Fronius Solar Inverters Review

Fronius solar inverters

 

If you’re thinking about investing in solar for your home, choosing the type of inverter for your PV system is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.

To help you make a well-informed decision, Solar Market has written a series of blogs reviewing four of the most commonly sold solar inverters in Australia, including Fronius, Sungrow, Enphase and SMA.

In order to give a balanced review, we’ve taken into account several criteria including company background, sustainability practices, product range, warranties, and pricing.

To find what we rated Fronius inverters, read on.

About Fronius

With its origins in battery chargers and welding transformers extending back to 1945, and their first inverter manufactured in 1995, Fronius is one of the oldest and most respected inverter manufacturers in the world.

Headquartered in Austria, and with nearly 4,000 employees working across 24 countries around the world (in addition to representatives in over 90 countries), Fronius inverters are also one of the only brands compatible with Tesla Powerwall. Fronius opened its Australian office in Melbourne in 2010, where it facilitates all warranty and service requirements.

All Fronius inverters and associated products (including solar batteries) are manufactured in Austria.

Environmental Commitment

Fronius’ core values of community, profitability, innovation, sustainability and quality consciousness lie at the heart of the organisation’s business model, fuelling a corporate-wide respect for the environment, economy and society.

Following an external audit, Fronius achieved ISO14001 certification for its environmental management system in 2014.

Product Range

Grid-Connected Inverters

Efficient, dependable and powerful, Fronius grid-connected inverters are amongst the most sought-after in the solar industry. Fronius stock inverters 1.5 to 27.0kW in size, for both single and three phase power supply.

Products include:
– Fronius Primo
– Fronius Symo
– Fronius Galvo
– Fronius Eco

Hybrid Inverters

Fronius Hybrid Inverters allow solar electricity to both power your home and be stored in a solar battery to be drawn from later. The three-phase inverter Symo Hybrid is currently available (with power categories ranging from 3.0 to 5.0kW in size), and the single phase Primo Hybrid is set to be released in early 2017.

Products include:
– Fronius Symo Hybrid

Monitoring and Control

Homeowners can monitor their Fronius products with ease thanks to the online portal Solar Web, and corresponding app. More in-depth monitoring options are also available.

Products include:
– Solar.web
– Solar.web App
– DATCOM

Warranties

All Fronius inverters come with a 5-year warranty, that can be extended by an additional 5 years, free of charge, when you register your inverter online (this offer expires March 31, 2017).

You also have the option to extend the warranty by 10, 15 or 20 years, for a fee.

Average Price

The cost of an Fronius inverter 3 to 5kW in size would set you back around $1300 – $1700.

Awards

2015

iF DESIGN AWARD – TPS/i Welding System

2014

Smart Grids Pioneer – morePV2grid Project
Plus X Award – Best Design Brand, Tool Category

2013

Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology of Austria – Frontrunner Company
Reddot Design Award – Fronius AccuPocket Power Source
Plus X Award – Most Innovative Brand, Energy Category
Plus X Award – Best Product of 2013, for Fronius Galvo
Plus X Award – High Quality, Functionality and Ecology Award, for Fronius Galvo and Symo

2012

European Change Communications Award – Branding Category

2010

Autorevue – Trend-Setting Achievements in Research and Development, Steel-Aluminium-Hybrid-Panel

With more than 70 years of experience in the manufacturing industry (more than 20 of which involve manufacturing solar inverters), several awards, a solid commitment to sustainability, and rock-solid reputation for quality and reliability, purchasing a Fronius inverter is a very safe bet.

We’re awarding their products a 4-star rating and would be happy to install Fronius products in our own homes, as well as recommend them to family and friends.

(We’re knocking off a star due to the fact their warranty does not cover removal, installation, labour or transport costs in the very rare occurrence of a fault, unlike other manufacturers including SMA and SolarEdge.)

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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.