SMA solar inverters maximise energy conversion with one huge feature

SMA Solar Inverters Perth WA

In reality, it’s [headline] more likely to be 42 years of ingenuity and the combination of all assembled aspects working in perfect harmony for the unrivalled energy conversion experience many have come to expect from Germany’s most regarded sustainable energy innovator. However, it’s 2023, and the world of innovation isn’t immune to reverse engineering to achieve similar outcomes in competing products. With the competition always so close, what’s the edge SMA solar inverters possess to validate your investment?

Contents

Pros & cons

Perhaps the most undersold feature within an SMA solar inverter is yet to be visualised at the module level to determine actual value. In a world of marketing hype, it’s often challenging to discern good features from the great. However, one SMA solar inverter feature is exceptional, and we’ve yet to visualise another string solar inverter perform similarly. 

Through proprietary means, SMA solar inverters can outperform similar string inverters when sunlight becomes obstructed. It’s the mechanism that allows an SMA string inverter to perform similarly to a module-level optimised system. More outstanding, it does this for a fraction of the investment. Shadefix. And it’s far more than marketing hype.

Footage of this feature using Tigo module-level monitoring-only units (TS4-A-M) identifies improved array performance in the event of a partially shaded scenario. Fluctuactuating independently and visualised as Watts per panel, when the shade imposes an effect on the solar array, only the solar panels affected by shade output reduces significantly until virtual isolation of an individual solar panel. All this while other solar panels perform at their peak Power potential as the timelapse captures the western afternoon aspect with output figures from 250W (approximately) until the entire array output diminishes with a setting sun.

Key features

Common among all SMA inverters are the key features that define SMA solar inverter advantages when comparing options away from specific model features. These will become essential when comparing different inverter brands.

Which to consider?

Every SMA solar inverter in 2023 comes equipped with Shadefix. But with exceptional performance features, prices increase significantly from base models. Therefore, purchasing the ideal SMA solar inverter to suit your power supply and intentions is likely to be more beneficial. The good news is that there’s an easy way to refine which SMA inverter to choose.

  1. Do you have a single-phase or three-phase power supply? How to identify a single-phase or 3-phase power supply ›
  2. Are you planning a Tesla Powerwall or a BYD/SMA battery? Knowing this will save money. If planning Tesla Powerwall, then an SMA solar-only inverter is suitable while costing significantly less than their hybrid counterpart “Smart Energy” models. Is Tesla Powerwall worth it? Lifespan, cost, warranty, features ›
  3.  
Model
Power
Inverter
DC Battery compatibility
Download
SMA Sunny Boy
Sunny Boy
AV-41
3, 5 kW
(1 phase)
Solar
n/a
Datasheet
SMA Sunny Boy Smart Energy hybrid inverter
Sunny Boy
Smart Energy
5 kW
Solar & DC battery
(hybrid)
• SMA Home Storage
• BYD HVS/HVM
Datasheet
1-x SMA 8kW Sunny Tripower AV 40 for 10kw Solar System
SMA Sunny Tripower
5, 8, 10 kW
Solar
n/a
Datasheet
SMA Sunny Tripower Smart Energy hybrid inverter
Sunny Tripower
Smart Energy
5, 8, 10 kW
Solar & DC battery
• SMA Home Storage
• BYD HVS/HVM
Datasheet

SMA Sunny Boy: Single-phase solar inverter. Proven design, ultra-high performance. The solar-only inverter for single-phase power supplies offers proven reliability for DC solar to AC grid-tie energy conversion—compatible with AC-coupled solar batteries such as Tesla’s Powerwall.

SMA Sunny Boy “Smart Energy”: Single-phase solar and battery inverter. The next-generation SMA inverter for DC solar and DC battery (hybrid) to AC grid-tie inverter—is compatible with AC-coupled solar batteries such as Tesla’s Powerwall. The Sunny Boy Smart Energy model also provides SMA Battery compatibility (DC battery).

SMA Sunny Tripower: Three-phase solar inverter. Proven and dependable three-phase inverter technology. The solar-only inverter for three-phase power supplies offers proven reliability for DC solar to AC grid-tie energy supply—compatible with AC-coupled solar batteries such as Tesla’s Powerwall.

SMA Sunny Tripower “Smart Energy”: Three-phase solar and battery inverter (requires modification for Australian release). Comprehensive specifications for hybrid three-phase inverter technology. DC solar and DC battery (hybrid) to AC grid-tie inverter—compatible with AC-coupled solar batteries, including Tesla’s Powerwall. The new SMA STP Smart Energy offers one of the best (by specification) three phase hybrid inverters to work with selected DC batteries.

Discover the savings. Your copy of the latest catalogue.

