Fronius Warranties Deep Dive: Better Than Most, But Still Pretty Lousy.

Fronius solar inverter warranty review

Image: Midjourney “a bearded man underwater with a Fronius Gen24 inverter”

Fronius is an Austrian company that makes high-quality solar inverters.  They’re in demand by installers here in Australia because:

  • They’re reliable.
  • Easy to install.
  • Provide plenty of flexibility for designing the layout of solar systems.
  • Have excellent installer and customer support.

All this wonderfulness doesn’t come cheap; they are premium inverters sold at a premium price.  But many installers think the price is more than worthwhile.  You might think a premium solar inverter that seems so superb would come with an awesome warranty, but that’s not the case.  While better than most, it still falls well short of being what I’d call good.

In this deep dive into the details of the Fronius solar inverter warranty in this article, I will…

  • Compare the warranty length with competitors.
  • Outline how Fronius’s “5 Plus 5” warranty gives 10 years of warranty coverage, but the second half isn’t much good.
  • Give a list of components the warranty doesn’t cover.
  • Reveal what the warranty does cover and the three remedies Fronius can decide to provide.
  • Tell the terrible tale of how, in the warranty’s final 5 years, getting a replacement can involve having your inverter professionally removed and shipped to Fronius at your expense.
  • Explain how Fronius should lift their warranty game.
  • Provide a couple of reasons to turn a Fronius inverter warranty-related frown upside down. 

If I seem overly negative, it’s only because the Fronius warranty is terrible.  But it is better than most, and when it comes to Fronius inverters, there is plenty to be positive about.  I have come not to bury Fronius, but to praise it.  And maybe make a fronny joke or two.

A short private eye story.

From a rejected first draft of this article.

Competitor Warranties

So you can easily compare them, I’ve made a graph of warranty lengths for a range of popular solar inverters and one or two less popular ones.  (You can decide which is which.) 

If a warranty covers most parts and labour, it’s marked in dark blue.  If a warranty only covers most parts but not labour, I’ve marked it in baby blue because not paying for labour is weak, like a baby.  They’re in order from best to worst based solely on whether the cost of labour is covered and their length.  Alphabetical order applies to those that are equal:

Graph comparing type and length of warranty support for different manufacturers.

I updated this graph on the 31st of March, 2023 to put a note under the title pointing out that a manufacturer may provide better (or worse!) after sales support than the warranty promises.  SolarQuotes will only recommend a manufacturer if we have evidence they live up to their obligations under Australian consumer law, which are extensive.

 

As you can see, Fronius is ahead of some, but clearly not in front.  This is disappointing given its reputation for reliability and the fact its price point is much higher than Goodwe, which offers a superior 10 year warranty for most parts and labour.

Fronius’s “5 Plus 5” Year Warranty

Any residential Fronius inverter you buy at this time will come with a 5 year warranty that covers most components and labour costs.  This is called “Fronius Warranty Plus”.  If the inverter is registered, it will receive an additional 5 years warranty that covers most parts but not labour or transport costs.  This is just called “Fronius Warranty”.  The registration is free and should be handled by your installer.  To sum up…

  • Fronius Warranty Plus:  5 years warranty covering most components, labour, and transport.
  • Fronius Warranty:  Another 5 years warranty that starts at the end of the Fronius Warranty Plus.  It covers most components but not labour or transport.

If you want a copy of the Fronius warranty, it’s surprisingly difficult to find on their website.  But if you go to this Fronius warranty download page and scroll down a little, clicking on “Australia” just below “Asia and the Pacific” will let you download it.

Fronius Warranty Plus: Most Components + Labour

A Fronius residential solar inverter will come with a 5 year warranty that covers parts and labour — except for the parts it doesn’t.  There is a whole list of components the warranty says don’t count.  Worst of all, these are the components most likely to fail.  The warranty document specifically says the following are excluded:

“Components of covered products that are subject to regular wear and tear.”

