# Solar showing high amperage when not in use

I was browsing the graphs and came across something that I can’t explain why.

After the panels were installed and the system powered (around 9pm) up for testing the next day, the amperage jumped to around 4 amps per leg with very little current flowing, about 400mW. As seen in this picture below.

The following day the installers remotely disabled the panels in the box

A few weeks later, during the electrical inspection that was going to fail, we flipped off the system so no power was going to the enpahse box or coming from it into the Main Service Panel. At this point the amps dropped to 0. Seen here:

When the system is on, but the panels are remotely disabled and are not sending power to the MSP as the electrical inspection is not done yet, I see a constant around 4A on the CT

I am wondering if this has to do with the enphase box doing something weird with the voltages that is causing the calculations to be that high. I can say with confidence it is related to the box, but not sure how.

On a note, I know the values are negative, that’s because the panels are off and the main box should be drawing power from the grid. When the panels are producing the value goes positive.

EDIT: I have also noticed the Power Factor going to crap when the system is on, regardless if the panels are enabled or disabled.

I think you mean very little power flowing, since current is measured in amps and power in watts.

400mW is less than 1/2 watt, which is very likely real. 4A is odd, but I have heard equally weird things from other people with solar inverter systems.

What is going on here is that the current and voltage are very nearly 90 degrees out of phase. I see this quite often with inverters in standby mode.

Current can move through the wire in both directions. When measuring power (Watts), the signed product of current and voltage is integrated and the “slices” are added up. When the current is out of phase 90 degrees with voltage, half of those “slices” are negative so the power adds up to near zero.

Amps however are RMS amps. The current measurements in each slice are squared, added up and then the square root of the total is taken. The sign of the current is lost when it is squared, so the result is always cumulative and positive regardless of the corresponding voltage.

To put it another way, your Enphase box is very “reactive”. Your power factor is probably extremely low, if not zero.

The actual standby power is probably a little more but it’s hard to be that accurate in these situations.

You can read more about real power (Watts), apparent power (VA) and power factor in this excellent tutorial at the Open Energy Monitor site.

Thank you for that wondaful information! This defiantly is starting to make sense now. And yes the PF goes way down to almost .5 at times and varies greatly.

Here you can see when the system is switched on how much it changes when in standby, and then goes to 1 when the panels were active that one day.

Is there anything that you know can be done to fix this, or is it not really an issue these days anymore.

It’s not an issue. You pay for Watts, and they are negligible in standby mode. Sometimes you don’t want to see how the sausage is made.

hahahahaa, very true!

thank you again for all your support! keep up the great work