The SMA energy ecosystem

Beyond internal feature enhancements within SMA solar inverters, external communicative product compatibilities provide what’s now known as “the ecosystem”. An insular world where all expansion options communicate and operate as one harmonious energy ecosystem for a technological advantage. Now providing a DC-coupled HV battery option, the SMA energy ecosystem is perhaps the most comprehensive. It remains one of the more expensive solutions when coupling additional ecosystem features, although that’s the lesser factor when purchasing SMA. Delving into the SMA energy ecosystem, it’s an investment in sustainable energy refinement.

SMA ENERGY ECO SYSTEM
Model
Attribute
Advantages
Download
SMA Energy Meter
Energy Meter
Energy monitoring & signalling
View energy import and export from the point of supply within SMA Energy App. Provides surplus energy signalling/control to ecosystem connected devices.
Datasheet
SMA Home Storage 9.8 kWh
Home storage
DC coupled energy storage for SMA Smart Energy inverters
Store excess solar energy for later use. Provide blackout protection: Additional installation costs.
Datasheet
EV Charger
Electric vehicle charging
Intelligently charge your electric vehicle with excess solar energy without exporting to the grid (SMA Energy Meter required).
Datasheet
Energy App
Real-time & historical energy portal
Online visual gateway to advanced energy insight, management and control.
Discover ›

Energy Meter: Multi & single-phase versatility in one device is an ideal design, although that unfortunately comes at a higher price for single-phase power supplies. The SMA Energy Meter is mounted within a switchboard to provide energy consumption and export data to the SMA Energy app when used alongside an SMA solar inverter. 

Home Storage: Solar array design flexibility is enhanced through DC-coupled solar batteries, and the SMA Home Storage is assured to be one of the more -refined energy storage solutions. Considering future compatibility with the SMA Home Storage, the SMA Smart Energy hybrid inverter range (1 or 3-phase) is essential.

EV Charger: The SMA EV Charger has been exhausted in Australia 2023. A 2nd generation SMA EV charger is anticipated for Australia in 2024.

Energy App:  Software is how sustainable energy ecosystems communicate with us for enhanced user experience. The new SMA Energy app enhances user experience across all device formats while delivering the essential energy night for actionable decision-making, assisting in more significant bill reduction and control.

SMA inverter specialists. Ensure a solar quote by a proven and local SMA PowerUP Partner. 

SMA inverter warranty

Upon activation, a dependable 10-year product warranty is provided if you purchase an SMA solar inverter through a certified SMA PowerUP partner such as Perth Solar Warehouse. Like similar 5+5 (10-year) inverter warranties, the activated additional five years excludes service cost liability from the manufacturer (SMA Australia).

However, a silver lining exists when purchasing through selected SMA PowerUP partners such as Perth Solar Warehouse. SMA solar inverters installed and activated within installed packages are assured a comprehensive ten-year warranty. PSW Life Support covers the service portion of selected product warranties, including all inverter warranty extensions. Your benefit is comprehensive local technical support endorsed by SMA.

Even though the sound of a 10-year warranty provides comfort for most, it’s essential to understand the limitations set within every nominated product warranty. SMA solar inverter limited factory warranty ›

Model
5 years
10 years
SMA Sunny Boy
Sunny Boy AV-41
when registering
SMA Sunny Boy Smart Energy hybrid inverter
Sunny Boy Smart Energy
when registering
1-x SMA 8kW Sunny Tripower AV 40 for 10kw Solar System
SMA Sunny Tripower
when registering
SMA Sunny Tripower Smart Energy hybrid inverter
Sunny Tripower
Smart Energy
when registering

Manufacturing origin & cyber security

Depending on the model, SMA solar inverters are made in Germany and China. However, these should be considered more assembly locations from similarly automated production lines with the same composite of materials. More strategic than anything else, the split of geographical region SMA production facilities provides improved global distribution of selected models where specific variants have greater uptake. Nevertheless, when purchasing SMA, you’re investing in German-designed technology built to German quality standards. Take comfort in the reputation of the SMA badge. 

Beyond the assembly origin of selected hardware, SMA solar inverters continue to surpass expectations with a less than 1% failure rate. As manufacturing lines become significantly automated, lessening manufacturing origin deficiencies of a previous era, the more poignant question in 2023/24 relates to cyber security and where your data is stored/used. You can tell a lot from energy data. If embedding an energy consumption monitor or alongside a solar inverter, the data produced becomes habitual.

SMA is proving to be a leader in the cyber security space, shaping secure information protocols beyond recognised standards for improved peace of mind.

Related: Cyber security measures at SMA ›

Download: Technical Information – PUBLIC CYBER SECURITY

SMA manufacturing and distribution facility Germany

The cost between models

Regarding SMA, the best value is enjoyed when purchasing the specific technology for your needs. If you buy a hybrid inverter ‘just in case,’ it has little rewards, expediting return on investment as an economics device. As most onboard features and software functions are standard across models, the simplest method to improve the affordability of an SMA inverter solution is to have a general idea of future battery choices (if any).

