Best Solar Inverters In Australia? Here’s What Installers Trust In 2021

Best solar inverters in 2021 as voted by Australian installers

There are a lot of solar inverter brands on the Australian market in 2021. But which ones are the best?

That’s a tough question to answer. So we asked installers we trust what they thought.

As we did when gauging what they considered the best solar panels in 2021, we asked all the installers in our network two questions and counted the votes.

SolarQuotes Installers’ Choice Awards For Inverters: 2021

To try and tease out which solar inverters installers consider the absolute best in terms of performance, features and build quality compared to the best value for money, we asked 2 separate questions:

  1. What solar inverter brand would you put on your own house if money was no object?
  2. What solar inverter brand would you put on your own house if money was tight?

The results are a good way to help the average person understand which inverter brands installers rate highly when only the best will do – and just as importantly – which inverter brands they trust to last well past the warranty period when funds are tight.

Note: Choosing good brands is very important when buying solar for your home or business. But of equal importance is ensuring the system is well installed. The difference between a good and crap solar installation is night and day. Please – never skimp on the installation. 

Best High-End Solar Inverters in Australia (Money No Object):

We asked the installers:

What solar inverter brand would you put on your own house if money was no object?

Here’s what they told us their favourite ‘high-end’ inverters are:

Top 3 high-end inverter brands - Fronius, SolarEdge and Enphase

The top 3 high-end solar inverter brands in Australia for 2021.

First Place: Fronius (28.85% of votes)

This would be no surprise to anyone in the Australian solar industry. Over the last decade, Fronius has stormed the Australian solar market and become a firm favourite of homeowners and installers alike. Fronius had a rough start in Australia as some of their IG series inverters had a high failure rate many years ago. But to their credit, Fronius engineers found the weak point in those inverters and replaced any failed cards that popped with a more reliable design.

But it was the introduction of their bulletproof and cleverly designed ‘SnapINverter’ range that took them from almost zero to hero in the Australian market, and they haven’t looked back since. Their latest inverter is the ‘GEN24‘ (which is not the 24th generation – but is a hybrid inverter for ’24 hours of sun’).

Fronius has just revealed this new inverter range will soon be available to buy at a discount – with the hybrid features disabled. If you want to add a battery, you pay a fee, and Fronius unlocks the hybrid function.

One disadvantage of Fronius inverters: they can be noisy. Fronius insists on active cooling as its engineers believe this is essential to longevity. Unfortunately, this means a fan that can get really noisy when the inverter is working hard. The ‘GEN24’ inverters are quieter but may still be too noisy for some.

Second Place: SolarEdge (27.88% of votes)

SolarEdge only lost to Fronius by one vote. So, it seems they are well-loved by Australian installers. One thing that I can’t deny is SolarEdge is a very polarising brand in Australia. Installers seem to either love them or hate them.

SolarEdge inverters must be used with an optimiser on every panel. This optimiser gives each solar panel its own multi power point tracker (MPPT), which is useful where there is shade on some panels or if the roof is complicated. SolarEdge also has some clever hybrid inverter designs and was the first inverter manufacturer I know of to integrate an EV charger.

Third Place: Enphase (20.19% of votes)

Enphase is unique in that they are the only microinverter manufacturer of note who sells in Australia. Their systems have many advantages over string systems, such as safer voltages and fault tolerance.

Their big disadvantage: they cost a motza. Many years ago, Enphase promised they’d get microinverters as small as an iPhone and lower cost per watt than string inverters. That never happened. But they are still highly regarded for their flexibility and reliability, with some installers so enthralled, they are refusing to sell anything else.

Here’s how all the votes were cast:

Best solar inverter brands - Installers' Choice 2021 vote distribution

Best Budget Solar Inverters in Australia (Every Dollar Counts):

We asked installers:

What solar inverter brand would you put on your own house if money was tight – and every dollar counts?

Here’s what they told us their favourite budget inverters are:

Top 3 budget inverter brands 2021 - Sungrow, Fronius, SolarEdge, SMA and Goodwe

The top budget inverter brands in Australia for 2021. The strange thing is, Fronius SMA and SolarEdge are not budget brands! What’s going on?

First Place: Sungrow (35.79% of votes)

Sungrow absolutely thumped the competition for best budget inverter, winning by 19 votes. And they deserve to. Their 5 kW inverter wholesales for almost half the price of a Fronius, and the Sungrow is well built, has excellent Australian tech support and some great features such as integration with Solar Analytics.

Second Place: Fronius (14.74% of votes)

This is a weird one because Fronius don’t make budget inverters. So what’s going on? I’ll tell you! Many installers in Australia do not agree with the concept of a budget inverter. Here’s one example comment we got back with the survey:

“If money was tight I wouldn’t be fussy about the panel brand. But I wouldn’t compromise on the inverter.”

It seems many installers recommend a Fronius no matter what your budget.

Joint Third Place: Goodwe, SolarEdge and SMA (10.53% of votes)

Goodwe is a budget inverter brand with a good reputation for reliability and features. But what are premium brands SolarEdge and SMA doing here? This comment from an installer helps explain SolarEdge also appearing in the budget category:

“If shading was a problem I would use Enphase IQ7A as my premium choice and SolarEdge as my less expensive option.”

The other reason is SolarEdge and SMA have a solid following in Australia and some installers can’t bring themselves to install anything else.

Here’s how all the votes tallied:

Best value solar inverter brands - Installers' Choice 2021 vote distribution

So there we have the best solar inverters in Australia in 2021, as voted by installers. Here on SolarQuotes, you can also check out thousands of solar inverter reviews from Australian customers.

Next week: Installers vote for their favourite solar battery brands.