This is what I call bloody annoying.  The parts subject to regular wear and tear are, obviously, going to be the ones most likely to need replacing.  The list of components the warranty excludes includes…

  • DC isolators
  • Fuses
  • Bayonet connectors
  • Varistors
  • Surge arresters
  • String fuses
  • Mechanical screw connections if not properly installed

The word “includes” is used before they are listed, so it’s possible they could add additional items that are “…subject to regular wear and tear” to the list.

In my not-at-all humble opinion, the warranty should cover every component Fronius supplies.  If parts aren’t covered it reduces their incentive to improve them.

What Fronius Will Cover

The warranty says Fronius is responsible for any material or manufacturing defect that is Fronius’s fault — provided it doesn’t fit into one of the “regular wear and tear” exceptions. 

What Fronius Won’t Cover

The Fronius inverter warranty has a long list of exclusions they say will void the warranty.  They’re fairly standard and say the inverter must be installed correctly and used normally for the warranty to apply.  A few notable exclusions are…

  • It won’t cover problems with the inverter’s appearance that don’t affect its function.
  • The warranty document specifically states there is no compensation for lost electricity production.
  • The solar inverter must receive regular software updates.  If this isn’t done automatically, the owner or their agent must check for updates at least every three months.  This fairly long period suggests that if you use automatic updates — as is normal — and lose your internet for a few days, there shouldn’t be a problem.

The Warranty’s 3 Remedies

If there is a problem with the inverter the warranty covers, Fronius says they get to choose which of the following three steps they’ll take:

  1. Repair it.
  2. Replace it with an equivalent unit of the same type, age, and condition.
  3. Give a credit note for “…the market value applicable at the time of the service notification, which can be used to purchase a new FRONIUS product.”  No indication is given of how this market value will be determined.

What normally happens is the inverter is repaired or replaced.  I haven’t heard of anyone in Australia getting a “credit note”. 

Under the “Fronius Warranty Plus” — the first 5 years of the warranty — if Fronius decides the solar inverter needs to be replaced, they will pay for its removal and disposal.  The same applies to any parts they decide to replace.  I’m mentioning this to foreshadow a major problem I’ll get to. 

Fronius Warranty: Most Components But No Labour Or Transport

After the 5 years of the “Fronius Warranty Plus” ends, registered inverters will have 5 years of just “Fronius Warranty” without the “Plus”.  This covers parts only — with the same exemptions for parts that suffer “regular wear and tear”.  No labour is paid for.  This seems fairly straightforward, but it’s actually far worse than just “Fronius Warranty Plus” without labour costs. 

It’s a lot worse because if Fronius decides an inverter or component needs replacing, they can require the owner to deliver it to them before they provide a replacement.  So getting a replacement inverter can require paying a qualified person to remove the original and then sending it to Fronius at your expense.  The warranty also says you’ll have to pay Fronius to ship you a replacement inverter or parts.  It specifically says it won’t cover…

“Costs of shipping and transport to FRONIUS or to a FRONIUS Repair Center (including customs duties, export certificates, etc.) for the defective components or the defective unit and return of the replacement components or replacement unit to the warranty holder.”

This could be a considerable amount of money, so the “Fronius Warranty” does not provide good protection.

It’s Transferrable

One good thing is the warranty states it is transferrable.  If you sell your home, you can transfer the warranty to the new owner, so long as the solar inverter stays where it was originally installed and isn’t modified.

You Are Protected By Consumer Guarantees

While Fronius’s warranty is better than what most manufacturers provide, it’s still pretty lousy.  Fronius should be ashamed that its competitor, Goodwe, provides a better warranty for considerably cheaper solar inverters.  At a minimum, I think Fronius should…

  • Cover parts, labour and transport for at least 10 years.
  • Cover all components provided and not exclude those that experience “wear and tear”.

