be worth considering a hybrid inverter if you are contemplating having storage batteries at some point.
  • Screwdriva
    Screwdriva Posts: 1,163 Forumite
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    edited 14 March 2022 at 8:13PM
    What brand inverter was it? Recommend a Solar Edge HD Wave with Optimizers as the replacement if access is tricky. They are available with a 25 year warranty, which is what we went with. Avoid the Chinese brands if possible.
    -  10 x 400w LG + 6 x 550W SHARP BiFacial Panels + SE 3680 HD Wave Inverter + SE Optimizers. SE London.
    -  Triple aspect. (22% ENE/ 33% SSE/ 45% WSW)
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  • Petriix
    Petriix Posts: 2,044 Forumite
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    Verdigris said:
    It is only really worth having micro-inverters if there are shading issues.

    It might be worth considering a hybrid inverter if you are contemplating having storage batteries at some point.
    Definitely don't go hybrid for a FIT system. It becomes far too complicated for charging the battery from the grid and jeopardises the FIT payments.
  • Solarchaser
    Solarchaser Posts: 1,663 Forumite
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    What kind of inverter was it?
    Might be repairable. 

    I have a couple of single string sma 3300s which are surplus to requirements 
    West central Scotland
    4kw sse since 2014 and 6.6kw wsw / ene split since 2019
    24kwh leaf, 75Kwh Tesla and Lux 3600 with 60Kwh storage
  • What brand inverter was it? Recommend a Solar Edge HD Wave with Optimizers as the replacement if access is tricky. They are available with a 25 year warranty, which is what we went with. Avoid the Chinese brands if possible.
    I have a Solar Edge HD wave too. So far it has done what I want it is meant too. 

    If I was buying again, I would go for Tigo optimisers and a hybrid inverter, as it is less restrictive and cheaper.

    With solaredge you either need to go with an AC couple battery or their own (expensive) DC coupled battery. You can put Tigo optimisers on only the panels that have shading issues and you can use any brand of inverter.

    Like I say, I am happy enough with the Solaredge, I just don't like being tied to one supplier. A bit like Apple Vs Android.
  • bordercars
    bordercars Posts: 1,353 Forumite
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    edited 15 March 2022 at 1:08PM
    Verdigris said:
    It is only really worth having micro-inverters if there are shading issues.

    It might be worth considering a hybrid inverter if you are contemplating having storage batteries at some point.
    from what ive read I thought the MI's were the best solution to shading or have I misread. 

    aurora inverter

    looked online and some suggest dry solder joints which is next step. 

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  • bordercars
    bordercars Posts: 1,353 Forumite
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    • Whilst this makes them a more expensive option, they can be a better choice if shading is a problem on site.

    • This is because a string inverter system can only perform as well as its lowest-performing panel.

    • So if shade impacts one panel’s performance, every other panel operates at the same reduced capacity.

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  • Solarchaser
    Solarchaser Posts: 1,663 Forumite
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    If its e031 its almost always dry solder joints, but be aware it can have caused damage to the tracks as well, and can have taken out the relays.
    All very cheap to fix, amd they arent bad to disassemble, I bought relays for I think £5 each and have fixed 2 of these inverters which I now use in my garage.

    So if you are not confident fixing, gimme a shout.
    West central Scotland
    4kw sse since 2014 and 6.6kw wsw / ene split since 2019
    24kwh leaf, 75Kwh Tesla and Lux 3600 with 60Kwh storage
  • bordercars
    bordercars Posts: 1,353 Forumite
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    If its e031 its almost always dry solder joints, but be aware it can have caused damage to the tracks as well, and can have taken out the relays.
    All very cheap to fix, amd they arent bad to disassemble, I bought relays for I think £5 each and have fixed 2 of these inverters which I now use in my garage.

    So if you are not confident fixing, gimme a shout.
    Yes code E031.  I will have a read on how to disconnect and get the box into the shed. Will probably be back asking many questions on the procedure. 

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  • bordercars
    bordercars Posts: 1,353 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    If its e031 its almost always dry solder joints, but be aware it can have caused damage to the tracks as well, and can have taken out the relays.
    All very cheap to fix, amd they arent bad to disassemble, I bought relays for I think £5 each and have fixed 2 of these inverters which I now use in my garage.

    So if you are not confident fixing, gimme a shout.
    one relay slightly black and the popped solder on rear of pcb. being a typical northern lad I only purchased one and got a friend in the organ industry who works on boards a fair bit to swap out. he said the other joints all looked good. 
    put back together this morning and switched on. started ok and went through sequence but returns an error now of E013, Ive had a read and it seems the strings ( rows of panels ? ) will be set in parallel !  the manual talks of jumpers but the inputs are exactly as removed following the usual videos of numbering 7,8,9 & 0 .. as the unit has been completely disconnected will it mean entering all the settings again ? .  I suppose there could still be a relay fault but need it to go past first stage before panel will indicate.  
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