Fronius vs Sungrow vs SMA Comparison

Published: 1 May 2018

Fronius, SMA, and Sungrow are among the biggest solar inverter manufacturers in the world. With many years of experience and high-quality standards, SMA’s only downside is its high price. However, Sungrow and Fronius are excellent alternatives that offer similar performance with high quality at lower prices.

Fronius, SMA, and Sungrow are among the biggest solar inverter manufacturers in the world. With many years of experience and high-quality standards, SMA’s only downside is its high price. However, Sungrow and Fronius are excellent alternatives that offer similar performance with high quality at lower prices.

Solar inverters are considered the brains of your solar system, converting DC electricity from solar panels to grid-compatible AC electricity. They are essential, and you must choose the best options to suit your solar needs. You’ll benefit from learning about top-quality inverter brands like Fronius, SMA, and Sungrow.

In this post, we’ll compare Fronius, SMA, and Sungrow inverters to find the perfect option for you.

Read on to explore why these companies are leading the global solar market.

Fronius Inverters

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Founded by Günter Fronius in 1945, the European company Fronius is a leading name in the solar industry. The company started as a repair shop for electrical equipment and soon transitioned to welding transformers and producing battery chargers. Fronius’ solar division commenced operation in 1992 and quickly became a prominent European player in the solar market.

With decades of experience, Fronius manufactures some of the most reliable inverters in the world. Their Australian office in Melbourne offers excellent services such as product demonstrations, technical assistance, customer service, and training courses.

After playing catch-up with old-timer SMA for a while, Fronius finally caught up in quality and reputation. One unique feature of Fronius inverters is the SnapINverter technology, a standardised wall-mounted bracket that allows the inverter to stay on a hinge system. This feature makes for easy access when the solar inverter needs servicing.

It enables the Fronius inverter to open like a car boot, so you don’t need to remove it from the wall. With Fronius solar inverters, you have two solar inputs (or MPPTs). Inverters from this manufacturer have high MPPT efficiency.

Fronius manufactures a wide range of commercial inverters, including hybrid inverters, micro-inverters, and string inverters for your solar panel system. The only limitation of Fronius inverters is their active cooling system, which requires fans for cooling. 

The fan speed increases with a temperature rise and can get pretty noisy. They may not be suitable for installations within living areas.

Complete range of Fronius solar inverters available in Australia:

  • Fronius Galvo 1.5 – 3.1kW
  • Fronius Symo 3.0 – 20.0kW
  • Fronius Primo 3.0 – 8.2kW

SMA Inverters

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Founded in 1981, SMA Solar Technology AG is one of the best manufacturers of solar inverters globally. The company has over AU$1billion in revenue and is, without a doubt, a top name in the Australian solar market. SMA Solar Technology AG supplies solar inverters to the commercial market under the names Sunny Tripower and Sunny Highpower.

The company also provides to the residential market under the Sunny Boy name and Sunny Central for large-scale applications and utility-scale solar farms. It’s no surprise that SMA is extremely popular in the solar industry as they have a good reputation in terms of reliability.

With over 40 years of experience, SMA manufactures high-quality solar inverters with lower failure rates than most competing brands on the market. With an SMA smart meter home, you can expect excellent WiFi monitoring. This means you’ll stay on top of your solar system performance.

You have access to your solar power generation and energy consumption through the Sunny Portal. Although this feature is often an optional extra in the Australian market, it will help you gain insights into managing your electricity usage. With the smart meter, you can install a larger solar PV system and control the amount of power exported back into the grid.

This feature will benefit households restricted to a particular solar system size (for example, 5kVA for most Victoria residents). System monitoring is seamless with SMA as they have a free monitoring platform, one of the best on the market. SMA solar inverters can proactively identify faults and anomalies in the system and send the information to you and your installer.

If you encounter warranty issues, SMA guarantees to supply a replacement within three days; otherwise, you can claim compensation. SMA solar inverters come with a standard 5-year warranty in Australia.

You can also purchase an extension of 10 years, which covers about 15% to 20% of the inverter’s value.

