What Are Solar Inverters? What are the top solar inverter manufacturers in the market nowaday?
A solar inverter or also known as PV inverter, is a type of an electrical device which converts the variable direct current output of a photovoltaic solar panel into a utility frequency alternating current. From there, the energy can be fed into a commercial electrical grid or used by a local, off-grid electrical network.
Over years, many producers have produced a lot of good solar inverters to the market. They now became the most popular solar inverters companies.
In this article, I will reveal the top 10 solar inverter manufacturers for you if you are planning to install the solar inverters for home usage.
You can also use these solar inverters to feed into the commercial electrical grid for many purposes.
What To Look For When Buying A Solar Inverter?
Follow the criterias on what to look for when buying solar products.
Top 10 Solar Inverter Manufacturers
FRONIUS SOLAR INVERTER
This inverter became widely known after the unique snap-in design, which eases installation and servicing was released. The built-in smart grid feature operates well even with the involvement of the complex grids. It comes with an integrated solar DC isolator removing the need for an external isolator box.
Fronius inverter is exceptional because of its Wi-Fi enabled system monitoring. The energy consumption is monitored well with the presence of a smart meter, which serves as a home monitoring system.
Fronius provides a free android and IOS solar web application, and their inverters come with a warranty of 5-10 years by registering the inverter online. Other inverters by Fronius are; grid-connected, string, and central inverters.
The exceptional and quality performance, including the excellent monitoring features with friendly customer services, attract customers to Fronius inverters. The efficiency ranges from 97 to 98%.
Gunter Fronius founded the company in Austria, 1945. Later, Fronius extended its operation to Australia, where demands for solar products are met, technical assistance, product demonstrations, and training courses.
Below are some of the awards won by Fronius for its excellent products and services:
- IF Design (2015)
- Plus X (2013)
- Smart Grids Pioneer (2014)
- Red-dot Design (2013)
SOLAREDGE SOLAR INVERTER
The Company manufactures an intelligent inverter system, which uses DC optimizers to execute monitoring at each plane level, maximizes power generation. The optimizers used by SolarEdge permit long strings of panels and increase safety. This reduces the effect of shading and panel faults.
However, the incipient setup, installation cost, and time are higher compared to regular string inverters. The following are the benefits solar edge inverters provide:
- Layout and design flexibility
- Early detection of potential problems
- Shade tolerance
- Panel level monitoring
- Efficient troubleshooting
Also, the use of the solar-edge optimizers gives the customers a safety advantage.
The DC optimizers reduce the cable voltage to 1 volt in case of grid or inverter shutdown, which is much safer than standard strings of solar panels with a voltage ranging between 300 to 600 volts.
Solar Edge recently launched one of the smallest and lightweight inverters, i.e., HD wave (SE-H series).
This inverter uses thin-film capacitors and digital processors for AC production and results in a few losses. Its efficiency is 99% and produces a clean AC output.
SOLAREDGE SOLAR INVERTER gives 25 years and 12 years of warranty on its power optimizers and inverters.
You can extend the warranty for up to 20-25 years. Also, SolarEdge has the best android application for remote monitoring. The lower failure rate and improved performance increase its popularity.
SMA Solar Inverter
SMA solar technologies are German manufacturers who provide the best reliable quality solar products and inverters. Sunny Boy inverters are one of SMA’s most popular inverters, which operates averagely on 97% efficiency.
Web-based monitoring software packages for SMA customers. The package includes:
- Sunny portal
- Sunny view
- SMA energy meter
- Sunny Home Manager
The latest AV inverter series launched by SMA solely relies on Wi-Fi communications, unlike the Sunny Boy inverter that does not have a display panel.
The AV inverter can reduce the failure rate and warranty issue since a display panel in an outdoor environment attracts faults.
All SMA inverters come with a 5-year warranty, which can be extended to 10, 15, and 20 years depending on the model. The warranty captures the cost of shipping and on-site replacement in case of an unpredictable failure.
The reliability and high quality of the inverter make it safer to use. However, the downside is of the high cost when it comes to availing of their superior features.
SMA had won many quality awards due to its exceptional quality products. Below are some of the achievements:
– INTER SOLAR Award 2010 for the Central 800cp central inverter.
– EES Award 2016 (Europe’s largest exhibition for batteries and energy storage systems) for the Sunny Boy Storage.
– Smart Energy Award 2013 for the SMA Smart Home comprehensive energy management solution.
– INTER SOLAR Outstanding solar projects Award 2016 for the photovoltaic diesel hybrid system
Huawei Fusion Solar Inverter
Huawei is one of the biggest manufacturers of solar inverters globally. The company spent billions on research and development in the field of solar technology.
The first residential inverter Huawei manufactured is SUN2000L, which is small and lightweight, weighing 10.6kg.
It is available in different sizes ranging from 2 to 5kW.
SUN200L, like the SolarEdge HD inverter, uses optimizers for plane level optimization and monitoring. However, it can function with or without the optimizers.
Below are the advantages of SUN2000L:
- The installation can be done without the optimizer as well as a standard string inverter.
- It comes with a built-in IV curve tester, which can accurately find a panel’s degradation fault.
- It is a hybrid inverter with a built-in high voltage DC-coupling battery interface compatible with LG Chem batteries. But, there is no backup power supply provided yet.
- Installation of inverters can only happen on selective shaded panels for cost reduction.
- It has a variable input voltage and can operate on a voltage as low as 90, which differentiates it from other inverters.
- All Huawei-made inverters have LTE communication capabilities that eliminate Wi-Fi dropouts, ensuring that the system is up to date with active warnings.
- Huawei inverter is no less than an inverter provided by other brands. The features that make it a great inverter are; Optional optimizer technology, LTE communication, a built-in battery interface, innovative design, and a 10-year warranty.
ENPHASE MICRO INVERTERS
In the solar industry headquartered in the United States, Enphase is the most popular and reputable micro-inverters manufacturer.
With more than 17 million units manufactured up to date, Emphase is considered a global leader in the micro-inverter industry.
Micro-inverter work on panel-level resulting in a flexible design, improved performance, and safety. Micro-inverters are more efficient than solar edge power optimizers due to their intricate design, and they have a high cost.
Emphase has launched the Enphase IQ 7 series of micro-inverters that are more suited for residential solar systems. The series is lightweight and produces 23% more power as compared to the previous series.
The Enphase micro-inverter is not compatible with the Tesla power wall, but it manufactures a storage product that can be used with its micro-inverter. The warranty is for 25 years.
ABB SOLAR INVERTERS
ABB manufactures cost-efficient, powerful, 3 phase string inverters and single ones. These inverters arrange from 2 to 50kW in size, and they are easily installed. The string inverters get designed for solar systems installed on commercial and residential buildings.
Below are some of the advantages of ABB solar inverters
– Wide DC input voltage range
– Detachable control unit with graphical display
Warranty: The inverters come with a 5-year warranty, which can be extended to 10-20 years for a fee. The efficiency is 97%, and they offer low prices. Their monitoring service is virtual through the Aurora Vision Plant Management platform.
OUTBACK POWER INVERTER
The inverter is known for its off-grid inverters/storage units. However, recently, they have been entering the central inverter space, and their mission is ‘making system design and installation easier and faster in grid-interactive and comprehensive off-grid applications.’ Their “hallmark” inverter is labeled as the “Radiant Series.” Below are the specs:
– NEW Frequency shifting AC coupling
– Grid-interactive and stand-alone capability in one package
– Unsurpassed surge capacity
– Dual AC inputs
– Field serviceable modular design
– GSLC load center option for quick and easy installation
This outback inverter has an attractive model that is Grid zero. The inverter/battery storage goal is to minimize the grid’s power by using renewable and stored power for home-usage.
Warranty: It’s a 5-year and a 2-year limited warranty against defect and fan, respectively.
GINLONG Solar Inverters
It is one of the largest and older inverter manufacturers globally, established in 2005, Ningbo, China. Although most of their business is done outside the US, the company keeps getting awards and running for the top inverter brand by EUPD. EUPD is a European organization which helps businesses thrive and compete in today’s market.
Ginlog Solis makes single-phase, three-phase, utility-scale, and energy storage inverters. The single and three-phase inverters are used for residential solar systems and commercial, respectively.
Ginlong Solis Inverter Features
- Sunspec communication protocol with optional cellular and Wi-Fi interface
- Built-in Module Level Rapid shutdown transmitter, NEC 2017: 690.12 compliance
- Optional Built-in Revenue Grade Meter, ANSI C12.20-2010 compliance
- Rapidly dynamic MPPTs and industry-leading DC voltage range integrated Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI)
- 98.1% peak efficiency (97.3% CEC efficiency)
- 10 years standard warranty with extension options
A Texas-based company that majors in inverter/generator technology. Their goal is to lighten the load of electricity pulled from the grid to maximize one’s renewable power and be more independent. Also, they innovate for the completely off-grid systems.
An interesting perk Sol-Ark provides for its customers is an in-depth monitoring system available as an application for your smartphone. This app can tell you the source from which your power, panel, storage, or grid originates and gives you the option to switch where you want your electricity load to come from.
The model most commonly sold is their Sol-Ark 8k.
- Claims only 4% loses versus the industry standard of 14%
- Pumps power just like a grid so you can use 120V and 240V appliances simultaneously.
- Manages power for the grid, battery, solar, and generation simultaneously
- 5-year standard warranty which can be extended to 10 years.
The Company is focused on off-grid conversion and storage.
They offer solar controllers that manage the load from panels to the battery to ensure the battery does not overcharge.
However, they offer one inverter for off-grid setups. This inverter is called the SureSine.
It is a 300-watt pure sine wave inverter (12 volt DC input) designed specifically for remote off-grid photovoltaic systems.
It is the main inverter for rural electrification projects, telecom, remote cabins, weekend homes, RV, caravans, and boats.
- Pure Sine Wave handles up to 200% surge
- 55mA self-consumption
- No internal cooling fan
- Adjustable and programmable
- Toroidal transformer design
- 92% Peak efficiency
- Extensive electronic protection with automatic recovery
- Protected against harsh tropical and marine environment
- 2-year warranty
Solar Inverters FAQs
HOW MUCH DO INVERTERS COST?
Many solar inverters exist in the market, and they vary in price. The cost of the inverter depends on the size, quality, and size of the inverter.
A low-end 5Kw inverter can cost $850, while a high-end famous brand inverter may cost more than $1800. Most of the inverters come with a warranty of 10 years, which is an average of the solar’s expected life. Panel lasts typically from 25-30 years.
The inverters need to be replaced after 11 years of service due to its short warranty. The replacement cost ranges between $3000 and $20,000. However, it is recommended to buy a high end, good quality inverter with an extended warranty to minimize failure probability.
ARE SUNGROW INVERTERS GOOD?
Sungrow is a Chinese inverter manufacturer founded by a university professor Sungrow in 1997. Sungrow has a remarkable reputation for its simple, flexible, and robust inverters available at low prices. The inverters manufactured are in the range from 2Kw to 5Kw.
Their central inverter series includes SG1000TS, SG630MX, and SG800MX. The string inverter comprises SG3KTL, SG4KTL, and SG5KTL series. Sungrow also manufactures hybrid inverters known as SHK5 + ESS.
Sungrow inverters come with built-in wireless monitoring and an online monitoring portal with the name of Solar Info Bank. There is also a smartphone application for remote monitoring of the system.
SMA, Fronius, among others, have top-notch experience in manufacturing quality inverters, which makes them reliable. For a high budget, European inverters are available. However, for low budgets, Chinese Solar inverters are good.
ARE MICRO INVERTERS BETTER?
These are small, lightweight inverters attached to each solar plane. Each solar plane works independently; therefore, failure at one point does not affect the performance of the entire system. In the case of the central inverter, the panels are dependent.
1. Maximum Power Point Tracking: MPPT is a technique used to find the specific value of the inverter voltage at which power generation is maximum. MPPT is applied on each solar panel in the case of micro-inverters, thus increasing the overall performance of the system.
2. No point of failure: The functional panels are still effective even in the case of micro-inverter/solar panel fault.
3. Panel wise monitoring; Individual panels are monitored, and separate performance reports for each panel can be obtained.
4. Easily Expandable: For central inverters, the system can’t be easily expanded. However, it is easier to expand the solar system with micro-inverters.
5. Safety: Micro-Inverters don’t need high voltage to operate, which improves the solar system’s safety and the owner.
6. Lasting life: Micro-inverters come with a more extended warranty since they do not need high voltage and power loads.
COST OF MICRO-INVERTERS
Micro-inverters have a high initial cost as compared to central inverters. They cost $0.52/Watt –peak, their long lifespan, and easy installation makes them the best.
Dual Micro-inverters: It works like the regular micro-inverter, just that the dual micro-inverter is attached to two solar panels instead of one. The cost is reduced, but performance becomes low.
HOW DOES SOLAR EDGE POWER OPTIMIZER WORK?
DC power optimizers are useful for panel-level monitoring and power optimization. Solar Edge optimizer uses the MPPT technique to track the specific voltage value at which maximum power is obtained. The point is called the maximum PowerPoint. The MPPT per module provides flexibility in design.
The power optimizer also monitors the performance of each module to the owner. This results in module-level monitoring and cost-effective maintenance.
The power optimizer is responsible for setting the DC voltage to a safe level in case of a grid or inverter shut down, and it comes with a warranty of 25 years.
PV INVERTER WARRANTY AND SERVICE
Fronius, SMA, and SolarEdge, because of their effectiveness, are on the top list for years. Fronius, Huawei, and SMA provide their inverters with a 10-year warranty while SolarEdge offers a 12-year warranty.
Emphase gives its micro-inverters a 25-year warranty. Low-end brands are repaired only when they are shipped to them. The repairs are not done immediately.
Bonus: Types Of Solar Inverters
The critical part of a solar system is inverters. The solar panel produces DC output. An inverter converts it to usable AC power. Inverters are also used for system monitoring to analyze their performance.
1. STRING: In a series called strings, individual solar panels connect. DC power is converted into AC power and gets utilized as electricity in homes.
2. Micro: Each panel works independently, and it fits roofs with complex layout and shading issues. They cost more than inverters.
3. Central: These inverters support large or no strings. There is a single central inverter where all the strings of panels connect in a box from which DC output is produced and gets fed into a central inverter and convert it to usable AC power. They are suited for solar installations
4. Hybrid: This inverter is the combination of inverter and battery together in one unit. They are bidirectional and require a battery to operate.
This then concludes our top ten solar manufacturers reviews. For more information, check out our quote page.