solar panel mounting rail requires earthing when used with transformerless inverters

It’s very important that the solar panel mounting rail is earthed as shown in this image to avoid electric shocks when using a transformerless inverter.

If you are replacing your older solar power inverter with a new inverter a common issue that makes the changeover a little less straight forward is that most of the newer solar power inverters available are “transformerless” inverters.

Transformerless inverters are very efficient inverters however they can lead to an issue with solar panels and solar panel mounting systems on older solar power systems that haven’t been earthed as required in the latest Australian Standards.

Electric Shocks From Solar Panels With Transformerless Inverters

Most older solar power inverters such as SMA (not TL models), Delta, Fronius IG series, AeroSharp, Latronics, Sharp and Xantrex inverters among others were transformer inverters whereas a lot of the new solar inverters have a different design or topology; they are transformerless inverters.

Transformerless inverters require the solar panels on the roof and the framing system they are installed on to be earthed. This is due to the fact that transformerless inverters can potentially allow some AC voltage to the DC side (the solar panel side) of the solar power system with respect to ground. If the solar panels and the solar panel mounting system are not correctly earthed they could potentially give an electric shock if touched. This type of an electric shock wouldn’t kill someone but would certainly shock you – and up on a roof is not a good place to get shocked! Being startled by an electric shock on a roof could make someone fall off the roof – and that’s not good!

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How to Avoid Electric Shocks With Transformerless Inverters – Earthing

solar panel earth washer

Earth washer used with mid clamp to ensure the mounting rail earth extends to the frame of the solar panel.

To remove the risk of electric shocks from your solar panels it’s very important when your inverter is being replaced with a transformerless inverter to ensure your solar panel mounting system is earthed; or another option is to replace your inverter with a transformer model such as the Fronius Galvo series of inverter; however the Fronius Galvo are only available in 1.5kW, 2kW, 2.5kW and 3kW sizes.

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