Hello, my name is Colin and I’m with Go Solar. This is going to be an inverter walkthrough. We’re just going to go over some of the basic components of your inverter as well as a few extra outside pieces that correlate to your system and its functionality. So, we’ll start with the inverter, then we’ll go to your secure power supply and then we’ll go into the rapid shut down switch.
So if we look on the upper-left side of the inverter, you’ll notice your solar DC disconnect. So this is essentially a breaker between your Inverter and the solar array or arrays that you have. You’ll notice when it’s on, you’ll have a 1 right here, just short for binary, and this circular dial will be a vertical position. If we turn that off, it’s counterclockwise. You’ll notice that’s a 0. Of course that will be parallel or horizontal. Same when we turn that back on will come out that would be vertical. You’ll notice the 1. So that is how you operate your solar DC disconnect.
So we’ll talk about your lights on your inverter face plate. You will notice you have three capsule shaped lights, I will start from left to work or way to the right. This first one will flash green or pulse screen. More importantly, you’ll notice that fade in and fade out. That means you are producing solar electricity and able to back feed that to the grid. You will see that every day. But it is important to keep in mind that that will go off at night.
Obviously, when no sun is hitting your panels, you will not produce anything. So at nighttime you see that off do not worry. The next light is an event light, so that light will typically come on if there’s some kind of an issue with your system. However the only exception to that is if your power is out that light will come on just basically stating that it has or senses a disk disconnection from the grid. So if you see that your power is out. Do not worry about that.
Web Connectivity Light
So long as that light goes off once your power is restored. And that may take a couple of minutes once your power comes back so that other than that light, should always be off the blue line over here. This is a web connectivity light. It will almost always be solid, but periodically, it will flash the flashing means the CPSU is updating so do not worry about that. And this light will be on 24 hours a day or so long as your internet is on. And this is connected to it.
So, as you’re looking here and we’re off to the right of your lights, you’ll notice a little display here. This will be dark, but when you knock on it, it will wake it up and you’ll begin to see different displays at this point. The first is your power display. So short for power and this is your power or your production In watts at any given time. So this is a y value and it will frequently alter depending on the sunlight intensity on your panels.
Beneath that is the energy and AC output from this inverter. Since it’s been turned on and that will just continue to add over time in kilowatt hours as we go through some of the screens we will bypass a few as they are not relevant to production or usually for any other consumer reasons. But we will stick to what is relevant to production as well as monitoring. So we’ll go through here as you know. Additionally once waking it up, that will cause it to cycle through the screen. This is a software package and you all code one of the screens that you probably won’t reference, but it’s more for us.
That’s your serial number specific to the inverter, if you wish to reference that you can find that on display. As we begin to go through, we’ll go through some of these that you don’t need to know necessarily, the firmware packages Eskom. This is one you can reference if you do hard wire an Ethernet cord to your inverter for monitoring. You will see one of these with a corresponding connection name.
So you’ll notice the screen starts to auto cycle. that is one of the features of this from here. SS ID that is your Wi-Fi signal we connect your inverter via Wi-Fi to monitoring another screen that you probably won’t reference here but we’ll go through. These you will. So these being string inverters we are able to see each string input. So DC a and b those are just individual inputs and the inverter. So you can see live voltages and amps that correspond to the input DCC typically will be blank as we have to install a rapid shutdown box that only has two outputs.
Even if you have more than one string you should almost never have more than two inputs in your inverter. So DCC will always be 0. The AC 12 that’s your grid connection so roughly 240 volts of the grid and then the amps that are the rate that you’re back feeling from there it will go back to the home screen which will display your live power at any given point.
Rapid Shutdown Disconnect
This part will talk about your rapid shut down disconnect. So all this is a switch that disconnects your solar array or arrays at the source. So this is not a switch that you will any case actually operate. That’s just something that’s there for firemen. One of the things you’ll notice is that there comes a key with your rapid shutdown. All this is used for is to reconnect it in the event of an accident.
So for example, if you have kids, they may hit the switch or even see the landscaper pile up bags that then hit one of these switches, and they do mechanically walk in and that is what the key is required for that unlock that and reconnect your system. But in the end, you get another tier, you operate this, and you may store this key anywhere you please that’s totally up to you. So from here we’ll talk about why you have one.
So first off it’s law. Obviously that’s important but the reason behind that is is that solar panels when they are hit by Sun are when they’re hit by a light they do produce a power or an electric current so there’s no real way to turn that off. So what we do is we install a rapid shut down box beneath each of your rays. And what that does is it disconnects when we hit the switch. So in the event of an emergency let’s say it’s daytime. You had a fire and the firemen needed to break through the roof to get to you.