If no battery or an AC-coupled battery such as Tesla Powerwall, SMA Sunny Island or SMA Home Storage is a preferred storage solution, a simplified solar-only inverter will improve project/system feasibility.

Model
Sample System Size
Average
Cost per kW 1
Unit
cost 5 kW 2
PSW Price
SMA Sunny Boy
SB: AV-41
6.6 kW
$877
$1890
Discover
SMA Sunny Boy Smart Energy hybrid inverter
SB: ‘Smart Energy’
6.6 kW
n/a
n/a
Discover
1-x SMA 8kW Sunny Tripower AV 40 for 10kw Solar System
STP: AV-40
6.6 kW
$983
$2590
Discover
SMA Sunny Tripower Smart Energy hybrid inverter
STP: ‘Smart Energy’
6.6 kW
n/a
n/a
Discover

1. Average cost per kW installed (after STC value deducted as a point-of-sale discount), considering average inverter cost compatible with the sample system size, within 30 days of the article post date.

2. Component cost within 30 days of the article post date. Ensure these SMA inverter prices are our best. Get your copy of the latest Perth Solar Warehouse catalogue.

Final chance. Your copy of the latest Perth Solar Warehouse catalogue. 

Different panels to pair with SMA

Average SMA inverter prices within this product focus are calculated using the new generation LONGi Hi-MO 6 solar panels as an AAA-rated Tier-1 bankable brand and a mid-level price point. However, SMA system affordability is improved when integrating similarly regarded solar panels by reputable manufacturers such as Risen Energy, which powers the high-performing Merridin Solar farm.

Although, when nothing less than the best shall compliment your chosen SMA solar inverter, consider the Intersolar Award-winning REC Alpha Pure R series for unmatched performance in hot conditions.

Risen Solar Panels Perth Solar Warehouse

Reputation: Risen Energy has a reputation in Australia as a preferred solar panel brand incorporated within utility-scale projects such as the Merredin solar farm. A 2023 Bloomberg Tier-1 Top 10 manufacturer (volume) Risen ›

$

Longi Himo-6 Solar Panels Perth Solar Warehouse

Innovative: LONGi Solar now offers one of Australia’s most innovative solar panels, the Hi-MO 6, incorporating a new generation Hybrid Passivated Back Contact cell design. This release will be one of LONGi’s most popular solar panels beyond 2023. LONGi ›

$$

REC Alpha Pure Solar Module - Perth Solar Warehouse

Trusted: ‘Better, not bigger’ is the REC phrase to catch bloated panels marketed as superior off-guard, and we couldn’t agree more. Just because a solar panel has a higher power class doesn’t mean it’s better. Precisely why many researched investors highly value the multi-award-winning brand for innovation. Built in Singapore. REC ›

$$$

How much more energy can SMA inverters convert

From a Perth Solar Warehouse perspective, reputation and word of mouth are everything. Therefore, SMA’s Smart Connect is a feature we can honestly say is unmatched by any solar inverter brand. Smart Connect provides an automatic and free remote fault detection service for all SMA solar inverters connected to SMA Energy (the internet). We’ve experienced scenarios where SMA has pre-organised warranty replacement prior to the customer’s awareness of a fault state occurring rescuing lost yields under warranty.

Likelihood of yield improvement over 10 years: 10%

Factors 4 significant points of disturbance at 3 months average before regeneration of energy yields.

How advantageous Shadefix will be in your scenario depends on how much light is restricted from reaching the solar panels at any time. The following video offers greater insight if you are still curious about how SMA solar inverters convert more energy through Shadefix.

Likelihood of yield improvement over 10 years: 5 – 30%

Compared to conventional string inverters with no nominated MPP tracking enhancement.

The new frontier in energy storage is open communication with third-party appliances such as Air conditioning systems and hot water heat pumps to operate when solar power begins exporting to the less rewarding grid. Communicating with alternative storage devices provides an inexpensive complement to lithium battery storage for improved solar energy utilisation. The only drawback is that residential utilisation of this feature remains some time away. SMA’s ennexOS is an Inersolar Award-winning software system for innovation for this potential.

Likelihood of improved yield utilisation over 10 years: 10%

Considers export energy improvement for 5-years beyond year-5 utilisation.

Overall, three intrinsic features incorporated on a 42-year foundation of German innovation provide up to 25 to 50% greater solar energy utilisation over a ten-year warranty period. 

Likelihood of yield improvement over 10 years: 25 – 50 %

For outstanding performance and a feature-rich sustainable energy product suite, SMA solar inverters are classed as a highly recommended and popular inverter range in Australia.

Looking to incorporate SMA solar inter options within your next solar project? A proven SMA PowerUP Partner based in Perth, Western Australia, we can assist.

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