What happens when you’re ready for an inverter upgrade?
In June, 2000, the lights went out across large swaths of California. Over the following year the lights would continue to flicker on and off, leaving millions of residents in the midst of unpredictable rolling blackouts. In what would become known as the California Energy Crisis, electricity costs soared and simultaneously seared the piggy banks of the state’s largest utilities and their customers.
As a financial manager for the Energy Supply and Management Department at Southern California Edison, Harry fully understood the volatility in energy prices and the pain it could inflict on a family. After seeing first-hand the damaging effects of the energy crisis, he decided to install solar on his roof to mitigate some of his electrical costs.
From the beginning
Harry hired AMECO Solar in 2002 to design and install a small system. After being thoroughly impressed with the technology, he brought AMECO back in 2006 to expand the system from 16 Kyocera modules to include an additional 24 Kyocera modules to further increase his electrical independence.
After 12 years of outstanding performance and energy production from his SMA SWR2500U-SBD (240V), Harry wanted to modernize his system once again. Ecstatic about the reliability and performance of his first SMA inverter, he opted to upgrade his inverter to the Sunny Boy 4000TL-US with Secure Power Supply in January 2014.
The dual channel inputs and dual MPP tracking enabled him to maintain his existing module strings and optimize system efficiency. But chief among the new features that Harry is excited about is the Secure Power Supply.
“I look back at the energy crisis and wish I had something like Secure Power Supply back then,” he said. “Having stand-by power for an event like a blackout or an earthquake here in Southern California means we’re always prepared. That’s a good feeling.”
Reliability from day one
The original inverter that supported Harry’s solar beginnings was proudly retired with a phenomenally low failure rate, a mere 0.03 percent according to AMECO Solar. “We love SMA inverters for their quality and long-term reliability,” said Patrick Redgate, President & CEO of AMECO Solar. “Our successes with SMA have brought customers like Harry back to expand and update their systems, making a wonderful difference for our business.”
If you’d like to read more about this install, check out AMECO’s write up here.
I have a SB4000TL inverter with an oversized array of 5.75 kwp. It works just fine & I love it. However I am concerned that I may be pushing the de-rating capability of my SMA inverter too hard. On bright sunny days during the summer, I therefore lay an old mat over a couple of solar panels for a couple of hours either side of the solar zenith, to shade the panels a little & reduce the DC power generation to a more acceptable top limit & hence protect my inverter from potential damage..
My question is: can you tell me whether it is possible to purchase an “Upgrade Kit”, so that I can personally upgrade my 4-kwp inverter to a 5-kwp capability, without my having to purchase a new SB5000TL & sell my old inverter second-hand at a loss? Maybe an upgrade just involves soldering in a couple of replacement capacitors or replacing a removable PCB card?
It is really nice to see a reliability index.
“”The original inverter that supported Harry’s solar beginnings was proudly retired with a phenomenally low failure rate, a mere 0.03 percent according to AMECO Solar””
We would like to see such low number of failures. 🙂 If its possible, can you please share some reliability statistics you have?
Good topics, but what price did you guys charge him for the Upgrade?