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SMA Inverter Review| Perfect Pick for Off-grid Solar System
SMA inverter review

SMA Inverter Review| Perfect Pick for Off-grid Solar System

Published on:
May 5, 2022
Back in 1981, when solar systems were still a new thing to many, SMA started taking baby steps. What about their origin? They are a proud German company, and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you twice that Germans created some of the most exemplary pieces of tech throughout history, and SMA inverters surely hold up that legacy.
Particularly in Australia, there used to be a time when SMA stole all the hype when anyone brought up the topic of residential string inverters. Despite the seemingly high price, people put their faith in SMA because of the high return on investment that other customers experienced. So, SMA is and was the tried and tested trusted solar inverters brand.
SMA has invested a lot in their research and development, which is why they are considered a solar icon within the industry. You may wonder, every other company does R&D, so what sets them apart? Along with winning countless awards for their fascinating solar inventions, they have been awarded the ‘Top employer for engineers’ award a lot of times in consecutive years! Which says a lot about their passion and dedication toward R&D. Wouldn’t you agree?
SMA inverters
A quick glimpse of the SMA inverter:
Most Popular Model (Residential)Sunny boy
Most Popular Model (Commercial)Sunny Tripower Core1
Tier 1 StatusYes
OriginGermany
Price Range$$$$

Where are SMA Inverters Manufactured?

SMA’s manufacturing plants exist in both Germany and China. They are a German brand, so it’s a no-brainer. Also, having a Chinese manufacturing plant makes perfect sense, though it has a little backstory to it.
SMA did not always manufacture in China; in fact, they were almost avoiding it all together. However, the idea was not completely off the table. After they acquired the Chinese inverter manufacturing company ‘Zeversolar’ in 2012, they oversaw the manufacturing process and got to know the true potential of a Chinese manufacturing plant in the span of 5 long years.
After which, they made the decision to make SMA branded inverters in China too. But only the single-phase inverters are being produced there; the 3 phase inverters are still all made in Germany.
Keep in mind that ALL of their inverters are designed in Germany, but only some are manufactured in China.
Wondering if they have an office near you? Yes, they do. The SMA Australia office is located at 213 Miller Street, North Sydney, NSW 2060, Australia.

SMA ShadeFix- A Patented Piece of Tech to Tackle Shading Issues

ShadeFix is an absolutely FREE optimization technique that SMA developed over the years to provide a hassle-free solar experience. Cloud free day with clear skies all throughout the years is an impossible phenomenon; that’s why SMA inverter found a way to work around the issues and developed ShadeFix as a fix for the shading issues.
SMA ShadeFix has been determining the operating point with the maximum output during shading situations for many years using a clever and proven MPP tracking technology. To maximize yield in shaded systems, SMA solar inverters utilise the greatest possible energy supply from the PV modules at all times using SMA ShadeFix.

Available Models of SMA Inverters in the Australian Market

SMA has some phenomenal inverters to offer; here are some of them in brief. If you want to know about their performance and ROI in detail, follow this link to their website and learn all about them.

Sunny Tripower 8.0/10.0 kW

This is a string inverter that offers incredible yields even in partial shading conditions. If you are looking to power your house or a small office, Tripower can suffice those needs and even surpass them at times. Here are some of the traits of it at a glance-
  • As the inverter is incredibly lightweight, 20.5kgs to be exact, it’s a one-person job to install it with ease.
  • Thanks to the patented ‘ShadeFix’ function present in Sunny Tripower, minor shading issues can no longer affect your total yield of energy, which is a common story for others.
  • Maximum efficiency is as high as 98.3%
SMA Sunny Tripower 8kW solar inverter
  • This tiny little dude will cram into a comfortable place, as it’s small in size.
  • You have the option to expand at any given moment as the addition of intelligent energy management, and storage solutions can be anytime.
  • The inverter will take charge and inform you in case of any failure in the shortest time, saving you diagnosis downtime.
  • It emits only 30db of noise which is equivalent to whispering.
  • Initially comes with 5 years of warranty but is easily expandable to 10/15 years.
  • Comes with an IP65 rated protection, meaning if you accidentally splash the inverter, it won’t be ruined (probably).
  • It’s either transformerless or employs opticool technology to cool the heating source and decrease energy waste.
Sunny Tripower 8.0/10.0 kW: Specifications

Sunny Boy

The sunny boy is the most famous inverter that SMA has. We will not say that this is necessarily the best that SMA has to offer, but customers have praised its amazing performance. Here is a list of facts about the Sunny boy-
  • Maximum efficiency is 97%
  • Maximum transparency ensured thanks to visualization in the Sunny Portal / SMA Energy App.
  • Comes with a 5-year warranty; however, its expandable to 10.
  • Weighing about 17.5kgs, Sunny boy can be installed by a single person with ease .
  • The installation process is pretty easy, and plug & play.
  • With an IP65 rating, your inverter will be saved from water splashes.
  • Transformerless topology.
  • Convection cooling method to ensure high yield.
  • SMA ShadeFix’s integrated shade control system increases yield without requiring additional installation time.
  • A compact design that requires minimum space.
Sunny Boy: Specifications