SMA photovoltaic inverters come at a higher price than most competing brands. You’ll find excellent string and micro-inverter solutions for solar systems. 

Complete range of SMA solar inverters available in Australia:

  • SMA Highpower Peak 1 – 75kW
  • SMA Sunny Tripower Core 1 – 50kW
  • SMA Sunny Tripower – 3kW to 25kW
  • SMA Sunny Boy – 1.5kW to 6kW
  • SMA Sunny Island – combines with Sunny Boy or Sunny Tripower

Sungrow Inverters

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Unlike the two inverter companies mentioned earlier, Sungrow did not evolve from a well-established electronics manufacturer. Founded in 1997 by Cao Renxian, a Professor at Hefei University of Technology, Sungrow grew to become one of the leading names in the solar world. The founder aimed to boost the electricity supply in rural western China through renewable energy.

He succeeded in building one of the most successful inverter brands globally. With a $1.5 billion net worth, Sungrow Power Supply Co Ltd is the second largest inverter manufacturer in the world. The company specialises in R&D, manufacturing and services of energy supply systems for energy storage, wind energy, and various solar panel systems.

Sungrow specialises in energy conversion for electric vehicles, energy route switching, power conversion technologies, and renewable energy generators and inverters. They are the second-largest inverter brand after Huawei inverters.

Generally, the efficiency standards for residential inverters are 95 to 98 per cent. With Sungrow’s CEC Approved inverter models, you can expect maximum efficiency ranging from 97.7 to 98.6 per cent. Most models offer a maximum efficiency of over 98 per cent.

As far as efficiency is concerned, Sungrow is a top manufacturer of residential inverters. The company is among the few brands offering solar inverters built for small and large-scale energy storage systems, utility-scale grid-tie systems, and residential and commercial applications.

The Sungrow CEC-approved Inverter range stands out on the market for offering different types and configurations in the typical power range.

Sungrow is a top manufacturer of both string and hybrid residential inverters. They have many string inverter models with Multi-MPPT, such as SG5KTL-MT, SG10KTL-M, SG10KTL-MT, & SG12KTL-M, for different solar systems.

You’ll find that all the CEC-approved Sungrow inverters are transformerless, making them more efficient. 

Complete range of Sungrow inverters available in Australia:

  • Sungrow SH10RT      
  • Sungrow SH8.0RT     
  • Sungrow SH5.0RT
  • Sungrow SH5K-20      
  • Sungrow SH5K-30      
  • Sungrow SG5KTL-MT
  • Sungrow SG10KTL-MT
  • Sungrow SG10KTL-M    
  • Sungrow SG12KTL-M
  • Sungrow SG5KTL-D  
  • Sungrow SG3K-D Premium  
  • Sungrow SG5K-D Premium
  • Sungrow SG8K-D Premium  
  • Sungrow SG2K-S Premium   
  • Sungrow SG2K5-S Premium
  • Sungrow SG3K-S Premium   
  • Sungrow SG3KTL-S 

Fronius vs Sungrow vs SMA: Which one is better?

Both Fronius and Sungrow are among the best solar inverters on the market. Sungrow offers a lower price without compromising performance, but Fronius is the best solution for people with a bigger budget.

Solar users often pit the European solar inverter maker Fronius against Chinese company Sungrow. These are two top names in the world of solar, so it’s no surprise to see “Sungrow inverter vs Fronius” on the internet. To help you choose a suitable solar inverter among these two brands in Australia, we’d consider the product’s price, performance, and warranty.

Price

Here’s how Fronius compares to Sungrow in terms of pricing:

Fronius

Fronius inverters cost more than Sungrow. The company prides itself as a European Premium brand known for manufacturing high-quality products. You’ll be paying more for high-quality and excellent performance.

Sungrow

Sungrow is a more affordable inverter option. It has a lower price but does not compromise quality. If you compare the cost of the Sungrow inverter with its performance, you’ll find that it offers a very high value for the money.

Which inverter manufacturer has the best price?

The two inverter brands will provide you with the best results. When comparing Fronius vs Sungrow in terms of price, you should choose Sungrow if you want a high-performing, budget-friendly inverter. But if you have a bigger budget, go for Fronius.

