What Is an Isolation Fault and How to Fix It

2 Mins read

Most solar power inverters will operate for years without experiencing any issues. However, as with any piece of equipment, they can have a few common problems. One of the issues most often encountered by solar power users is an isolation fault. What is an isolation fault? What causes it in your power inverter? And how can you get it fixed quickly to restore your inverter to the entire operation? Keep reading to find out.

What Is It?

You’ll likely be alerted to an isolation fault in your inverter by an “isolation alarm” reported from your inverter. If you have an app on your phone that receives such reports from your solar equipment, you’ll likely receive the alert that way. Otherwise, you should be checking in on your inverter regularly for any error codes, including isolation alarms, displayed on its screen. 

In essence, an isolation fault is the result of a short circuit in the inverter. Just as a short circuit in your standard electrical setup would trigger a breaker switch, an isolation fault will trigger a safety measure in your solar inverter. The inverter will either shut off entirely or continue to work at the minimum required isolation level. Either way, your home won’t be getting the power it needs, and you’ll be made aware that there’s an issue in your system, regardless of whether or not you’ve noticed the isolation alarm yet.

What Causes It?

There are generally a few things that cause an isolation fault. In areas close to the sea or with high humidity, moisture and damage to the sleeve on the cabling is the most common cause of isolation faults. Moisture can also get into the connection part of the PV module and cause the same problem. For this reason, isolation faults are most common in humid climates.

Other causes of isolation faults include faulty installation or a poor connection between the DC cables and the inverter’s panel. It’s essential to ensure that the DC cables are of good quality and are correctly installed to avoid this issue.

How Can You Fix It?

It would help if you left the repairs for an isolation fault to a professional. This particular error with your inverter can cause fatal voltages to accumulate in the conductive parts of your solar system. Call a solar power expert if you receive an isolation alarm, and don’t risk your life trying to fix it yourself.

Above all, prevention is the best cure for an isolation fault. In addition to ensuring proper installation and quality DC cables in your system, ensure your Victron Energy inverter is protected from excess humidity and moisture.