About Finn Peacock

I'm a Chartered Electrical Engineer, Solar and Energy Efficiency nut, dad, and founder of SolarQuotes.com.au. My last "real job" was working for the CSIRO in their renewable energy division.

Comments

  1. I have a 13 year old Fronius that hasn’t missed a beat

    And a Sungrow hybrid on a rental that did miss a beat but between the sparky and customer service was quickly sorted

    So, happy with these results

  2. Your opinion of micro-inverters and reliable brands, Finn? Looking at Alpha, as our forest site is shaded for much of the day.

    Fortunately, given WA’s new DEBs scheme, half the panels we’re considering will be facing west… .

  3. Dominic Wild says

    We have a Fronius Symo three-phase 5kW inverter and the inbuilt Datamanager, production data over the web and fan is the reason I chose Fronius. The Fronius is in the garage and I do not think the fan is noisy, but in our climate essential for the electronics. Judging by the “bait and switch” ads for single-phase Fronius and Jinko 370W panels (6.6kW), I probably paid close to $1,000 more.

    The Datamanager has the smarts to drive a relay to switch on the H/W system or pool pump on the basis of production. So instead of getting a lousy 3c/kWh (WA) for export, when production reaches a specified value, the relay will be triggered on for x minutes, switched off at y Watts and you can specify min/max durations/day, the desired duration and when it is to be finished by.

    The app called Solarweb has given me realtime production data for a while, but no more, that is the only fly in the ointment at the moment. My WiFi has a strong signal, I have Internet access, claims site Fronius_240xxxx is encrypted and connected, but no Internet access! Help!

    Fronius tells me to contact the installer (Koala Solar), but he is asking me for the inverter’s error code, of which there is none. I hope Fronius is going to help me with a reply and solution. Is trying to sell me “Premium” related to this outage? A competitor has hinted that Fronius will want to be paid for production figures over the web?

  4. Lucky Wijetunga says

    Dominic mentions that his Fronius Inverter is inside the garage. What if it is near the meter box exposed to the elements? Do you think it requires a cover to protect it from the elements and potential thiefs?

  5. Mark Oswald says

    I have a SolarEdge system with LG panels 9KW and it has been excellent, we had a few issues at the start as SolarEdge Australia support were not aware that the main inverter input for each set of Panels (inverters) only handles 6KW so the sparky had to rewire the panels to be in two groups. I love the App as you can see production and usage. Overall well happy.

  6. Resubmitting, as, after having been blocked by the hostile blog software, now have been blocked by the blog censor person.


    Bret Busby in Western Australia says
    May 3, 2021 at 11:00 pm

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Trying a second time to post – first attempt at 1629WST (UTC+0800) blocked by the hostile blog software.

    Perhaps, the survey should have been state/territory based, due to differences in what the separate state territory governments allow.

    For example, here in Western Australia, we have a state parliament (and, especially, the state government), which is very much against householders installing and using household rooftop photovoltaic systems, and, does what it can, to obstruct and deter this. One, and, only one, of the WA state parliament’s actions, in its campaign against us, the people, using cleanly generated electricity, is the ban on using export limiting inverters, which is, in itself, an action to obstruct and deter the adoption of battery powered road vehicles.

    Whilst my previously posted question, to Finn Peacock, the electrical engineer, has been unanswered, what difference(s) to an electricity grid, would a single phase inverter have, that could input power from 10-15kW of panels generating capacity, channel up to 5kW of that into charging a vehicle battery, channelling up to 5kW into a stationary household BESS, and, converting energy into A/C power to power the household, with any excess being exported to an electricity grid, with an adjustable export limit of up to 5kW, all concurrently (no pun intended, in the use of the word component “current”), compared to a simple(r) inverter, that only manages up to 6.6kW of panels, and only converts the generated DC power, to up to 5kW of A/C electricity, exporting surplus electricity to the electricity grid?

    The former described inverter, is the one that provides for the future, the latter one, is the one that belongs to ten years ago, but, the former one, according to my understanding, is banned in Western Australia, with the state government/parliament having the absolute priority of burning increasingly more stuff, especially, regarding electricity generation, burning more fossil fuels.

    So, whilst other states/territories in Australia, may be more inclined to try to not cause further injury to the environment and the people, the Western Australian state government/parliament, in its campaign of hostility and assault against the people and the environment, prohibits export-limiting household photovoltaic inverters, so, what inverters are allowed outside Western Australia, are not allowed to be installed and used in Western Australia

    Thus, the survey relating to the inverters, needs to be either divided by state/territory, or, divided by functionality of inverters, so that, if it is divided by the functionality of inverters, it has a class of “lowest common denominator”, to have a class of least functional inverter; single phase inverters, limited to 5kW maximum capacity for single phase inverters, as the limit applicable to the retard state of Western Australia.

    And, as the people of Western Australia, do what we can, in spite of the retarding Western Australian state government/parliament, so that we can maximise usage of clean energy, in spite of the retarding Western Australian state government/parliament, we still manage, in spite of the retarding Western Australian state government/parliament,to have the second highest usage (in terms of number of installations per 100,000 population) in Australia, after South Australia, where the South Australian populace is advantaged by significant state parliament provided subsidies for household rooftop photovoltaic systems with battery storage.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi Brett

      There is a limit to the amount of power the grid can accept from rooftop solar. DNSPs consider worst case possible situation when imposing limits, so the amount of solar energy in total that can be exported to the grid is far less than what it could accept if they were able to reduce or cut it off when the grid is stressed. So in South Australia we have a remote shutdown requirement for all new solar inverters and currently variable export inverters are being trialed. So there is normally nothing wrong with a single phase home solar system doing all you suggested. With a variable export inverter it will be possible without the local grid operators getting their knickers in a twist.

Speak Your Mind

*

GET THE SOLARQUOTES WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
%d bloggers like this: