How to read your solar inverter

Published: 8 May 2020

There are many things to understand about your new equipment and mini-power station on the roof for homeowners who have taken the leap and switched to solar power. At Instyle Solar, one of the most common calls we receive concerns how to read your solar inverter display.

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There are many things to understand about your new equipment and mini-power station on the roof for homeowners who have taken the leap and switched to solar power. At Instyle Solar, one of the most common calls we receive concerns how to read your solar inverter display.

It’s usually a case of walking through some standard functions and processes. Although all solar panel inverters can have different controls, the ideas behind how to do some basic troubleshooting are the same. 

How they convert DC to AC power is essentially the same. We have written a post about solar inverters’ basics, which can apply to many solar inverter brands.

So, how do you read a solar inverter display?

This post outlines the most common queries about solar inverters and solar panels:

  1. How to read my solar inverter
  2. What does my inverter error code mean
  3. How do I restart my inverter
  4. How do I know if my inverter is working
  5. How to check if my solar panels are working
  6. Should my inverter turn off at night
  7. What to do if my inverter is not working

We’ll be walking you through the processes on a Fronius single-phase inverter [Primo].

How do I read my solar inverter?

Knowing how to read your solar inverter and energy consumption is essential. Here are the steps:

  1. Tap any of the four buttons just below the display. This will activate the display backlighting, and data will be shown.
  2. Press the button labelled MENU to have access to the main menu.
  3.  Press the button on the right (second starting from the left) many times to choose [Total] from the options shown on top of the inverter display.
  4. Press the enter button (on the far right). The value that will be shown represents the total energy generated or power output since you installed your system.

Fronius Primo inverter

What does my inverter error code mean?

If your solar inverter displays error codes, some possible problems could affect the power output. There are different error codes, with each indicating a specific issue. The table below shows some of the error codes and what they mean.

Error CodeFault/Problem
01 to 0012Datalogger ID is not available
107No AC grid detected
306Power low
307DC voltage is too low
509No feed-in for 24 hours
522DC1 input voltage is too low
523DC2 input voltage is too low
65000There’s an interruption in DC connection between inverter & battery
994Energy comparison not possible
995Battery warning
996Communications error between the Datalogger & solar.web
997Deviation in energy comparison
999No contact to the inverter for last 24 hours

                                                 Inverter error codes

How do I restart my inverter?

You can restart your solar inverter using the following steps:

  1. Switch off the Alternating Current isolator, which is the main switch on the switchboard for the solar power supply
  2. Switch off the Direct Current isolator for your system. The switch is available under the solar inverter
  3. Wait until your system has been powered down entirely. This usually takes about 10-15 seconds 
  4. Switch on the Direct Current isolator, which is then followed by the Alternating Current isolator
  5. Wait for a few minutes for the solar system to reboot.

How do I know if my inverter is working?

You can know if your solar inverter is working by checking the colour of the lights displayed. If it displays a green light, it means it’s in good working condition. It should also be able to show data.

A red or orange-coloured light during the day would mean the solar system is faulty. 

How to check if my solar panels are working

Whether you have solar panels on your roof or are thinking about going solar, it’s essential to monitor your solar system. This will let you know if the solar power system is running correctly.

Solar panels are durable, but here are ways to ensure they’re functioning well so that you can keep benefiting from the sun:

  • Keep monitoring the weather to know if the panels are absorbing the sunlight
  • Inspect or read your solar inverter to see the colour and data shown on the display
  • Read your solar smart meter to know the total kilowatt-hours or the maximum output displayed by all the panels
  • Assess your electricity bill to understand how much energy you’re consuming. If your bill is still too high, it means you’re using more DC electric power. When this happens, there’s a high chance that your panels aren’t working correctly
  • Reach out to your solar installer if you notice your solar power panels aren’t functioning to their capacity

Should my inverter turn off at night?

Solar inverters turn off once the night falls. This is because for them to work, there has to be sunlight. This is when you might be forced to use electricity because of less or insufficient solar power.

What to do if my inverter isn’t working?

