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Inverter failed outside of warranty. Replacement suggestions/options?

  • 27-02-2023 11:41am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 607 ✭✭✭


    Our solar array was installed back in 2016, the standard domestic setup for homes in NI of 14 panels with 3.92kWp peak power. It's a "dumb" system with no monitoring app etc. Last week I discovered an error code on the readout of the inverter, and long story short the inverter has failed about 5 months after its warranty had expired. I've been given an estimate of £800stg to replace it (not sure if that's a like-for-like replacement - the make is Zeversolar) and until I get that done, the array is essentially just a large paperweight - it's not providing any electricity at all.

    Tbh that's a really big bill right now given other commitments we have over the next few months, but just ignoring it for a while isn't really an option - as I work from home, I use pretty much all the electricity the array produces rather than taking it from the grid. That means the longer I leave it, the more it'll cost in terms of buying all our power from the grid and losing out on an increasing amount of power that should come from the array as the days grow longer. Our electricity consumption in summertime is higher than in winter due to the nature of my WFH business.

    So I'd really appreciate suggestions & advice on the best option for me here. I haven't a clue about individual brands and right now I'm even short of time to research them as work enters a particularly busy phase, so I need this like a hole in the head. I had been/am hoping to add to my existing array in a couple of years so that we'd generate a bit more of our own power during the winter and meet more of the summertime demand, so in an ideal world I'd be replacing the inverter with one capable of handling say 30% more power in preparation for that, but my priority right now has to be restoring the output we've just lost. Is it a waste of time trying to source a second-hand unit to save money? Is £800 for a Zeversolar inverter expensive in comparison with other options which might feature better monitoring? Are there any alternatives people would recommend that aren't (anywhere near!) as pricey?

    Cheers.



Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,341 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger


    I'd probably go away from Zeversolar. I can't say if they are good/bad as I simply haven't heard of them. I had to look them up. Chinese company apparently. Subsidary of that humonguos company SMA. Dunno if they are good value. That £800 (stg) you have been quoted includes installation?

    For context, here's the trade prices (ex vat and in Euros) of inverters in the republic

    Inverter Solis Range (solartricity.ie)

    You'd probably want the 6Kw model for ~€650. I'd imagine it's a 3 hr stint to remove your old inverter and install a new one. All the wiring should be in place there (isolators, trunking, etc) so it's a relatively easy swap out.

    I would think HARD though about where you want to go. Might be cheaper to do the inverter swap out and expand the system at the same time.



  • Registered Users Posts: 607 ✭✭✭mr chips


    Cheers. The £800 estimate is to supply and swap - however my array is ground-mounted, with the inverter mounted on the back of the frame, so access is very easy. Plus I have to get a spark in for a couple of other jobs anyway, so it would be just be part of a wider day's work.

    In an ideal world, I'd have another 4-6 panels plus a battery to cover more of the ~3 units that are consumed every day by one piece of kit that runs 24/7/365, but that wasn't something I'd been planning for this year. It's unlikely that will be affordable right now so I have to cut my coat according to my cloth.



  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 18,473 Mod ✭✭✭✭slave1


    If you're looking for a straight swap as you don't have time to look at increasing your array I'd go second hand and straight swap, it's half hour max



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,369 ✭✭✭DC999


    Good call by slave1 on going 2nd hand. When you source one you could get another solar knowledgeable sparks to install it. So don't need to pay the original installer. PM me if you are thinking of that - I know a Dublin sparks that does that afaik. Where are you living?

    Ideally get a larger inverter so you've capacity to add more panels in time. As in the engine is larger when you do have cash to expand it.



  • Registered Users Posts: 607 ✭✭✭mr chips


    Thanks again folks. I'm in Co. Antrim, so probably a bit out of the way for the Dublin spark😉, but thanks for the offer. I have to get some other electrical work done here anyway, so if this can be done at the same time then I shouldn't be too much more out of pocket.

    Thoughts on this one? Refurbished unit with 6 months' warranty, plus they might take my old one as a part-ex. Looks like I can have it by Monday if I order today.


    EDIT - went for that one in the end. Seller will give me £25 towards my old one to see can it be refurbished, which is better than it ending up in landfill.

    Post edited by mr chips on


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