Warranty

Both Fronius and Sungrow inverters have the same warranty length (10 years). However, Fronius has been in the business long enough to prove its long-term quality. Sungrow is newer on the market but has a proven good performance record.

There’s no clear winner when comparing Fronius vs Sungrow in terms of warranty as both offer the same warranty periods. 

However, with over thirty years of experience, Fronius has an advantage in terms of the warranty. The company has already established a good reputation with their high-quality products. They sell greater confidence to the market as buyers can rest assured that the products they purchase have been around long enough to prove their long-term quality.

Fronius offers excellent service, and their inverters have low failure rates. Sungrow inverters are strong and high-performing. The company is one of the largest inverter manufacturers in the world.

Performance

Both Fronius and Sungrow inverters offer a performance of 98 per cent or more. Choosing any of these inverters gives you a quality and high-performing solution for your home.

While Fronius is a consolidated brand with many years of trust, Sungrow is fast-growing and getting better results and more prestige over time. Although there’s a bit of stigma around Chinese products, Sungrow produces some of the best inverters in China’s global market.

You cannot list the top inverters in the Australian market without mentioning Fronius and Sungrow. With either of these two inverters, you have a reliable solar panel system. 

Here’s a tabular comparison of Fronius and Sungrow inverters:

How does SMA compare to Sungrow and Fronius?

Features and SpecsFroniusSungrow
Country of OriginMade in EuropeMade in China
Efficiency97.80%98.40%
Warranty10 Years10 Years
Wifi AppYesYes
Good Customer SupportYesYes
Built-In DC IsolatorYesYes
Arc-Fault DetectionNoYes

All three solar inverter manufacturers – SMA, Sungrow, and Fronius – are leading names in the solar world. SMA inverters are not as easy to install as Fronius with its SnapINverter technology. Sungrow has the most straightforward installation process, requiring no removal of wiring compartments.

Here’s a more in-depth look into how SMA compares to Sungrow and Fronius:

Installation

SMA

The installation process for SMA is pretty easy, requiring only a few steps. Firstly, you need to install the mounting brackets. Once done, attach some screws to secure the SMA solar inverter to the structure.

The next step is to connect the DC input and AC output wires. You can do that by removing the wiring compartment on the lower side of the solar inverter. Ensure proper functioning by making internet connections to the inverter through wiring.

Three-phase inverter installations are often more complex, but they are easy with SMA inverters. One person can perform the installation alone. SMA inverters are great for residential and large-scale off-grid solar installations.

Fronius

Fronius inverters are even easier to install. The Austrian company features the SnapINverter technology in its inverters. This feature makes the installation process for a Fronius inverter more seamless.

Once you open the box, you’ll see the bolts located in the lower part of the solar inverter. These bolts attach the device to the mounting system, and you’ll need to unscrew them. Once done, use some screws to install the mounting on the wall.

Install the conduits to the DC, AC, and ground connections.

Sungrow

Among these three inverter brands, Sungrow has the easiest installation process. You need to drill three simple holes and adjust the mounting with some screws. Once done, you must slide the solar inverter and lock it with a padlock simultaneously.

Now, you can connect the AC and DC outputs and inputs on the lower side of the solar inverter. You won’t have to remove any wiring compartment, which makes the installation a lot easier.

Warranty

SMA

SMA offers buyers a 5-year factory warranty from the moment they purchase the SMA solar inverter (Sunny Boy or Sunny Tripower). Should the inverter encounter any damage, SMA guarantees to cover the costs of repair or replacement of any damaged parts of the product.

However, you can’t claim a warranty if the damage is due to insufficient device ventilation, incorrect installations, changes, transport damage, modifications, and natural disasters. You can extend the warranty on your SMA solar inverter.

With an additional cost of €3.58 per month, you can get up to 10, 15 or even 20 years more. You can visit SMA’s local Australian office in North Sydney for your warranty claim.

Fronius

Fronius offers you a 5-year warranty for purchasing their string inverter. If you register the solar inverter at solarweb.com, you’ll get an additional 5 years under the 5-year Fronius Warranty Plus. Fronius won’t cover the warranty if you don’t comply with their warranty conditions.

