When it comes to choosing the best solar panel inverter in Cairns, the top 5 inverters on the NQ solar market should not be overlooked. Smart solar inverter features including solar monitoring, DC optimisation and weatherproofing play roles in the latest designs and features that lead to Hielscher Solar’s top 5 Cairns solar inverter leader board.
In the past few years, SolarEdge inverters have increasingly become popular in the Australian solar market and other leading global markets, thanks to their unique design and features like DC optimisers which allow individual solar panel level control and monitoring.
The SolarEdge HD wave
The latest HD wave (HD wave (SE-H series) is one of the tiniest and lightest inverters on the market today and is considered the most efficient at 99% for the big sized 5-6kW models.
This next gen inverter utilises hi-tech thin film capacitors and digital processors to generate a clean AC output with minimal losses. All inverters manufactured by SolarEdge must be installed together with the DC optimisers which play the vital role of a string inverter and this is one reason why the SolarEdge HD wave stands out as a small but highly efficient inverter.
The number one advantage that gives SolarEdge the edge in this niche is its solar panel level monitoring and energy optimisation capabilities which utilise panel mounted DC optimisers.
Individual panel level monitoring using optimisers
DC Optimisers are generally tiny electronic modules affixed to the backs of panels to allow individual solar panel level monitoring and energy optimisation. In the past, individual solar panel monitoring only worked through the use of micro inverters in combination with various add-on optimisers such as those manufactured by Tigo Energy.
The unrivalled SolarEdge Optimisers allow usage of longer strings of solar panels (up to 22 modules) combined with improved safety and ability to reduce the damaging effects of shading and solar panel defects, in addition to providing early detection of possible problems. However, these can increase the complexity of the system and given that the electronic device is installed on the rooftops which are exposed to all kinds of elements including dirt, strong winds, hailstones etc, there’s great potential for causing problems in the future.
Are you experiencing a shading issue? If you’re having a complex roof profile or installation faced with a shading problem, then this inverter is for you. SolarEdge inverters also come with an industry leading 12-year warranty period.
SolarEdge inverters come with ‘optional’ wifi which works together with optimisers to provide accurate energy output data for every individual panel. This makes this system monitoring an effective tool for helping installers to detect faults. In addition, SolarEdge boasts one of the best smartphone apps used for remote system monitoring.
Off-grid – Fronius – Seletronic
This is one of the smartest components is the built-in solar DC isolator that renders an external isolator box unnecessary, making the installation simpler and neater. Additionally, the distinct snap-in design ensures that the process of installation and servicing is a lot easier.
The ECO inverters and Fronius 3-phased Symo are widely considered as the most reliable commercial inverters that have for years dominated the large-scale solar panel market thanks to their unique features and unmatched reliability.
The WiFi monitoring is another standard feature that comes fully incorporated in all inverters via the Fronius Solar.Web. As an add-on feature, the Fronius Smart meter allows easier monitoring of energy production and usage and can be installed as a complete energy monitoring system for a home.
There’s also a free solarweb smartphone application for android of iOS. In addition, the option of adding the Fronius Ohmpilot is also availed so as to automatically use surplus solar power to heat water.
The German-based manufacturer—SMA Solar Technologies was ranked the best string inverter maker on the global market before Fronius’ snap-series took first position in 2016.
The decision by SMA to set up their new AV series manufacturing plant in China instead of Germany seems to have negatively affected the company’s sales and reputation, but the company relocated its manufacturing base back to Germany since the beginning of 2019.
SMA’s bigger 3-phased commercial inverters manufactured in Germany are still regarded as the best ever inverters on the global market.
Inverters from SMA boast a proven track record for reliability and highest quality. The company’s local support and servicing are dependable. The company goes on to provide an optional additional 10-year warranty period.
Unlike the popular Sunny Boy TL inverters, the advanced AV inverter series produced by SMA has no display panel and fully depends on WiFi communication for its setup as well as monitoring.