Every inch of that wire between the panels and the inverter, every switch is off it’s still live. So what this does is it disconnects it at the source and all those conductors between the array and the inverter, which obviously allows for the firemen to safely break through those if need be to get to you guys for rescue.
Secure Power Supply
So let’s say that your power goes out. You also may have noticed that you have one of these boxes installed near your inverter. What this is, it’s called a secure power supply. So if the grid goes out, and it’s daytime, your solar is able to produce and you are able to utilize this outlet as it will provide solar electricity directly from the array.
So what will happen is, let’s say your power is out. You’ll notice at this point our power dropped down to zero. So you say, ‘Okay, I want to access this outlet. First step to doing that is we’ll open it. You will have a switch under here that will turn on after we turn that off and we will have to wait about a minute. So that process is it’s basically switching doing relay switches to then provide power to this outlet.
You also notice on the display this will change. You’ll see an SPSS mode active and your power value will now be blank. So the power values on here no longer represent production, but they represent consumption. So whatever you’re pulling from that outlet will show the low value watts of what you’re actually pulling. So at this point, we will come down and take a look at the actual outlet.
You’ll notice that there is a little black box here. That’s an LCD. Once that flashes red, you will press the reset button and that will make us live. So at that point this is now that green and you’re able to actually pull about 1400 watts from this outlet during your power outage. So that is how you operate this. You can plug obviously two outlets here. But if you do exceed 50 to 100 watts, it may trip if you’re pulling more than it does provide.
What to Do with Your Solar Inverter in a Power Outage
So do keep that in mind as you’ll see here the power isn’t zero, because we’re not pulling anything from the outlet. Another thing to know once power is restored, you do then want to turn that switch back to the off position, and that will allow that power to be diverted back to the grid. And so we are once again in this display. We’re just mocking a power outage. So let’s go and mark the restoration of your power woman reconnect this to the grid.
So, at this point this is where you would wish to turn the switch back to the off position. And so that will allow this to then divert back to the grid and feeding power. It does take a few minutes to then divert back to that stance. So do allow that time. However if it exceeds say 10 minutes do give us a call. We will walk you through a troubleshooting way to see what’s going on with your system and says You see now we’re waiting for the actual inverter to then begin diverting back to the grid.
Do keep in mind once again this can take time just sit here or watch it make sure it is restored once again if you do have an issue please call us. Things to look for this green light right now flashing. We haven’t reconnected to the grid internally in the inverter, but you will want to see this and begin pulsing like we saw earlier as well as when you go through your display. Just check out some of your numbers.
So when you look at your grid, when you look at your strings here, you’ll notice our voltages are present so we are producing but we’re not flying. And then same thing with our power. We are at zero watts right now, but continue to watch and you will ultimately see this restored.
Startup Procedure for Your Solar Inverter
So I do want to illustrate startup procedure but do keep in mind this procedure will vary depending on your system and you’re set up as are points of interconnection may vary dramatically depending on the system. So we’ll show you what we have here.
And it is kind of the basic concept of start up. So you do have a DC switch, which we went over up here and we also have an AC disconnect here and that’s where it connects back to the grid. So wherever your AC disconnects are you do want to make sure that those are turned on and it is totally arbitrary as to which one you turn on first you will not damage the system depending on the order in which you start. So for this case was the scene.
And then we’ll turn on our DC disconnect allowing power to the inverter. You’ll notice your lights do all come on, all three lines accompanied by solar technology on display. So during startup it may take a few minutes to sync up with the grid. Obviously allow the power to come back so you give that time when your initial start up. You also notice a few sounds coming from your relay switches going on as your inverter powers up. You can hear those clicking now, and you will hear a few of those doings during startup procedure.
But after this is through, these lights will go off and your green light should begin pulsing is that is your production line. If you do have solar, your solar monitoring set up this light also will come on. It’s a solid blue light, but your red light will go off for any other reason that light does not go off during proper start procedure. Please call us and we’ll walk you through it. We’ll do what we can to get things taken care of. So as we look here you’ll notice the screen will remain. That will give that time things will come up and you’ll start to be seeing your power values seeing your lights.
Reconnecting of the Inverter Power Supply
So, at this point, our system is on and is running. You’ll notice all three lights are off, but we do have our solar production light on, and it is pulsing. And once again to keep in mind that flashing is not what you want to see but this fading is what you want to see you are producing you are back feeding. Our screen is now active. We can knock on it. So let’s go and check the voltages of our amps. See if those are good. We’ll scroll through here. And so we’ll see here each string.