For example, you can’t make a warranty claim if the damage is due to improper operation, installation, or commissioning. If Fronius can’t identify the issue when examining the product, you won’t be able to claim a warranty. You can claim the warranty at Fronius’ local Australian office in Melbourne.

Sungrow

Sungrow inverters also come with at least a 5-year warranty from purchasing the solar inverter. All accessories included in the package also come with a Sungrow warranty for at least two years from installation. 

Sungrow reserves the right to repair damaged inverters using refurbished parts if needed. If you fail to fulfil their operating and maintenance instructions, the company won’t comply with your warranty claim. You can visit Sungrow’s local Australian office in North Sydney for your warranty claims.

Comparison of top inverter brands; SMA, Sungrow, and Fronius in terms of ease of installation and warranty:

Inverter companyInstallationWarranty
SMAEasy – requires the removal of any wiring compartmentA 5-year factory warranty that you can extend to up to 10, 15 or 20 years with an extra cost of €3.58 per month
FroniusEasier installation than SMA thanks to the SnapINverter technology5-year warranty extendable b another 5 years for registering at solarweb.com
SungrowEasiest – does not require the removal of any wiring compartmentAt least 5-year warranty and at least 2 years for all accessories included

What is the best inverter model from each manufacturer?

Fronius Primo is arguably the overall best inverter in Australia. But if you’re looking for the best solution in terms of efficiency, then Sungrow Premium is the way to go. If you need an inverter with unique features, your best bet is SMA Sunny Boy.

Overall Best Inverter: Fronius Primo

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Fronius Primo offers higher quality and performance than most solar inverters on the market. It is a single-phase device and is available in many different sizes. This inverter model is a big favourite among Aussies.

Fronius Primo stands out for its intelligent communication, high-efficiency innovative technologies, and monitoring platform. Like every other Fronius inverter model, Fronius Primo inverters come with a 5-year warranty as standard. But you can get an additional 5 years if you register your inverter on the Fronius Solar web.

Once registered on solarweb.com, the system can record data and share it via a mobile app and online portal for customers to access. The Fronius Primo inverter model has a flexible design and is smart grid ready, allowing two-way communication between solar users and the utility service provider.

With the Fronius smart meter, you can optimise household consumption and record the load curve of your home simultaneously.

Fronius Primo inverter
Price Estimate$1,500 to $3,000 (This estimate does not include installation costs)
Sizes Available3, 4, 5, 6, 8.2 kW
Efficiency98.1% maximum output

Fronius inverter standout features

Fronius Primo has many standout features including the SnapINverter technology, which makes servicing super easy. The inverter uses integrated data communication, meaning you can easily monitor your system’s operation from an app on your phone or online. 

Best Inverter – Efficiency: Sungrow Premium

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If high efficiency is what you’re looking for in a solar inverter, you can’t go wrong with Sungrow Premium. This inverter model is one of the most efficient inverters in Australia. It is super popular thanks to its high-performance levels, reliability, and lower price compared to other alternatives in the market.

It’s no surprise that the Sungrow Premium has made a name for itself in the Australian solar market, competing with the timeless classic, SMA, and crowd favourite Fronius. Sungrow Premium inverters come with a 10-year warranty as standard. Their compact design makes for easy portability and installation.

The solar inverter model has a high rating for the anti-corrosion feature (C5 level). With a WiFi monitoring feature, you can stay on top of your solar PV system’s operation. The smartphone app makes for an excellent monitoring platform for your solar system, and it is free. 

Sungrow Premium inverters come with a natural cooling feature that helps to prevent high ambient temperatures. These solar inverters are the ideal choice for residential applications. With an active cooling system, you can rest assured that your inverter won’t get too hot.

Sungrow Premium
Price Estimate$900 to $2,000 (This estimate does not include installation costs)
Sizes Available2, 2.5, 3, 5, 8 kW
Efficiency98.2 to 98.5% maximum output

Sungrow inverter standout features

Sungrow Premium inverters are on the top of the list of best solar inverters in Australia for many reasons. But the most outstanding one is their high efficiency. These solar inverters offer a whopping max efficiency of around 98.2 to 98.5 per cent, depending on model size.

