18 Sep SMA Inverter Review | One Of The Best Solar Inverters In Australia
If one company that is indomitable and has left a footprint in the world of the inverter with its charismatic performance along with the most substantial features and variations, SMA comes first in the list, still charting the list as the world’s one of the top 2 inverters. Yes, you have heard it right. Their reign in the inverter’s industry for more than 35 years has yet proven how stronger and formidable they have grown over the years, leading almost all of the recent and advanced inverter manufacturers worldwide. Therefore, this SMA inverter review will explore all the core reasons for their successful venture.
SMA Inverter Review
In a short: Why are they the standalone inverter?
The question emerges, what is so good about them that other inverters are missing? Firstly, they are the European inverter, the legend or granddaddy of all the inverters brimmed over with excellent and the most distinctive features, originated in Niestetal, Germany. They are the pioneer of the world’s first string inverter, which had made lives easier for the first generations’ solar use by cutting the upfront costs, as well as paved the way by creating more hybrid and other forms of inverters.
They are one of the very few inverters manufactures that manufactures various ranges of inverters, designed for residential, commercial, utility-scale grid-tie, and off-grid systems. Even some of the best companies in the world sometimes cannot get their motive right in making those various types of inverters as it lacks one feature or another, but the SMA seems to take that defame out of your head, as long as you are willing to spend a bit more bucks to get their appealing inverters.
Having sold more than half a million inverters in Australia alone, SMA has proved that they are the complete package with a plethora of potentialities to meet Australians’ demands to take the best advantage of the renewable energy without encountering any flaws.
Is the high price really worth the quality of the inverter?
When it comes to SMA’s quality and performance, it has never learned to compromise since its inception until now. However, the company had a billion-dollar turnover – not queer but quite exceptional to have a balanced synchronization between the blinder performance and its high price. Its Sunny Boy and Sunny Tripower are the two main top-performers that are deemed head and shoulder above the other leading European and Chinese manufacturers.
One of the most contrasting aspects of SMA is it’s testing and QC checking. In order to reduce the burden of faulty or defective devices, SMA ensures the smooth manufacturing of the inverters by giving them thorough and comprehensive testing prior to leaving the factory.
How SMA is as a company and what is its background?
In this SMA inverter review, we will discuss a bit more on SMA’s history and its core operation throughout all these years. SMA is considered a benchmark for all the inverter manufacturers, including Fronius, SunGrow, Huawei, Growatt, etc. The SMA stands for System, Mess, and Anlagentechnic.
This company was founded in 1981 in Niestetal, Northern Hesse, Germany, way before the solar industry garnered the recognition and widespread demand. When this company was created, it became the best and number one solar inverter manufacturer companies in the world, establishing itself as the most expensive inverter of all time indeed.
Whether people are familiar or not with the solar system, anyone who you may ask to name the best inverter at that time, SMA would always pop out of their mouths. That’s the success of the SMA. SMA currently has over 5,000 employees from four continents in twenty countries, including Australia.
Is SMA Inverter the best solar inverter in Australia?
Being a sole manufacturer and inventor of solar inverter- compatible with on and off-grid, or any storage or backup inverters, the SMA has sold over 750,000 inverter units alone in Australia, which accounts for 35% of total solar energy used in Australia. With a worldwide installation of 90GW solar inverter, this tremendous amount of energy would have sufficed to shut down all the Australia’s power stations without needing to use any fossil fuel. Interesting, isn’t it?
As mentioned earlier, 5,000 people are employed from twenty countries, and Australia itself has 450 personnel to render you the service from installing the inverters to providing the customer support along with the maintenance and labor workforce. The SMA office in Australia is located in Sydney, NSW. Therefore, their physical support will lure you into purchasing their products without fostering any doubts whatsoever.
How Sunny boy evolved and what went wrong with it?
Sunny Boy is the most unique and famous inverter series of SMA, invented in between 2017-18. After the SMA’s establishment, it roared up higher in the list and that too with a huge profit, especially for its modern-technological advancement.
However, there was a deserted existence of any top-notch inverters at that time as there were very few manufacturers that actually showed up to build robust inverters to compete against SMA. Yet their latency became the main reason, which led all the fledgling inverter manufacturers not to come even inch closer to the SMA. We will talk more about Sunny Boy at some point in this SMA inverter review.
In contrast to the SMA’s previous fame, this inverter’s recognition and fame have seen a plummeted trend over the last few years due to having a growing competition from some of the Chinese’s magnificent, yet affordable inverter manufacturers. Sunny Boy is one of such quintessential examples, which underwent a severe loss at the beginning of its perilous journey.
