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Shades for my Inverter

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  1. #1
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    Default Shades for my Inverter

    Had my solar panels installed a year ago and the inverter was installed on the north facing wall. At the time, the sparkie said that I have to provide shades for my inverter. Now that summer is approaching, I'm looking to build/install some kind of awning for the inverters. Not being especially creative in design, I wonder if there are any suggestions out there. The inverter box is about 300w x 350h x 150d and is mounted at eye level. The only requirement that I could think of it should provide shades but allow air flows freely.
    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    Post a pic and you may get more than just practical answers. You may get some good suggestions that are aesthetically pleasing too.

  3. #3
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    The basic logic here is that the inverter generates its' own heat to some extent when in operation (as do most electrical things - feel the back of your computer monitor and you'll find it's warm etc).

    since the solar panels will produce the most power when the sun is from the north, and the inverter is also itself facing north, you're going to get both maximum power flow (and internal heat generation) and maximum direct sun on the inverter at the same time. That's going to make it get rather hot and, since electrical devices don't like getting too hot, this isn't a good idea.

    From a practical perspective, anything that keeps the sun off without restricting ventilation will do the job. Which then leaves aesthetics as the primary consideration.

  4. #4
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    Thank you shauck and smurf for replies.
    Here are the photos of the unit and the last one is the unartistic representation of the awning I was thinking about. The top was meant to be some kind of Louvre made of timber. I have no idea what it will look like aesthetically.
    Any suggestions welcome.


    Quote Originally Posted by shauck View Post
    You may get some good suggestions that are aesthetically pleasing too.
    Yes please!

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails inverter_4.jpg   inverter_1.jpg   inverter_2.jpg   inverter_3.jpg  

  5. #5
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    Your design is fine, but it does not need to have louvres - it just needs to be mounted os there is 75-100mm above the inverter. Depending upon how concerned you are about the look you could simply mount two angle brackets to the wall and attach a piece of exterior/ marine grade ply and paint it. If you wish you could bend the top arm of the bracket down 5-10 degrees so water runs off. You could use flat iron (galvanised steel sheet) or a piece of aluminium too (noting the you'd need to use something to isolate the aluminium from any zinc or cadmium plated brackets).

    But you do need to get that unit shaded - even in winter it is best if ther is no direct sun on any inverter as like all electronic items heat is a killer - of performance and longevity. At least you were advised of that by your installer - even driving around the streets I see so many North or West facing inverters and aside from the long term damage the efficiency loss would be costing the owners money too.
    Advice from me on this forum is general and for guidance based on information given by the member posing the question. Not to be used in place of professional advice from people appropriately qualified in the relevant field. All structural work must be approved and constructed to the BCA or other relevant standards by suitably licensed persons. The person doing the work and reading my advice accepts responsibility for ensuring the work done accords with the applicable law.

  6. #6
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    I see that it is partially shaded by the eaves. Perhaps in winter, less so. I was also wondering what was near that wall and (if aesthetically and functionally) if a screen (timber or otherwise) that was tall enough to shade it, may work and suit the area (garden/pathway/????). Perhaps a creeper plant on the screen as well.

  7. #7
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    Any reason why it was installed on a North facing wall? Common practice is to mount them on the south facing wall.

    A simple wire frame with some 100% shade cloth should do the trick.

    Good luck.
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  8. #8
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    Having seen the picture perhaps something as simple as a shade-cloth blind attached to the eaves would do, that could be rolled up in winter?
    Technically anything that gives 90% shade should work, I think your main decision will be based on aesthetics, just don't make it too smnall or too close, in case the unit needs attention in the future

  9. #9
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    Nah - 100% shadecloth does not shade 100% and in any case inverters need to be in full shade all year round. The cooler the inverter is the better it will perform - down to about -10!).

    That's why south side or under a verandah or even under the house is often chosen. But placement is usually to ensure shortest cable runs possible, access to meter board and aesthetics, as well as too commonly, whatever is easiest for the installer.

    This needs a simple shade as OP described, but no need for louvres - aside from wanting it to look OK (but this is unlikely to look worse than a bright blue inverter and cable conduits!) simple is best.

    A simple alternative is to use a flat shade in front held in place on stand-offs - threaded rod (10mm or 12mm) into loxin's Ramset Australia in the wall passing through holes at each of the four corners and held at the right distance (around 50mm clearance from face of inverter - so ~200mm in this case) with a nut&washer at the back and a wing nut or similar in the front for easy access. These can be made from exterior/marine ply or compressed fibre cement sheet or can be a light frame of treated pine (say 32x19) faced with a piece of cement sheet - all can be painted to match the house colour. The shade would be a little wider and higher - ie: larger all round than the inverter.
    Advice from me on this forum is general and for guidance based on information given by the member posing the question. Not to be used in place of professional advice from people appropriately qualified in the relevant field. All structural work must be approved and constructed to the BCA or other relevant standards by suitably licensed persons. The person doing the work and reading my advice accepts responsibility for ensuring the work done accords with the applicable law.

  10. #10
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    OK Bloss is right on the shading matter, shadecloth lets too much through, even doubled 90%.
    Using a vertical stand-off with the top gap smaller than the bottom gap may help with increasing the air-wash effect and helping keep the unit a little cooler

  11. #11
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    The inverter manages its own airflow within the cabinet design - in this case with vents at the bottom and the top. Convection is all that is needed mostly although some have fans which are thermostatically controlled. So no special design or slope needed - simply shading the unit is all that is required.
    Advice from me on this forum is general and for guidance based on information given by the member posing the question. Not to be used in place of professional advice from people appropriately qualified in the relevant field. All structural work must be approved and constructed to the BCA or other relevant standards by suitably licensed persons. The person doing the work and reading my advice accepts responsibility for ensuring the work done accords with the applicable law.

  12. #12
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    Default Thanks for the ideas

    The inverter was installed on the north face because it is the least conspicuous side of the house and also the side that is closest to the panel.

    looking at the pictures taken again, I now reckon that shading the front and the sides are more beneficial than covering the top.

    I quite like the idea of using threaded rod secured to the wall using ramset anchors. I have a cement sheet lying around which I might use to put in front of the inverter, leaving 100mm of air gap.

    Cheers
    Paul.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by justonething View Post
    The inverter was installed on the north face because it is the least conspicuous side of the house and also the side that is closest to the panel.

    looking at the pictures taken again, I now reckon that shading the front and the sides are more beneficial than covering the top.

    I quite like the idea of using threaded rod secured to the wall using ramset anchors. I have a cement sheet lying around which I might use to put in front of the inverter, leaving 100mm of air gap.

    Cheers
    Paul.
    That'd work - you just have it a little higher than the top of the inverter to account for the angle of the sun. As I said you need only 40-50mm airgap in front no need to come out 100mm. I have used that style quite a lot as it is simple and effective and when painted to match wall colour not all that visible either. Easy to remove for access too. The plain fibro cement sheet will work.
    Advice from me on this forum is general and for guidance based on information given by the member posing the question. Not to be used in place of professional advice from people appropriately qualified in the relevant field. All structural work must be approved and constructed to the BCA or other relevant standards by suitably licensed persons. The person doing the work and reading my advice accepts responsibility for ensuring the work done accords with the applicable law.

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