Fortunately, we don’t have to sit around and wait for Fronius to get its act together.  All household purchases are covered by Australian Consumer Guarantees that provide better protection than any inverter warranty I’ve seen.  Goodwe’s warranty is better because it has been brought more in line with our Consumer Guarantees, and Fronius should do the same. 

Fronius Inverters Are Better Than Their Warranty

The Fronius inverter warranty is terrible.  But it is less terrible than most.  Fronius reliability also provides plenty of protection against the need to make a warranty claim in the first place.  They’re not perfect and sometimes fail within their warranty periods, but they do very well given their large numbers in this country. 

Fronius also takes after sales customer service seriously and generally can be persuaded to live up to their obligations under Australian Consumer Law.  So, provided you can afford one, you’re better off with a Fronius than many other solar inverters.

Fronius achieved gold for the third year in a row in SQ’s Installers’ Choice Awards 2023 – Best Inverters. The company was also voted by installers as offering the best after-sales support.

You can compare Fronius specifications and pricing with a bunch of other brands on the SolarQuotes inverter comparison page, and pick up some tips on choosing solar inverters here.

About Ronald Brakels

Joining SolarQuotes in 2015, Ronald has a knack for reading those tediously long documents put out by solar manufacturers and translating their contents into something consumers might find interesting. Master of heavily researched deep-dive blog posts, his relentless consumer advocacy has ruffled more than a few manufacturer's feathers over the years. Read Ronald's full bio.

Comments

  1. Hi Ronald,

    As a point of clarity, to correct some incorrectness in your manufacture comparatives. SMA has always provided 5 years warranty with all inverters in the AU market and do include standard service rebates for any warranty related work as well as required hardware, These rebate schedules are published on the service page of our AU website.

    In addition to this October 1 2021 SMA moved to a manufactures 10yr warranty as standard on all SMA inverters up to 10kw, this is a full service 10 year warranty covering parts, freight and service rebate for installers. For clarity the warranty is marketed as a 5+5, 5 years out of the box 5 years with registration but there is no variation to the two warranties coverage.

    Inverters above 10kw are covered with 5 years full manufactures warranty, this does include service rebates, and shipping in both directions of the hardware. With the option to extend the warranty.

    In addition to all of this we offer all SMA inverters “Smart connected” coverage for the warrantable life of the inverter, just some more peace of mind for the system owner.

    SMA has a proud 42 year history of supporting global markets and 25+ years supporting Australian markets offering premium product and service.

    If you would like to clarify anything relating to the SMA Australia business i welcome any conversation.

    Ben Bishop
    Sales Director SMA Australia

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hello Ben

      I apologize for that mistake and have updated the graph. Thanks for pointing it out, much appreciated.

      Congratulations on having one of the better warranties out there.

      PS: On your page here…

      https://www.sma-australia.com.au/service-support/residential-commercial-systems

      …the link on “SMA Warranty Products” is broken.

      • A key aspect this article fails to address is that all Fronius inverters are designed to be repairable onsite. Fronius installers can diagnose faults and in some cases order parts through the Solar.SOS app. Some Fronius installers even carry spare parts which could mean a failed inverter could be repaired on the same visit to site a problem is identified. This approach is far more sustainable than sending it away and replacing with a whole new inverter like other manufacturers regularly do. It is also worth mentioning that customers can opt to pay for a full 10 year parts and labour warranty if they feel the 5+5 isn’t enough.

        • Ronald Brakels says

          Being designed to be easily repairable is definitely one of the neat things about Fronius inverters. But given the amount of protection provided by Australian Consumer Guarantees I wouldn’t recommend paying extra for a full 10 year parts and labour warranty. But I suppose some people of means may want it just for the extra peace of mind.

