Samil Power Inverters: The Hyundai of the Solar Industry?

a list of inverter and car brands

Solar Infographic : If Inverters were Cars…

The current edition of industry bible “Photon Magazine” (June 2012 issue) has a glowing review of the Chinese made Samil Power Solar Lake 15kW inverter.

A couple of years ago if you were investing in a 15kW solar system your default choice would have been a European inverter – think SMA, Aurora or Delta. It would have been a very brave engineer that specced a Chinese inverter on such a big system!

However in a few short years the Chinese have learned from any mistakes made and are producing some world class solar inverter hardware.

But the think that made me chuckle was the first paragraph of the solar inverter review:

“Samil Power Co Ltd is gradually evolving into the Hyundai of the inverter sector. Wheras the South Korean automaker was initially  known for its low prices and low quality, it now produces cars equal to those of Volkswagen. Similarly, China based inverter manufacturer Samil is slowly catching up with the big players in the industry”

Which got me thinking – if Samil = Hyundai, what about the other Solar Inverter manufacturers?

SMA -> Mercedes – Expensive, Reliable, German Made, Safe, Some people think there aren’t worth the extra cash. ( I think they are) Long and proud history

ABB -> Ford – Big company behind it, good quality, good warranty and service backup, good value, but not the cheapest, a low risk buy. Popular in continental europe.

Delta -> Volvo – Built like a tank, looks like a tank, the casing outlast a thermonuclear war, great performance in extreme conditions, European company.

Enphase -> Tesla Motors – Futuristic, expensive, game changing, lusted over by early adopters and geeks, awesome performance.

Samil Power -> Hyundai – Used to be horrible – now pretty damn good – have imitated the european manufacturers’ best features, great value.

Growatt -> Nissan – mid range – have improved a lot in recent years and look pretty nice these days too.

Aerosharp -> Daewoo – Low end, lots of failures  – can you even buy them any more?

Sunny Roo -> Leyland P76 – Australian developed – can’t get it any more. Piece of junk.


About Finn Peacock

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


  1. kaite M. says

    Whew! without knowing anything and putting a lot of trust in our local solar supplier, we’ve got an SMA.

  2. Hi Finn
    I have noticed that on cloudy days my inverter is producing let’s say 1.5kW. When the sun comes out, this will increase rapidly to approx 3.5kW. If the sun stays out, the production will slowly reduce and settle around 3.1kW. can you tell me your opinion on this?
    I have been told that the panels are more efficient in cool sun. When the sun comes out the panels are cool, then they warm up increasing the output but production goes down as they heat up as their efficiency is better when its cooler.

  3. I monitor about 15 different brand arrays around Adelaide on a monthly basis and have collected some interesting data over the last 2yrs. Happy to share what I have with you. For example. 1.Regardless of brand, they all perform better on cool bright clear days, even ‘bouncing’ over their rated wattage when the sun comes out from behind a cloud. 2. My array ( 1.71kw ) was installed facing Nth/Wst. I re-aligned it to face Nth and now generate 10kw/mth more on ave. 3. keep an eye on your array. if it looks dull or dirty, hose it off or give it a clean as you would windows (no strong chemicals) this can improve production heaps! take before and after readings, you will be surprised.

  4. Production data over the last 12mths, based on readings from 4 different 1.9kw arrays around Adelaide.
    Summer 2012 820kw
    Autumn 2012 630kw
    Winter 2012 400kw
    Spring 2012 780kw
    Summer 2013 860kw
    If you can calculate your seasonal usage from your power bills, the above data can help you work out what size array you need. Remember you only feed your surplus power to the grid so minimise power usage when the sun is shining!
    ps for night time production ask about Lunar Panels . . .

  5. Finn,

    Great site and got a deal through one of your 3 quotee companies. They installed the new meter today, but I was away. I really wanted something inside or on the net to track what we produce.

    It gets difficult remembering to go out and get readings all the time. What is the best way to have a more efficient way? They mentioned on the phone a Wattsons something about $200-250.


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