If your solar inverter isn’t working, it can be a challenge to know whether it’s something you can troubleshoot on your own or you need to call your solar installer or repair service to check and resolve it.

Just like electrical appliances, solar inverters can be delicate devices that are sometimes bound to get faulty. It’s usually advisable to ensure you choose a suitable solar inverter to avoid problems in the future.

However, the fault may not be with the inverter itself but with another part of the solar power system, such as the panels.

If the inverter screen is blank or isn’t displaying any light, the first thing you can do is to reboot or restart it.

Sometimes rebooting your solar power system may not resolve the problems with your solar inverter. That’s why it’s good to understand other potential issues you can experience with your inverter and what to do about them.

Here are some reasons your solar inverter may not be working and what you can do about them:

1. Improper installation

An incorrect installation of your solar inverter will make it not function properly. This includes poor connection of the hardware components and incorrectly programming the inverters. 

That’s why the expertise of an installer matters during the installation process. To ensure proper installation is carried out initially, it’s essential to follow the instructions provided in the documentation from the inverter manufacturer. 

You’ll save money by ensuring the initial solar installation is done correctly.

If you suspect the problem on your solar inverter is due to poor installation, you’ll need to get back to your installer and discuss it. They need to come over and redo it the right way. This means you may have to revert to using electricity as you wait for the problem to be resolved.

2. It cannot restart after a grid fault

In case of a grid fault, a solar inverter should be able to restart. For instance, voltage peaks usually occur when there’s sudden deactivation. This results in the triggering of cut-outs within the system. 

If the solar inverter doesn’t restart by itself, you’ll have to contact or call a service team for assessment and help restart the solar system. 

3. Alarm blaring is continuous

If your solar inverter alarm is blaring continuously, it could be because of several reasons. 

For instance, if it’s beeping after every five seconds, it could be because of low voltage. To resolve it, check the cabling. Ensure you have the correct cable size. If it’s not the required size, you’ll need to check the requirements on the manual before replacing it.

If it blares continuously for 60 seconds, then stops before repeating it after a few hours, it signifies battery failure. The inverter keeps testing the battery regularly. This means the battery failed the test but can be resolved by replacing the battery.

4. LCD displays incorrect codes or error messages

If there are incorrect codes or error messages on your solar inverter LCD display, you can reboot your solar system. You might want to check out your user manual to know what each error means. 

If rebooting doesn’t sort out the issue, you need to call your installer and give a detailed description of the problem you’re experiencing with your solar inverter.

Check Out Our Guides to Solar Inverters

We have a series of unique guides to solar, solar finance, batteries and more, if you are looking to do more in-depth research into solar inverters check the below:

1. What Are Solar Inverters? How Do They Work?
The solar inverter is a very important part of your solar power system: photovoltaic panels generate direct current (DC) when they receive sunlight, but your home appliances run with alternating current (AC) like that from the grid. In simple terms, the solar inverter is the device in charge of converting DC power to AC. 

2. How To Choose A Solar Inverter
There has never been a better time to switch to solar in Australia. Some households can even switch for $0. As the focus grows on solar energy, so does the list of available equipment. The solar inverter is like the heart of a solar system, and there are a number of considerations that go into choosing a suitable solar inverter.

3. Single-Phase vs Three-Phase Inverters: What Are They And Which One Do You Need?
Here is a common rule of thumb to help differentiate between single-phase vs three-phase inverters. Residential homes will usually use a single-phase power supply or inverter, while commercial or industrial facilities will use three-phase supplies.

4. What Do Solar Inverter Error Codes Mean
Solar inverter error codes notify you of a situation threatening the normal operation of your solar power system. Many different things can go wrong and disrupt electricity generation from a solar PV system. The inverter will detect it and generate corresponding error codes to notify you.

Next Steps

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Join over 20,000 homeowners who have made the switch with Instyle Solar, or the 1000+ positive reviewers who have been more than happy with their solar install.Otherwise, you can always contact us on 1300 133 556, or email if you prefer at [email protected].

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