Everything You Need to Know About Solar Inverter Clipping
Solar Panel is one of your most efficient investments. They are durable and energy-saving and offer the best alternative to coal power. Solar Energy being the most reliable and environmentally friendly source of energy, gives you the maximum output for your investment. To harness maximum solar energy, solar panels are installed on the rooftop, in an open area where it can receive maximum sunlight.
However, sometimes the inverter operates to an extent that exceeds the panel’s capacity. This leads to inverter clipping. Let’s learn and understand more about solar inverter clipping.
What is Solar Inverter Clipping?
When the maximum input rating of an inverter is exceeded by DC power from a PV array, inverter clipping, also known as “inverter saturation,” occurs. By raising voltage and decreasing DC current, the inverter can change the DC voltage to lower input power. The AC power of the inverter can also be limited or suppressed. Inverter clipping is frequently observed in PV systems with high DC/AC ratios, such as those greater than 1.4:1.
How Frequently does Clipping Occur?
Energy loss as a result of clipping is negligible in a system that is properly built because it only happens for a short period of time.
For an instance, 8.8% of sunny days experience it. The likelihood of clipping is influenced by your location (latitude) and the size of your solar panel array in relation to the inverter’s AC output.
However, clipping is not normal. Certain systems might clip, while others might not. Simply put, it’s the discrepancy between the amount of solar energy you can process and the amount you have available.
Why Does it Matter?
All solar industry contractors, more specifically system designers, will eventually assess the effect of inverter clipping on the generating capacity and performance of their system. The Levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of the system can be optimized for Long-term owners, and the internal rates of return (IRR) of PV systems can be increased for investors or developers. To make one thing clear, clipping does not damage or harm your solar system’s components, but it does limit production slightly.
Following are the reasons why your panel needs solar clipping:
A solar installation situated farther from the equator in a region with less sun exposure need solar clipping.
Gains in the Morning/Afternoon and on Cloudy Days
increased power output over the system’s lifetime.
Does Solar Clipping Damage The System?
No, clipping doesn’t harm the inverter or solar panel. In most cases, the electricity gains at the start and end of the day outweigh the clipping losses.
If you have a battery backup, clipping won’t harm your battery storage.
More about Solar Clipping
When operating at or close to maximum capacity, inverters are most effective. The system would become less effective if the inverter size was increased, for as by installing a SE-10,000 inverter with a 7,500-watt system. The amount of production lost in that case would be greater than the minimal amount occasionally lost due to clipping. Or, to put it another way, you can choose between very high efficiency year-round with occasional clipping and reduced efficiency 24/7. In the second case, you receive a much better and more efficient solar production.
In reality, there are occasions when it is worthwhile to increase the system’s size a little bit since, despite the little increase in clipping, the total increase in productivity is acceptable. The bottom line is to size the system for your needs by consulting with your technician.
All Inverters cannot handle Clipping
Field experience indicates that internal AC components will deteriorate more quickly if the inverter clips output power on the AC side. Installers must look for a maximum DC/AC ratio in the manufacturer’s datasheet because overloading the DC side of these inverters may violate the warranty.
As an alternative, there are modern inverters that lower the DC input power and, consequently, the AC output power without placing undue strain on internal parts. The array input voltage must be kept below the inverter’s maximum limit because modern string and central inverters will self-limit to protect internal components.
Solar inverter clipping does not damage any component of your solar panel system. Sometimes, even a tad more clipping increases the production gain of the whole solar energy production. What matters is to choose the correct size to bring efficiency to production. Work with your installer to size the system for your needs and if your system shows clipping, don’t be concerned as long as your panels meet your production requirement.