One of Sunny Boy or SMA inverter’s prime reasons managed to create hype was its manufacturing in Germany. The company’s thrown out of the top list was the penance for its decision to move its manufacturing process to China for its lower cost. A tight-knit solar community and industry panned this decision. It led the company to rethink and switch back to its core root, Germany, in 2018, resulting in receiving the attention and fame back again for its omnipotent performance and reliability.
What kind of products/inverters does SMA produce?
1. Sunny Boy: Perfect inverter series for home and small-scale commercial properties with single-phase option.
2. Sunny Tripower: A three-phase medium-sized inverter with multi-megawatt capacity.
3. Sunny Tripower Core 1: Inverters for any type of commercial properties.
4. Sunny Central: Designed for large-scale commercial and utility system with an ability to generate multi-megawatt power.
5. Sunny Island: Designed to be used for off-grid solar system and can be used as multimode inverter/charger.
Some significant features of SMA inverters that our review content should cover:
SMA inverter review will describe some of the finest and conspicuous features of the SMA inverters as follows;
What is the efficiency rate of SMA inverter?
The flagship inverter, Sunny Boy 5.0, has an efficiency rate of 97%, making this one of the most demandable and popular inverters of SMA in Australia.
Are the SMA branded inverter compatible with Australian’s climate?
Indeed, they are. In fact, all of their inverters ranging from residential to commercial of both large and small-scale inverters are CEC approved. It means that they can withstand the harsh and inclement weather.
Is it possible to have an affordable SMA inverter?
There is no point in purchasing and installing an affordable and cheaper inverter if you have to face hurdles. Therefore, you must spend extra wee of money if you desire formidable and top-notch inverters without improvising with the odd ones. If money is a big concern for you against the best performance, don’t even look at the SMA inverter.
Excellent pre-sale and post-sale service:
Getting a premium inverter installed will only be successful when your experience of purchasing and installing the service to getting better customer support and handling the complaints will be put in place. SMA has the world’s leading customer support teams who help in decision-making and generate the right information and provide a comprehensive solution to your problems with their knowledgeable and expert opinions.
Phone numbers are located on their website, and you can call them from anywhere, including in Australia, in which you will be able to talk to someone who is a specialist to understand your reasons for phone calls and transfer the call to the right person. They are always friendly and ready to listen to you as the customer’s satisfaction is their priority. If you encounter any problem, they can also check your device and its activity using the remote monitoring system, saving both time and labor costs.
Can I consider adding a battery storage system to an SMA inverter?
Of course, you can and to make this process easy, rather than bringing out the hybrid inverter like other prominent brands where the two types of inverters are combined, SMA, on the other hand, offers you an individual battery inverter and a solar inverter. This, in turn, consequently helps you add as many battery storages as possible in the future along with a claim for feed-in-tariff. Apart from this SMA inverter review, you can also check out some of the Cyanergy’s other inverter review content here.
How SMA Shadefix software and TS4-R optimizer increase the yield?
SMA Shadefix is advanced software that sophisticatedly understands the panels’ errors when shading due to taller buildings or trees. Therefore, this software creates a diversion on the shaded panels to alternate the current path so that the current reaches to your appliances with the highest possible efficiency without facing any latency.
It allows the automatic-inverter-monitoring using the SMA smart connected system. Its advantage is that it takes less energy from the grid and more from your system’s excess energy to increase efficiency.
If you think that your inverter is still unable to produce as much power as it should even after adding the Shadefix, consider installing a TS4-R optimizer to boost efficiency cost-effectively.
Difference between existing optimizers and TS4-R.
Unlike other shaded panels that require individual inverters for each shaded panel, this TS4-R is needed only for the affected modules, causing the electrical current to less likely pass through the affected panels. However, it still allows the current to pass through it. As a result, you will have more efficiency to benefit from the system.
What is SMA Sunny Portal and what it’s relation to Sunny Home Manager?
SMA Sunny Portal is a unique monitoring system, which is compatible with the standard WiFi system. Once the system is installed, you, as a customer, might want to keep track of your daily consumption, including home energy consumption, to understand how much electricity you are saving at the end of the day. The Sunny portal can show you a series of graphs illustrating the regular consumption along with the performance of the solar system.
SMA sunny Portal.
Inverters like Sunny Boy and Sunny Tripower are the typical inverters that are deprived of the monitoring system. Hence, the need for this software using the firmware of the inverter is very dire. However, if you need to know the insight of the solar system to monitor what’s going on such as external energy supply, direct consumption or grid feed-in, you must have a Sunny Home Manager.