Notably, display-less inverters are becoming a craze in the industry as an increasing number of manufacturers release new and more advanced models that have no display. A digital display within an outdoor environment can prove problematic hence reducing faults and warranty shortcomings in future, but only if the communication process is stable and reliable. In the absence of a WiFi signal and with no display, it becomes challenging troubleshooting the system in case a problem occurs.
SMA Sunny Portal – SMA boasts one of the most advanced free monitoring app packages in the market popularly referred to as the Sunny portal. Given that the newly designed Sunny boy inverters feature no display for the system’s setup and monitoring, dependable communications will be crucial in ensuring the success of newer models. Most inverters from SMA come with the WiFi webconnect feature as standard plus a Sunny home manager 2.0 (an energy meter), a complete easy-to-install and use home energy monitoring system. Keep in mind that the Sunny portal mobile software for android was inefficient without real-time data availability hence SMA has more work to do.
Sungrow Inverter review
Established in 1997 by a university professor, Sungrow has grown to become one of the world’s biggest suppliers of solar inverters and the no. 1 manufacturer of inverters in China. Most notably, the company’s residential SG-KTL inverters have grown in popularity in Australia thanks to their reasonable prices, good reliability reputation and the fact that Sungrow is a renowned player in the global market reputed for excellent service and high quality products when compared to other Chinese inverter makers. Sungrow provides great support from their Australian office based in Sydney, and this has served to solidify them in this industry.
Besides their highly regarded SG-KTL series of inverters, Sungrow also produces the leading hybrid solar inverters on the global market—the SHK5+ESS model which is well considered a reliable and cost-effective solar inverter for home battery storage systems and comes complete with an optional backup device for safeguarding during a power outage.
The company’s next generation Crystal G2 and SH5K-20 hybrid and solar inverters currently in the pipeline are thought to be equally impressive.
Sungrow inverters feature WiFi connectivity monitoring as a standard element on all their residential models via the online monitoring portal SolarInfo Bank which is somehow obsolete. Their smart phone software however looks stylish and modern.
Current Solax X1 series inverter
SolaX Power is a new entrant into the inverter manufacturing market and remained unpopular until after the launch of their economical battery X-hybrid inverter. SolaX is a subsidiary of the much established Suntellite Group in China that specialises in manufacture of solar panels, cells and inverters with emphasis on research and development. This explains why SolaX Power has been producing top quality inverters with hi-tech features when compared to other Chinese manufacturers.
The company also boasts a strong presence worldwide with its Australian support office situated in Melbourne. The current X1 series of inverters don’t resemble the sleek European competitors but with nearly half the price, of course they can’t compete on such a level and as a matter of fact their motto says it all—simple, reliable & efficient.
The new look Solax X1 boost inverter
One of the most outstanding features about SolaX inverters is the reasonably priced X-hybrid unit which is considered one of the most affordable battery-ready solar inverters in the industry.
As a result of the low-cost pricing, the latest range of inverters from SolaX Power expected to be rolled out into the market in the near future may compel premium inverter brands above to cut their pricing.
SolaX Power is also ranked among the few notable inverter manufacturers to create the large 3-phased hybrid battery inverters for the larger commercial and residential applications.
The SolaX Power web monitoring portal V2 is really captivating and provides easy access using smartphone apps or the web interface which is integrated with battery management features to support email reporting and hybrid systems, with the WiFi package being optional.
In addition to the most reputable inverters in the industry, it is worthwhile to highlight other high quality and growing inverter manufacturers. Most of these brands are quite reliable but only lack the ability to provide prompt service or support when an issue arises. We consider Goodwe and Ingeteam as the other most reliable solar inverter manufacturers.
The latest Huawei fusion solar and hybrid inverter combined with optimiser and HV battery compatibility
Huawei, a Chinese electronics giant previously renowned for electronic devices and smartphones made their big leap into the Australian solar market in 2018 and are here to stay.
The company which is ranked the biggest solar inverter manufacturer globally with a broad range of large-scale inverters, has for the last 10 years pumped billions of dollars into research and development.