We do have wire vaults and and so we know we are producing powers from those inputs. We’ll check our grid. We know we are back feeding. We do have the voltage from the grid, we’re now connected. So we know we’re producing a power total and this is up and running again. You also notice this blue light will come on. It takes a little bit more time than everything else to do given that a few extra minutes to then reconnect. But once this is solid blue you are reconnected.
So you notice we talked a lot about monitoring in this blue light. Let’s say that you have your monitoring set up and you change your Wi-Fi information. What do you do. So much like a cell phone. Much like a laptop that actual information is stored on your inverter and if you change that Wi-Fi information we do have to reassign it.
So the first step is logging into the inverter, which can most easily be done by a cell phone or a smartphone, as it does admit a wireless signal you’ll see on your scan window for your Wi-Fi on a cell phone. So, we do need a password to get into that which you can find on a label on the bottom right side of your inverter.
Connecting to the Inverter Signal
You’ll notice the WPA to code at the bottom does include WPA 2 and your password. But it is just that series of letters and numbers that follow that. So that is the password to get directly into this inverter signal. So take note of that. And then once you’re in your cell phone, you can enter that password and log into the inverter.
Once you have your WPA password from the inverter, when you log into your cell phone, you will notice when looking for a Wi-Fi signal you’ll find one that says SMK followed by a long number. That is the serial number of your inverter. So go ahead and enter that WPA to passcode here and connect. That will allow you to connect to the inverter’s signal once that connection is made. It will warn you there is no actual Internet connection here. Do not be worried about that. That is not a source of internet.
So now that we’re connected, I’ll move on back out open a browser. And say you’ll notice that you want to put the IP address 1 9 2 dot 1 6 8 dot 1 2 3. Once that is entered, you will get a warning that your connection is not private. Then select and proceed to that particular IP address, as it will warn you it’s unsafe. Do not worry at this point; we will come to the same make log in. This is our second log in again. You will slide to user group installer and your password. If you have a monitoring set up by us, it will be Go Solar. 1 capital G zero capital S zero L-A our number one. Enter that.
Seeing the Inter-workings of the Solar Inverter
And then Press the logon button. At this point, you’re inside the inverter. You can actually see what’s going on. You have your device status to current power. That’s a live value you see on the display, daily yields feeding management and even a graph that will show you what’s going on today. So your normal monitoring that you see on your solar app is obviously a little more refined than this, but this is just the view from inside your inverter.
So at this point, let’s say you want to update your Wi-Fi information as you change your Internet service provider or your password for your Wi-Fi. You’ll go up to the top right tab, which has three or four little horizontal bars. You’ll go down to user settings, and then you go to start the installation of a system. From here, you’ll bring up a window you see. In this case, it’s our Wi-Fi. We are connected. The status is OK, but in your case, if you were re-configuring it, you would go to W-L a.m., which is your wireless.
And you would go down here much like on a cell phone or a laptop and see what your inverter sees in its proximity, or in its range, so you would select whatever signal that you wish to connect to your name whatever it may be, but you’ll press the gear beside that signal when you do W.L. land settings, press on that. This is where you enter in your new password. Once you have done that, press the W-L and button and then scroll back up here.
And you will notice that this should say connection establishment dot dot dot. That just means it is working on your connection from there. But once you see your green check mark and an OK, you know you are reconnected. And then from there you can exit the app by pressing same and next through every screen. Do not worry about altering any of these. Just press through.
Solar Panel Maintenance
Until you get back to your home and from there, you should have your Wi-Fi reconnected and your monitoring should be restored. So another question commonly asked is Do I need to maintain my panels? Typically not. These panels. Once it rains it typically cleans itself. However, if there is some reason that you’re getting a lot of dirt or something else that’s building up on it, you can spray these with water with the hose.
We do recommend, however, that you spray them in the early morning as it has allowed time for these to cool. If you do spray leaves and midday time particularly out here (Inter-mountain West) during the summer, you’re going to cause a big temperature drop as these panels get really hot. And that is not good for the panel, so if you do wish to spray these off, only do it with water. We do not recommend you do it with soap as that can leave a residue on here or if you have a squeegee.
That’s another good method as well if you feel comfortable getting on your roof wiping some particular spot off that may have gotten on there; just keep in mind to use warm water. Do not use soap and obviously, if you do, Spray these off of the hose and do it in the early morning to prevent damage to your panels.