5 crucial facts you should be aware of when choosing PV inverters

How passive cooling actively burns money

Our tests revealed that a passive cooling strategy dramatically reduces power output and PV component’s lifetime.   

The primary cause of semiconductor failures in inverters is temperature cycling, and with roughly every 10°C higher working temperature of a component, the lifetime of that component is halved. In fact, when we ran our competitor’s unit at full power, tests revealed temperatures in critical components, e.g., filter capacitors and inductors, which are 20°C higher than what you would see in a state-of-the-art inverter of the same power class.

Insufficient cooling reduces lifetime by 75%
Applying Arrhenius’ rule of a component’s lifetime dependency on temperature, this means a reduction of the expected lifetime by 75%. Therefore, it is critical to ensure that effective temperature management is achieved in order to maintain the health and profitability of a system. SMA’s OptiCool™ intelligent temperature management technology effectively mitigates the heat stress placed on internal inverter components and has been field-proven over decades of experience in nearly 55 GWs of installations throughout the harshest environments on the planet.
Our competitor has claimed that their “passive cooling” design eliminates the need for fans. This is not a technology advancement, but rather a lumbering step backward in temperature management. Our tests revealed that this fan-less approach forces the inverter to reduce power output in an effort to cool components, and the poorly designed heat sink traps falling dust and debris, further reducing cooling effectiveness and causing hot spots in crucial power components.
Inverter temperature
Passive cooling reduces profitability of PV systems
In a system designed to operate 20–30 years, this inadequacy can have a profound effect on reliability, power production, as well as operations and maintenance costs, hindering a plant owner’s ability to maximize profitability.