Can solar inverters catch fire?

Even though solar power systems are remarkably useful, some consumers are skeptical of their safety. Since there are numerous reported cases in which electronic equipment of different types has caught fire and caused devastation, some people question the safety of solar inverters.

Solar inverter being electronic device, is prone to catching fire and burning. However, the chances are very few. According to a research study that focuses on 1.3 million solar installations, only 75 cases were reported that could be attributed to solar equipment. This helps us understand that solar inverters are far safer than most consumers think.

However, this does not mean that the solar inverters wouldn’t catch fire even if they are not maintained and handled carefully. After all, solar inverters are electronic equipment, and they need extra care. With all the precautions I will share in this article, one can nearly eradicate the chances of a solar inverter catching fire. But before that, let’s first understand why solar inverters catch fire and what are the most common reasons.

Since solar inverters manage power coming from the solar panels and are also connected to the battery and household power supply, a huge amount of power flows through it. Even a minor short circuit can cause sparking and lead to the solar inverter catching fire.

This usually happens when the connections or cables overheat and make contact or if there are any loose connections. But another possible reason is the environment.

Some solar inverters are designed for outdoor operations and work well even in harsh conditions, but not all solar inverters can withstand humid and rainy climates. If a solar inverter designed for indoor operations is put into outdoor operation, the rain or humid environment may cause a short circuit.

Even though most solar inverters are equipped with protection systems like circuit breakers and fuses, the protection system sometimes fails to operate. But this is an unusual case. It rarely happens. It also depends on your inverter’s build; high-quality solar inverters are equipped with robust protection systems to withstand such faults.

As already explained, solar inverters process huge amounts of power; it is normal for solar inverters to heat up. But overheating affects the lifespan of solar inverters. This is why modern solar inverters are designed with proper ventilation systems, so the inverter never overheats.

Generally, all solar inverters are equipped with cooling fans that regulate the temperature by exhausting excessive heat. However, if, for any reason, the fan fails to operate or becomes faulty, the solar inverter fails to auto-regulate the temperature. As the temperature keeps rising, ultimately, the solar inverter catches fire.
Another factor that causes this overheating is the environment. If a solar inverter is installed in a congested space, around other appliances that release heat or in sunlight, the environment of the solar inverter naturally heats up.

As the solar inverter exhausts heat and the environment is also hot, the solar inverter fails to cool down even if the fans work well. In such cases, no matter how fast the cooling fans work, the temperature keeps rising, and eventually, the solar inverter catches fire.

Precautions to Avoid Solar Inverter Catching Fire
Now that you know how and why solar inverters catch fire, lets talk about how to avoid such situations.

Choose High-quality Solar Inverter
The quality of your solar inverter has a direct impact on its safety. Always choose a high-quality solar inverter brand like Bahoo Power that focuses on safety features. The same goes for other equipment; your solar batteries can also catch fire and explode.

Proper Installation
Short circuits generally occur if the equipment has loose connections or compatibility issues or needs to be properly tested. Always acquire the services of professionals to ensure your equipment is properly installed and tested for safety.

Regular Maintenance
Regularly clean your solar inverter and ensure its vents are neither blocked nor dusty. If the fans ever seem to stop working, immediately consult the service center and keep the solar inverter out of use until repaired. Also, troubleshoot the solar inverter according to the user manual if it malfunctions. If you need help with troubleshooting, consult a professional.

Final Thoughts
Solar inverters do not easily catch fire; they are quite robust. However, the few chances of them catching fire can be further minimized if a reliable solar inverter brand is chosen and the inverter is carefully managed.