Do you need to worry if gets too hot or cold and your solar inverter will be affected? In most cases, the answer is no. If you look at the datasheet of your inverter, you will find that each inverter has an operating temperature range. To make it simple, you should stay within that range for optimal efficiency.
Let’s take the SolarEdge SE6000H-US HD-Wave Inverter as one example. It has an operating temperature range of -25°C to +60°C (-13°F to +140°F).
Heat and the SE6000-US HD-Wave Inverter:
In most cases, you would not need to worry about it getting so hot that your inverter stops working. To start, the hottest temperature ever recorded in the united states was 134°F in the Death Valley, which is below the 140°F range. It also helps that this inverter has a cooling mechanism with natural convention and an internal fan (only the 7.6 model has an additional fan; the other smaller models rely on just natural convention). So, as long as you installed the inverter correctly, overheating should not be an issue.
However, inverters do have an ideal temperature when they are most effective. Even before your inverter reaches the max operating temperature, it would typically gradually reduces its power output, by reducing the output current, through a process called “de-rating”. De-rating protects sensitive components and prolongs their lifetime. When the temperature drops, the inverter increases power output automatically. So what is this ideal temperature for the HD-Wave?
What about it being too cold for your inverter? Every state except for Florida and Hawaii has experiences -25°C (-13°F) temperature. The reality is that if your inverter is out in the cold outdoors, it can be affected and you need to take the necessary steps to ensure it doesn’t.
What You Can Do To Prevent Temperature Affecting Your Inverter:
The first and most important step is to read the installation guide carefully. It will outline the best practices there. But in general here are some guidelines:
Steps Against Overheating:
• Install inverters on a wall in a shaded location
• Preferably, install the inverter inside or if you need to install outside, avoid direct sunlight
• Ensure there’s enough clearance around the inverter for sufficient ventilation, be it other objects or other inverters
Steps Against Cold Weather:
• Store the inverter in a dry place with ambient temperatures
• If you live in an area where the temperature drops below what your inverter can handle, plan ahead and ensure that your inverter is sufficiently heated during those time (such as placing it indoors)
What About Microinverters and How Temperature Affects Them?
Unlike regular inverters, microinverters are installed right under the panels and you might be wondering if there’s anything different as to how temperature affects them. Let’s take the APsystems QS1 microinverter as an example. On the QS1 datasheet, you will find the operating ambient temperature range as -40°C to +65°C (-40°F to +149°F). This is much better than the range of the SolarEdge HD-Wave inverter!
While you most likely don’t need to worry about temperature affecting your microinverters, it’s still important to read the installation and datasheet carefully.
Note: Solar panels are also affected by temperature changes, and more sun doesn’t necessarily mean more power. You can read more about it in our article How Temperature Affects Solar Panel Efficiency