You might already know that the output of solar panels does not remain constant for most of the day. To yield the maximum energy, many consumers oversize their solar arrays and undersize solar inverter. This reduces the cost and enables them to utilize more power.
But the solar array starts generating more power at some points than the solar inverter can output. This is where the solar inverter starts clipping off excessive power. It simply means that the solar inverter wastes excessive energy and does not process it through the system.
Even though solar power consumers would never want this energy to be wasted, this is essential for the health of the solar inverters and the rest of the system. Solar inverters have a maximum limit for processing energy.
Moreover, the solar inverter’s limited capacity does not always require clipping. The excess energy cannot be utilized if the load connected to the solar inverter is lower than the energy generated.
Solar inverter clipping occurs in solar power generation systems for these two basic reasons. Without it, the system cannot efficiently regulate power and can eventually heat up and be damaged permanently.
Generally, the term DC/AC ratio is used for systems with an oversized solar array. Even though most solar inverters can manage slightly high DC/AC ratios, not all solar inverters can do it.
If the clipping occurs at the AC end of the solar inverter, the components inside the inverter that process AC power degrade sooner. And if the clipping occurs at the DC end, it impacts the warranty of the solar inverter. So it is not suitable for all inverters.
This is why it is essential to check a solar inverter’s maximum DC/AC ratio when buying one. Otherwise, the solar inverter won’t clip the excessive power and will lead to hazards.
How Frequently Does Solar Inverter Clipping Occur?
Since the DC/AC ratio is usually around 1.1 to 1.2, the solar inverter clipping occurs on only 8.8% of sunny days. And that too only for a short period (usually 1-2 hours) of the day. It varies from region to region and can occur more often, especially if the DC/AC ratio is higher.
However, if the rating of the solar inverter matches the solar array, the solar array will never produce power higher than the solar inverter can process. In such cases, solar inverter clipping never occurs unless the load connected to the inverter is lower than the power being generated.
How Much Power is Lost in Solar Inverter Clipping?
The amount of power lost in solar inverter clipping depends on the specifications of the solar array, inverter, and load.
According to a case study of an oversized solar array of 10.6KW and a solar inverter of 7.6KW, the inverter loses 1.29KWH of power every sunny day. But this is still beneficial as because of oversizing, the system also generates an excessive 2.8KWH.
The system produces almost 30% more power on 80% of days because of oversizing, even though the solar inverter clips off excessive power. This is why the power lost in solar inverter clipping is not a greater concern for consumers.
What is The Impact of Solar Inverter Clipping on the System’s Lifespan?
Generally, solar inverter clipping does not impact the lifespan of solar panels and batteries. However, it impacts the lifespan of the solar inverter, especially if the DC/AC ratio is too high. Since the inverter heats up more than usual, some components wear out sooner, leading to early degradation.
However, many modern branded solar inverters like the ones Bahoo Power develops are equipped with robust components that do not easily wear out. Such solar inverters have a higher lifespan.
Even though power is lost in solar inverter clipping but such systems actually generate more energy and are overall more profitable. This is why most commercial-scale solar power systems are designed with oversized solar arrays.