SA Australia’s Guinea Pig For Inverter Low Voltage Ride-through Procedure

Inverter Low Voltage Ride-through

Friends, it’s arrived: the Australian Energy Market Operator has published its standard low voltage ride-through test procedure for inverters. [Read more…]

The Grid Wants To Control Your Solar Inverter — But Only For Good, Not Evil

Solar inverter control

Thanks to a deficit of trust in government, people are rightly worried when they hear that ‘the government wants to be able to switch off their solar systems’.

On the 30th of April the AEMO or — as it’s known by the long-winded — Australian Energy Market Operator, published a significant report called Renewable Integration Study 1.  A few people read the summary and then wrote articles on how the grid wants to take control of people’s solar inverters; switching them on and off as they desire. [Read more…]

Choosing A High Efficiency Inverter Can Save Hundreds Of Dollars Over Its Lifespan

Choosing a high efficiency solar inverter

How much can you save over 10 years by choosing a higher efficiency solar inverter?

A solar inverter’s efficiency determines how much solar electricity will be lost on the short journey from your solar panels to your switchboard.

The efficiency of popular Australian residential solar inverters varies from 96.5% to 98%.  Higher efficiency lets a home squeeze more kilowatt-hours of generation out of its solar power system.  [Read more…]

MIL-Solar Produces Australian-Made Eclipse Solar Inverter

MIL-Solar Eclipse 5 kW inverter review

The MIL-Solar Eclipse 5 kW inverter. Made in Australia and tough as a Toowoombian.

Are you in the market for a grid-tied 5 kilowatt solar inverter?  In that case there’s plenty of choice.  I can think of nine brands I can recommend off the top of my head, but every single one of them is manufactured overseas. [Read more…]

SMA Says Their Inverter’s ShadeFix Software Reduces Effects Of Shade

SMA ShadeFix review

SMA’s ShadeFix doesn’t fix shade but reduces some of its secondary effects.

A couple of weeks go a reader asked me to write about ShadeFix.  ShadeFix is the software German manufacturer SMA include in their solar inverters.  This request made me feel a bit stupid because I had no idea what ShadeFix was. [Read more…]

Sungrow Crabby With Researcher Over Inverter Security Vulnerability Disclosure

A Brisbane researcher has alleged serious security vulnerabilities in a Sungrow inverter. Sungrow are not happy with him.

Update: patch available – see end of story

A few months after I wrote about security in the home renewables space, a Brisbane engineer bought a Sungrow SH5k-20 inverter, decided to “poke around”, and claims to have turned up a crop of serious security vulnerabilities. [Read more…]

When SMA Inverters Won’t Talk To Tigo TS4 Optimisers: Tales From The Front Line

SMA inverter and Tigo optimisers

How do you get an SMA inverter to talk to Tigo Optimisers? Sometimes with great difficulty it seems.

Update: see SMA response at end of story. It’s time to chase up another customer experience, courtesy of Sharon, who contacted us because her SMA-Tigo installation turned into a saga. [Read more…]

A Tale Of Exploding Isolators: Alliance Solar, Can You Hear Us?

risk of explosion sign

De-energising a solar system can be dangerous if done incorrectly.

Alliance Solar doesn’t seem to have a media manager, and that’s a problem, because we reckon a bit of crisis communications will be in order. SolarQuotes emailed the company at its only public address, the ubiquitous [email protected] format, because its website doesn’t mention a media contact.

Why? Because a solar power system owner has posted tales of exploding kit in their reviews of Alliance Solar. [Read more…]

Grid Voltage Rise Is Getting Worse And That’s A Problem For Solar Owners

Grid voltage rise and solar power systems

If your inverter sees a grid voltage that is too high for too long, Australian Standards mandate it disconnects from the grid. Before the voltage is so high it disconnects, your inverter may also reduce its power output in response to high grid voltages.

There’s a lot of fear-mongering about how the rise of renewables threatens our power grids, but a real problem getting real attention from the industry is how voltage rises on our mostly old and inflexible infrastructure stops customers from getting the most out of their solar PV installations. [Read more…]

New Bluetooth Vulnerability Should Be A Wake-Up Call To Solar Manufacturers

Bluetooth vulnerability and solar components

If you’ve been reading the tech press this week, you’ve probably noticed there’s a lot of noise about a security vulnerability in Bluetooth, known as “KNOB”, and I thought it gives us the chance to discuss Bluetooth security in the solar business. [Read more…]