They are more affordable than most competing inverter models providing the same or similar efficiency.

With this solar inverter model, you’ll enjoy 24-hour online solar system motoring through an app or the web.

Best Inverter – Unique Features: SMA Sunny Boy

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SMA Sunny Boy is the best solution for people looking for a small, compact, and efficient inverter. One unique feature of this inverter model is Shadefix. This function considers shading when running the solar system, maintaining high efficiency even with shading issues.

Sunny Boy solar inverters are easy to maintain. They run efficiently and make an ideal choice of solar inverters for residential use. The SMA Sunny Boy inverter model comes with a five-year warranty as standard, but you can extend this period.

Its reduced weight makes for ease of installation as one person can do the job. SMA Sunny Boy inverters offer more safety by detecting errors early and reporting them to the installer. You’ll benefit from minimal diagnosis and downtime with free and automatic inverter monitoring.

SMA Sunny Boy
Price Estimate$1,200 to $2,500 (This estimate does not include installation costs)
Sizes Available1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.6, 4, 5, 6 kW
Efficiency97% maximum output

SMA manufactures a wide range of commercial inverters, including hybrid inverters, microinverters and string inverters for your solar panel system. 

SMA inverter standout features

With specialised ‘Shadefix’ technology, SMA Sunny Boy keeps your solar PV system running optimally, even if covered or shaded. This individual panel optimisation means your solar system will function efficiently even when individual solar panels are experiencing shading issues. 

Although it’s less efficient than the Fronius Primo and the Sungrow Premium inverter models, it is still one of the best inverter solutions on the market. Apart from its numerous unique features, the SMA Sunny Boy inverter model is good because of its small and compact nature. It takes up minimal space.

Wrapping Up…

There are many things to consider when choosing a solar inverter. You want to go for a reputable brand that offers high-quality solutions at an affordable price. So, it makes sense to consider top names like SMA, Fronius, and Sungrow.

SMA is a leading company with many years of experience, high-quality standards, and excellent performance. But the only downside of the brand is its high price, as premium products sell at a premium price. Sungrow and Fronius are excellent alternatives that offer similar performance with high quality at lower prices.

Households looking for a hybrid installation with energy storage should go for brands like Fronius or Sungrow. But if what you need is an AC-coupled solution or you have a three-phase installation, SMA is your best bet. Feel free to consult our solar experts to find out what works best for you.Also, for those new to solar power, we have a piece on what solar inverters are and how they work.

Check Out Our Guides to Solar Inverters

We have a series of unique guides to solar, solar finance, batteries and more, if you are looking to do more in-depth research into solar inverters check the below:

1. What Are Solar Inverters? How Do They Work?
The solar inverter is a very important part of your solar power system: photovoltaic panels generate direct current (DC) when they receive sunlight, but your home appliances run with alternating current (AC) like that from the grid. In simple terms, the solar inverter is the device in charge of converting DC power to AC. 

2. How To Choose A Solar Inverter
There has never been a better time to switch to solar in Australia. Some households can even switch for $0. As the focus grows on solar energy, so does the list of available equipment. The solar inverter is like the heart of a solar system, and there are a number of considerations that go into choosing a suitable solar inverter.

3. Single-Phase vs Three-Phase Inverters: What Are They And Which One Do You Need?
Here is a common rule of thumb to help differentiate between single-phase vs three-phase inverters. Residential homes will usually use a single-phase power supply or inverter, while commercial or industrial facilities will use three-phase supplies.

4. What Do Solar Inverter Error Codes Mean
Solar inverter error codes notify you of a situation threatening the normal operation of your solar power system. Many different things can go wrong and disrupt electricity generation from a solar PV system. The inverter will detect it and generate corresponding error codes to notify you.

Next Steps

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Join over 20,000 homeowners who have made the switch with Instyle Solar, or the 1000+ positive reviewers who have been more than happy with their solar install.Otherwise, you can always contact us on 1300 133 556, or email if you prefer at [email protected].

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