The SUN2000L is Huawei’s first residential solar inverter which comes in a range of sizes starting from 2Kw to 5kW. It also works as a hybrid inverter and is designed to be highly compact but lightweight at 10.6kg. The solar inverter in some way resembles the SolarEdge HD wave inverter which combines optimisers for individual panel optimisation just like the micro inverters. But unlike the HD wave inverter, the SUN2000L can work with or without solar optimisers. The Huawei inverter is a hybrid system and as such utilises built-in ‘high voltage’ DC that couples a battery interface designed to be compatible with the reputed LG chem RESUH batteries. However, no backup power is available but the company says it’s working on it.
The Neteco monitoring systems are considered great and friendly, and provide easy-to-read interface and several other advanced data logging and monitoring capabilities. The FusionHome app also supports direct connectivity.
Currently, the inverters sales in Australia aren’t impressive but considering its advanced features, it’s just a matter of time before the inverter rises to compete with the premium manufacturers especially when the battery backup unit becomes available later this year.
The latest model UNO solar inverter from ABB
ABB is a top-rated manufacturer although many solar installers consider their PVI range of inverters as outdated, experiencing a higher failure rate from their older inverters branded ‘Aurora’. ABB acquired Aurora’s ‘Power-one’ way back in 2013 and hence must address any issue relating to service or warranty claims arising from the older Aurora inverters.
An old ‘Aurora’ PVI inverter
Our crew spoke to various installers who cited slow and unreliable customer service in comparison with other manufacturers despite the fact that ABB is a trusted brand in the industry. ABB’s good reputation is now pegged on its recently launched series of UNO-TL and UNO-TL-DM-PLUS single phased solar inverters. But again, the success of their latest UNO range will hugely rely on the kind of service and support offered to customers in case of any arising faults and or warranty claims.
The recent UNO inverters feature ordinary plug and play interfaces which are lighter and more compact, providing a unique back-up of AC supply in the event of power outages. It’s still unclear how this works without any storage battery but it’s definitely a very intelligent and groundbreaking innovation.
ABB’s monitoring systems are not popular in the market though they recently released a WiFi logger card (VSN300) which is compatible with all UNO and TRIO (3 phased) inverters. The latest UNO-DM-PLUS inverter series comes complete with WiFi as standard and provides some unique features for smart grid (zero feed-in) and smart home applications. Hopefully, the WiFi logger will be integrated in all subsequent models.
Ingeteam is a trusted premium inverter manufacturer based in Europe and a new entrant into the seemingly competitive but small-scale Australian solar industry despite being a giant multinational company with a proven history for manufacturing power conversion equipment. The company which originates from Spain has advanced R7D features and currently manufactures a broad range of high quality hybrid and solar inverters for both the residential and commercial markets, besides their larger utility-scale central inverters.
Its residential (2.5-6kW) 1Play TL-M range dual MPPT inverters are innovatively engineered with several advanced features including monitoring, but unfortunately, none of our very own Australian specialists have direct experience. Hopefully Ingeteam will do something about it in the near future.
Goodwe DT series
GoodWe is a well-established Chinese inverter maker incepted in 2010. Just like most Chinese brands, GoodWe name carries a mixed reputation within the Australian market owing to previous quality issues though the company has considerably worked on that over the past few years.
The company’s hybrid solar inverters (GW5048D-ES) are distinct products that are highly regarded in the industry for top quality even as more manufacturers incorporate this GoodWe’s inverter into their own home battery storage systems (ESS). All GoodWe solar inverters come with standard WiFi monitoring.
Delta RPI inverter review
Delta is widely regarded by solar installers as one of the best value Chinese manufactured inverters. This is expected considering that Delta Group is a large global electronics company known for manufacturing quality power control systems worldwide since 1971.
Unfortunately, the company’s latest RPI range hasn’t gained much popularity among installers, most probably because of the fierce competition from the low-cost inverter makers. Given their standard 10-year product warranty and Australian office situated in Melbourne, it’s bound to be one of the most trusted inverters available on the market.
© Hielscher Electrical Solar Energy 2019