What is Solar Inverter Clipping?
Updated: Jul 7
The COVID-19 global pandemic has disrupted our lives in unprecedented ways. We care about you and ask that you protect yourself and others by regularly washing your hands with running water or using an alcohol based rub and not touching any parts of your face with unwashed hands. Also maintain a distance of about a metre between yourself and others when in public, use a nose/face mask and if required by regulation, do stay home. Stay safe.
Inverter clipping occurs when a solar inverter has reached its peak maximum output. Though additional power may still be available from the solar panels, the inverter will however disallow any further production from the solar panels. This is the standard way most, though not all, solar inverters are designed. The most sophisticated solar inverters are built to 'clip' or to handle this overload in other ways.
It is also called 'inverter saturation'. The goal of clipping is to prevent damage to the inverter. There are inverters that 'clip' when the temperature inside the inverter enclosure is too high. As in all instances of clipping, the goal is to protect the internal components, for instance, the capacitors, from accelerated damage especially when the cooling fans installed inside the inverter is damaged or fails as a result of either a rise in external conditions or from bad installation.
This is useful in determining the size of the solar panels or number of modules to be used in constructing a system. If the DC coming from the panels exceed the inverter's AC power rating, then an inverter that is able to 'clip' is a requirement. It is a standard procedure to slightly make the input power slightly above the AC rating of the inverter--otherwise to oversize your solar panels by a good enough margin--to make room for energy loses due to temperature, weather conditions, and other external factors. Also, the nominal power rating (plate name) of inverters are often lower than their actual output. Read more about it here. If however, this difference is too high, then there will be power loses due to inverter clipping. And of course, economic loses too.
Because of the amount of sunlight available to Nigerian solar system owners, it is expected that most solar systems will at some point experience clipping. However, that a solar inverter is showing clipping does not call for alarm. What is important is that the overall production and of course, your power needs, is met.
As always, keeping this in mind, SolarKobo helps her customers all over Nigeria make the best choice of inverter.