Inverter brand comparison: Sungrow vs SMA vs Fronius. Part 2

Published: 3 May 2018

When choosing an inverter it can be difficult to know which brand is best for you, let’s take a look at how Sungrow, SMA and Fronius stack up.

The brain of every PV system is the inverter. When choosing an inverter, the right brand can be a determining factor in ensuring the best reliability and performance of your solar system. 

Now let’s get started on part 2 and continue discussing the specs and features from Fronius inverters.

Fronius

The Austrian brand has multiple choices available for the inverter market. 

Most of them are grid-tied solutions such as the Fronius Galvo, Primo and Symo inverters.

Symo, for instance, is a grid-tied inverter integrated with SnapINverter technology which consists of a fast installation procedure that splits mounting brackets and the connections of the PV system from the power electronics themselves. 

This reduces the effective weight that must be lifted to install the inverter, making it a one person job. 

Symo has multiple versions with different power outputs from 3000 W, 4500 W and 6000 W to 20 kW in AC power.

The MPP voltage range is located between 150 V and 800 V. Moreover, Symo inverters are integrated with two MPPT inputs.

Fronius also has the hybrid inverter version. 

Suitable for specific lithium-ion batteries such as the Fronius Solar Battery and the LG Chem RESU 7H/10H, since the nominal voltage for battery charging must be at 400 V.

3. Choosing an Inverter: Warranty

Fronius

All string inverters from the brand are offered with a 5-year warranty with the possibility to extend it for another 5 years under the 5 years Fronius Warranty Plus, by registering at solarweb.com.

Fronius does not cover warranty if the fault is the result of improper installation, operation or commissioning. 

It is not covered either, if Fronius could not identify the fault upon examination of the product. 

Fronius has a local branch in Melbourne, Australia which opened in 2010 .

Sungrow

At the same time, Sungrow warrants its products to work under perfect conditions for at least 5 years. 

Accessories of the inverters are warranted to work at least 2 years from the date of installation. 

Keep in mind that Sungrow will keep the right to use refurbished parts to repair the inverters if needed and won’t comply with the warranty if Sungrow’s operating and maintenance instructions are not fulfilled.

The brand also has a local branch located in North Sydney.

SMA

As with previous brands, you will receive a factory warranty for 5 years from the moment you purchase the inverter (Sunny Boy or Sunny Tripower). 

All the costs that are incurred to repair or replace any parts from the product will be covered by SMA, as long as the damage does not occur due to some of these reasons: transport damage, incorrect installations, modifications, changes, insufficient ventilation of the device and natural disasters. 

An important difference with previous brands is that the warranty can be extended up to 10,15 or even 20 years by an additional cost of €3.58 per month. 

SMA also has a local Australian office in North Sydney, which is important to claim the warranty.

4. Choosing an Inverter: Installation

SMA

SMA’s installation procedure for inverters is very simple. 

After installing the mounting brackets, the next step is to secure the inverter to the structure, this can be easily done by attaching a couple of screws. 

Then, to connect the wires of the DC input and AC output, you must simply remove the wiring compartment on the lower side of the inverter. 

Internet connections must also be made through wiring to the inverter to ensure proper functioning. 

Sunny Tripower installation might be a little more complex since it is three-phase, however, SMA made it really easy as for one person to do it, as you can see here.

Fronius

The Austrian brand offers an even simpler solution for the installation of inverters, thanks to its SnapINverter technology. 

When the box is opened, you simply need to unscrew the bolts located in the lower part of the inverter that attach the device to the mounting system. 

Once split, you must simply install the mounting on the wall with some screws, and then start installing the conduits to the AC, DC and ground connections.

Sungrow

Probably an even easier installation than the previous ones, as you can see in this short video

After drilling three simple holes and adjusting the mounting with some screws, all you need to do is slide the inverter while locking it with a padlock, and connecting the AC and DC outputs and inputs on the lower side of the inverter. 

It is simpler since there is no need to remove any wiring compartment as in SMA’s case.

Conclusion

As you can see, when it comes to choosing an inverter there are many things to consider. Here we have covered four main topics related to the top inverter brands in the Australian market. 

Regarding the overview of the company, we can certainly be sure that SMA is the top quality brand among them, due to its experience, innovation, quality standards and the performance that has been proven for its products is maybe the most important inverter brand in the world.

However, the price is an important downside of the brand; regularly, premium products require premium prices. 

Fronius and Sungrow offer interesting alternatives that could give you a similar performance with great quality at better prices. 

Besides, you must also evaluate the type of PV system that you have and base your decision on that. 

For instance, if you want a hybrid installation with energy storage, then it might be better to go with Fronius or Sungrow. 

But, if you have a three-phase installation or you are looking for an AC coupled solution, then the answer is definitely SMA. 

If the project is only about a grid-tied inverter, request to your solar installer all the available options and prices to see which one better suits your needs.

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