          • Andrew Sharp says

            Coming from a consumers perspective, and going through the processes involved with the Australian Consumer Law, I’d much rather buy from a manufacturer that has less of a warranty, but has a better quality product that has a much smaller failure rate than buying something from a less reputable manufacturer with a bigger warranty that is a useless as the paper it is written on, as the downtime and headaches involved with getting the problem sorted ( if they even can ) can be a nightmare. Anyone who has tried using the government to sort issues, such as fair trading and the tribunal, will attest to how useless and frustrating the system can be. On certain items I choose to pay an additional couple of hundred dollars for coverage on failure replacement if the product fails, knowing over time it’ll balance out. As for Fronius offering an extended warranty if you want, sounds like a nice option.

  2. George Kaplan says

    Minor correction to the above claim of inverter X is for Y years. Installers that are partners or official representatives often give extended warranties.

    In my case the installer email states there is a 5 year full warranty, but thanks to them registering the system, there is a further 5 years that covers all parts and transport but not installation – not sure if this means all labour or what and hopefully I won’t find out.

    Things may have changed since then however and a quick Duck suggests private product registration may suffice to garner the Fronius style 5+5 warranty.

  3. No Sungrow in the graph? Offering a 10 year warranty AND its on your reputable list..

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Well, the number of inverters kind of came down to how many can clearly be seen on a mobile screen, but there’s probably room for one more, so I’ve added Sungrow.

  4. Paper warranties mean nothing in comparison to actually claiming these warranties and the liklihood of needing to do so. i.e. A 10 years parts and 5 years labour warranty on an extremely reliable product is significantly better than a 10 or 12 years fully inclusive warranty on a product that breaks down 3-4 times in its lifetime and is a nightmare to lodge claims with in the first place. There are inverters above with better placements on the “paper warranty” graph, which installers refuse to install over worst placing results. I don’t think Fronius is ashamed of its competitor, it’s simply providing a realistic warranty and actions it better than nearly everyone else in the industry.

  5. Stephen Gardiner says

    Very informative article. We’ve got a Sungrow inverter, 5yrs old. Still going well. Got no idea what the warranty conditions are. Only 2 incidents where it stopped working. The first was a Powercor surge that kept occuring and was only resolved when I contacted the omnibusdman. The second, which took me days to work out, was a geographical problem. For some reason the inverter changed from Australian voltage to European voltage which is much less than ours.

  6. Ronnal Sharma _ Paralegal says

    Home owners should seek their Solicitors advice and also if this is a current situation then I believe your Board should lodge a general complaint to the ACCC about the product warranties first provided by the Supplier/Installer and Manufactures and once many thousands of customers have installed the product the Supplier/Installer and Manufactures decides to disobey the Warranties and External Warranties. (This act falls under deceptive and misleading representations. (refer https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/lg-to-pay-160000-for-misleading-representations-to-two-consumers)

  7. Jake Warner says

    Hi Ronald.
    Nice article as usual.

    Something that would be worth mentioning for Enphase warranty is that in most cases the fault can be remotely diagnosed and a one stop warranty claim is the usual outcome in the unlikely event of a micro failure.

    I would also recommend to have a read of Enphase’s warranty documents. There is a document that covers parts –
    https://enphase.com/en-au/warranty/australia

    And

    A document that covers labour –
    https://enphase.com/sites/default/files/2021-05/Labor-Reimbursement-for-Warranty-Service-APAC-Australia-NZ-2021-0514_1.pdf

    Have a read of those and if you see what you think.

    Cheers!

    Jake Warner – Happy Solar Quotes Client.

  8. Andrew MacKeith - Solar4Ever says

    Hi
    Corrections.
    Huawei is a full 10 year parts and labour warranty.
    Has been that way since 2018. Hopfully this link to their warranty document works.
    https://www.solar4ever.com.au/Brochures/Huawei%20product%20warranties%202023.pdf

    Goodwe warranty on many of their products is 5+5.
    Declaration here…
    https://www.solar4ever.com.au/Brochures/GOODWE%20Limited%20Warranty%20for%20Inverter%20System-AU&NZ.pdf

    These are both links from our website, but they are available on the manufacturer sites as well.

    Cheers
    Andrew

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