As we discussed in the last article on solar inverters the reliability of your entire solar system hinges predominantly on the inverter because the likelihood of a failure of a solar system is most likely to be linked to to your inverter. Given that the function of the inverter involves complex power conversion involving ‘switch-mode’ electronics, the correct design, heat-sinking, thermal engineering and efficiency design practices are of the utmost importance if the inverter is to operate for 20+ years and transfer the maximum amount of power from your solar panels to your home and back onto the mains grid. Hence choice of which solar inverter you go with is very important.
SMA is based in Germany and has more than 5000 employees. They manufacture an impressive range of inverters and accessories for many applications including:
- Sunny Boy rane of Solar Inverters For Small Systems (20 Kwatt and less)
- Windy Boy Inverter – for Wind Power Applications
- Sunny Tower Inverter Range for commercial solar up to 48 Kwatts
- Sunny Central Inverter range for solar power plants up to several Mwatts
- Inverter Monitoring Systems and Associated Software
- Off Grid Inverters
The Sunny Boy range of inverters is extensively used in Brisbane in residential solar installations and typically are designed as transformer-less, which is generally seen as producing high efficiency / low loss inverter performance or low frequency transformer based inverters, where the switching frequency is kept low to make internal filtering ( in the electronic design) relatively simple and the possibility of radio-frequency emissions generated by the unit, to a minimum.
Reputation. SMA Inverters are often seen as setting the ‘benchmark’ in Australia for performance and reliability and, very importantly after sales support – a question you should discuss in detail with any solar company offering you a quotation. Exactly what is the replacement policy for the inverter if it should break down and who does the replacement?
Given SMA were founded in 1981, it is fair to say they have certainly ‘stayed the course’ and have consistently developed new, innovative inverter products. Our view (and we have no vested interest) is that considering an SMA inverter as part of your solar system could be a wise choice.
Further reading at the the SMA website: http://www.sma-america.com/en_US/home.html