Overcoming Communications Outages in Inverter Downtime Analysis: Preprint

Kevin Anderson, Ryan Blumenthal

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Inverters are often reported to be the highest-impact failure point in PV systems. This importance is belied by the simplistic assumptions about inverter downtime losses used in industrial energy modeling. Energy models often assume the extent of inverter-related losses is limited to 1% of annual production from scheduled inverter preventative maintenance. In reality, inverter-related production losses are much more variable, although data from large-scale surveys of fielded systems are rare. Here we present a method of detecting inverter downtime events and estimating the associated lost production using inverter- and meter-level power data. Because communications outages are of similar frequency to true production outages, the method pays particular attention to distinguishing communications outages from true production outages. The results of applying the method at fleet-scale are presented and discussed.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 2020
Event47th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC 47) -
Duration: 15 Jun 202021 Aug 2020


Conference47th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC 47)

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5K00-79282 for paper as published in proceedings

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5K00-76022


  • communication
  • downtime
  • inverter availability
  • photovoltaic inverter
  • production loss
  • solar power
  • system reliability


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