Sunny Home Manager 2.0
However, the manager’s price is exorbitant with worth around $900, but once you incorporate it with your existing Sunny Portal, it becomes replete with functionalities. Since there is a partnership between Tigo and SMA, installing the Tigo optimizers with the panels lets the property owner get an insight into each panel’s performance individually.
What is the warranty of SMA inverter?
We will cover a few of the important aspects of warranty of SMA inverters in this SMA inverter review.
- All SMA inverters come with a 5-year warranty with an additional option for the extending the warranty to 10, 15, or 20 years provided that the model has to be included in the warranty list.
- This warranty will cover all the expenditures allocated for any unlikely events, such as issue/failure, shipping, and on-site replacement.
- Any unauthorized changes or damages or alteration to the physical structure to any hardware damage, SMA limited factory warranty will be terminated instantly, regardless of the original date of the warranty.
- To know the number of years of the factory warranty of the selected SMA products, you can click the link to know more.
What are the various types of SMA inverters?
The main three types of inverter series of SMA manufactures are: Sunny Boy, Sunny Tripower, and Sunny Tripower Core
1. Sunny Boy:
- The most famous and popular series of all. Ranges from 3.0, 3.6, 4.0, 5.0 and 6.0kw.
- Single-phase inverter with maximum efficiency of up to 97%.
- Very lightweight and compact, weighing around 16kg. However, 1.5, 2.0 and 2.5kw are much lighter.
- Free monitoring system using the software called “SMA Smart Connected.” It enables both the installers and
- users to get informed about any anomalies.
- “SMA Smart Connected” automatically diagnoses the faulty inverter and sends messages to installer regarding the faulty inverter.
- Maximum temperature it can operate is +60 degC.
- Degree of protection is IP65.
- Comes with 5 years warranty but can be extended to 10 and 15 years.
- Dynamic feed-in control
- Bright red color.
- It has no display. Therefore, more hassle to install.
- It has to be set up using only the WiFi connection or Bluetooth. So, having a problem in the connection can lead to more trouble.
- Less reliability due to poor connection issue.
2. Sunny Tripower:
- It’s quite similar to Sunny Boy but blue in color and comes with 3.0-6.0kW.
- The tiny residentially used inverters are revamped in compact size and shape.
- This is a three-phase medium-sized inverter used particularly for the residential and commercial properties with its multi-megawatt capacity.
- It is IP65 protected.
- It is either transformerless or uses opticool technology to reduce the energy wastage by cooling the heating source.
- It comes with 5 years warranty but can be extended to 5, 10, 15, and 20 years.
- The capacity ranges from 3.0 to 6.0kW. However, the new compact models come with 8.0 and 10.0kW.
- It still comes with 20000TL and 25000TL version in which the maximum efficiencies are 98.4% and 98.3% respectively. It has web connect system called “SMA Smart Connected.”
- The 25000TL version comes with display.
- They turn out reliable in the large-commercial use.
- DC surge arrester (SPD type II) for the safety.
- DC input voltage of up to 1000 V.
- The larger inverters weigh 61kg except the new compact sized inverters.
- The 20000TL doesn’t have the display. Therefore, the setup via WiFi is very frustrating if the connection is not swift.
3. Sunny Tripower Core 1:
- It is one of the most powerful inverters capable of generating electricity for any commercial types of inverters.
- It has 6 MPPT inputs to increase the efficiency and performance by overcoming the barrier of placing the array in a slightly different angle.
- This 50kW inverter is awarded for its marvelous design as this is the world’s first standing string inverter.
- Without mounting it, it can stand on the ground or roof without the support of wall.
- The capacity ranges from 50kW to 1000kW.
- Integrated WiFi is supported to use SMA Smart Control. Yet reduce time and labor costs.
- 60% faster to install as it doesn’t require any mounting against the wall.
- Up to 150% over-dimensioning of PV array.
- Lowest LCOE (Levelized cost of energy).
- SMA’s intelligent OptiCool cooling technology is used to reduce the energy wastage by cooling the heating source.
In essence, it is clear that the ironclad performance of the SMA inverter both as a commercial and residential solar system is hard to challenge. SMA has proven how with the help of the strong determination, as well as persistent quality, can make such a fine inverter that can challenge any inverters out in the market.
The only handicap was its decision to go to China to manufacture Sunny Boy inverter out for which they were heavily vilified. Now, it’s time for the SMA inverter to stay as firmed as now and compete with its versatility and rigorous performance. Should you require any information, feel free to comment below.