Sunny Tripower Core 1

This inverter is great for a commercial setting as well as an off-grid project because this beast of an inverter stands alone to tackle all your PV needs. With its excellent features and award-wining capabilities that are well talked about, it’s a market leader. Let’s get to know it a little better.
  • The Sunny Tripower CORE1 is the world’s first free-standing string inverter for rooftop and ground-based photovoltaic installations.
  • 6 MPPTs with two strings per MPPT for better optimisation.
SMA Sunny Tripower Core 1 solar inverters
  • Even under difficult conditions, SMA’s sophisticated “OptiCool” cooling technology is dependable and provides optimal energy output. It’s also cheap to maintain.
  • The smart inverter screen allows for quick commissioning, saving both time and money.
  • Fixes the shade issue with their patented tech ShadeFix.
  • The capacity ranges from 50kW to 1000kW.
  • It’s 60 percent faster to install because it doesn’t require any wall mounting.
  • Maximum efficiency is 98.1%
  • IP65 rated protection provided.
  • AC/DC overvoltage protection.
  • Integrated Wi-Fi access with any mobile device.
  • 2017 solar award winner
Sunny Tripower Core 1: Specifications

Sunny Island- Battery Inverter

SMA inverters are one of the best choices you can make for your off-grid solar system project, and the sunny island battery inverter is one of those models that do justice to the cause. Here are its features
  • The Sunny Island can be quickly and easily configured and monitored using Smartphones or tablets thanks to its integrated user interface and standard WLAN and Ethernet connections.
  • It stores some self-generated power to be used at a later time.
  • Maximum efficiency rate is 95.8%
  • The operating temperature range is −25°C to +60°C, meaning the energy generation won’t be harmed in extreme weather conditions.
  • 10 years of warranty provided.
  • High-quality li-on and lead-acid batteries are used in different variations of the SMA inverter.
  • For off-grid operation, it takes less than 20ms to switch to the battery backup on a bad day and about 0ms any other day.
Sunny Island- Battery Inverter: Specifications
Like what you see? Then click here to buy now!

Side by Side Comparison of SMA Inverter (Table)

CategorySunny TripowerSunny boySunny Tripower Core1Sunny Island
Max apparent power10000 VA6000 VA50000 VA6720 VA
Efficiency98.30%97%98.10%95.80%
Weight20.5kg17.5kg84kg63kg
Noise emission30dB25dB<65dB-
TopologyTransformerlessTransformerlessTransformerless-
MPPT226-
EthernetYesYesYesYes
Degree of protectionIP65IP65IP65IP54
Warranty5-15 years5-10years5-20 years (guarantee)10years
SMA solar inverter

Advantages and Disadvantages of SMA Inverter

Let’s take a look at SMA inverters to judge the big picture at a glance

Pros

  • The ShadeFix technology of SMA that they developed and improving as we speak is something exceptional that only SMA offers. With this, they can tackle the shading issues, which is a huge factor that affects ROI directly.
  • Off-grid projects are one of the specialty fields as SMA inverters (selected models) are built that way.
  • Their Opticool technology lowers the temperature significantly to keep the mechanism going at its full capacity. Yes, it’s exclusive to them.
  • Most of the inverters come with a minimum of 5 to a maximum of 15 years of warranty. And the tripower core1 even guarantees a 20-year service which is a huge claim.
  • Having an Australian office to connect to offline is a massive advantage.
  • Most of all, they have been reviewed positively by many customers, which makes their words weigh more than others.

Cons

  • SMA inverters are not cheap by any means. Only if budget isn’t an issue for you, I would highly suggest you give SMA a go.
  • Without a screen on some models, it’s harder to take a look on the go.

SMA Inverter Monitoring System

Here are the different ways you can keep track of the performance of your solar system-

Sunny Portal

SMA Sunny Portal is a one-of-a-kind monitoring solution that works with any Wi-Fi network. Following the installation of the system, you as a customer may wish to keep track of your daily use, including domestic energy consumption, to see how much electricity you are saving at the end of the day. The Sunny site may display a series of graphs depicting normal use as well as the solar system’s performance.
SMA Sunny Portal
Sunny Boy and Sunny Tripower inverters are examples of inverters that do not have a digital screen thus cannot show you a stat of energy usage. As a result, the necessity for this program that uses the inverter’s firmware is critical.

SMA Energy App

Starting from optimizing your energy sources to charging your electric vehicle, the brand-new energy app can do it all. The SMA energy app is a one-stop solution to keep track of everything through the phone screen.

Warranty of SMA Inverter

Roughly all of the models of SMA inverters come with a minimum warranty period of 5 years, which can be extended to 10,15 or 20 years depending on the model of the inverter. With the extended warranty comes many benefits starting from replacing the faulty unit to 24/7 support from professionals.

Conclusion

SMA inverters are a one-of-a-kind piece of tech that is excellent at any setting let it be residential, commercial, or off-grid solar. If you do not have any budget concerns, then SMA inverters can be an excellent choice. As a solar installer ourselves, we have many happy clients who have been getting excellent ROI using SMA. On that note, if you want to know in detail about the inverter or want to get a customised quote, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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