Sungrow Hybrid Inverter Review: A Deep Dive into the SH5.0RS

sungrow sh5.0rs inverter installed

This post is part of our reviews of hybrid solar inverters – which when paired with a battery – can be good Tesla Powerwall alternatives. Here, I’m taking a closer look at the Sungrow SH5.0RS.

The catchy name SH5.0RS stands for Sungrow Hybrid 5.0kW Residential Single-Phase.

Compatible With Sungrow Batteries

The newest generation of hybrid inverters from Sungrow now pair with high-voltage DC batteries manufactured in-house.

Starting with a minimum of three 192volt 3.2kWh nominal bricks and a maximum stack size of 8 (25.6kWh):

a 3 stack and 8 stack sungrow battery

 

With further expansion of up to four parallel banks (102.4kWh):

4 stacks of 8 sungrow battery modules

 

Easy To AC Couple More Solar Inverters

The ability to integrate another AC-coupled solar inverter makes these units much more attractive. You can either have legacy solar on the grid side or more Sungrow AC-coupled inverters on the backup side of the system.

This means the extra solar inverter (rated not more than the hybrid) can power loads directly – without bothering the battery. Great news if you want or need more daytime surge capacity. Better yet, the full-rated specifications available with a battery hybrid means you can load a Sungrow with 200% solar. That’s potentially 20kW of panels on the roof with a single-phase connection.

Ten Year Warranty

The warranty is specified as 10 years, and they even offer limited support for off grid operation, not that I would recommend it for anything but the most modest application.

If you want to know how Sungrow’s warranty compares with other manufacturers, Ronald has researched Sungrow inverter warranties extensively.

Current & Voltage Ratings

The SH5.0RS has far greater surge capacity and is a little more flexible in solar terms than Sungrow’s previous hybrid inverters. As panel wattages trend upward, solar current outputs are going up more than voltages, so the inverters are now given a suitably lower opening voltage window and more importantly, greater current ratings.

While some may claim UNINTERRUPTIBLE Power Supply, there is a well-defined difference between a UPS and an EPS system. So if you have critical applications, a hybrid inverter of any brand or type may not fit the bill. Props to Sungrow for being honest about it.

High Voltage Batteries

All new generation high voltage hybrid inverters use lower current, so they require much lighter cables from the inverter to the battery, and long cables will suffer less voltage drop. This means the batteries can be placed further away. These advantages come with a small trade-off in the form of an extra layer of complexity (and point of failure) in the battery management system compared to the older low-voltage models.

Backup Is *In Series* With The Grid.

Lighter, cheaper cables become important when you realise that Sungrow (amongst many) wire the Emergency Power Supply through the inverter. That means you may need a large and expensive pair of cables to run:

  • the supply to the inverter and
  • the backup load from the inverter

…both to the main switchboard.

Putting the inverter near the switchboard and moving the battery some distance away to an AS5139 compliant battery location reduces the cabling expense and minimises the voltage drop problem.

Heavy cables are needed to AND from the inverter. A manual changeover switch is also a great idea to bypass the inverter entirely if there’s a fault.

 

Why Not Backup *In Parallel* With The Grid?

Suppose you instead choose an inverter that operates in parallel with the grid, like the Fronius Gen24 or SolarEdge. In that case, you’ll only need one decent-sized supply cable, potentially freeing up the positioning of the whole system.

What’s the catch? The changeover time might be 3 or even 30 seconds – compared to ~20 milliseconds changeover with the Sungrow.

You can argue a long changeover is a feature, an unmissable analogue warning that the grid is gone and you need to curb your consumption. Still, many will prefer the seamless changeover of a Selectronic, Sungrow, Goodwe or Tesla system.

The metal cable tray is adaptable for carrying at least six cables into the roof, while the battery below only has two cables. image credit Solar Depot

Connectivity Is King

The new Sungrows have a tiny screen, relying on the monitoring platform to communicate. This makes them more heavily dependent on a good internet connection to monitor their behaviour and for installers to set them up. With the advent of flexible export connection agreements, mandatory in South Australia, optional in Queensland and coming to Victoria soon, having a solid internet connection is essential.

There are options for wired internet, WiFi dongles, and a 4G dongle that accepts a SIM card if you don’t have a local network. Annoyingly, the internet hardware only has a two-year warranty, which, as the system warranty relies on internet connectivity, strikes me as a rort.

While self-consumption is the name of the game in solar, exports are still handy for helping defray daily access charges. If your system is enrolled in Flexible Exports (mandatory in SA, opt-in in QLD, likely coming soon everywhere else), you may occasionally find you’re not allowed to export, but without a data connection, your system will be throttled to 1.5kW or even zero export.

Crucial tech tip.

When commissioning a Sungrow select the Australian server. Many clouds have been yelled at and many hours have been wasted when someone has missed this critical step early in the connection procedure.

 

Sungrow now offer the black cover shown here to tidy up the multitude of things hanging off the bottom of the inverter. I would still put all the statutory jargon labels on the wall though.

 

Sungrow Monitoring Is Marvellous

The iSolar cloud app has plenty of detail and will allow you to program parameters for forced charging or limited grid input, depending on your preference. I have also seen a much slicker user interface in beta testing, which will be released soon. Installers quite like the range of features available with remote access, which can save service call fees.

Kim recently compared Solar Analytics vs Sungrow iSolarCloud, and as an ex-installer he preferred the Sungrow monitoring.

Simple Energy Management

The inverter has a single relay output that can be triggered for energy management duties such as activating a hot water service. Sungrow has also been testing in their Australian warehouse, so off-grid with generator support is available. Still, I must reiterate this shouldn’t be considered a true off-grid solution.

 

 

Full Three Phase Compatibility

Single and 3-phase consumption meters are available. Like the Fronius Gen24, Sungrow offers a 3 phase variant in this range of hybrid inverters, which I will endeavour to cover in an upcoming post. So if you have a particular 3-phase load or premises spread across all 3 phases, they can be backed up.

Be aware though, the Sungrow 3-phase hybrid inverters have less surge capacity for single-phase loads than an equivalent single-phase hybrid inverter.

Sungrow Is A Solid Choice

I have first-hand experience installing these machines, and while wiring up all the connections into a mess of plugs is a little tedious, everything is sealed with an IP rating, so it’s well-executed and weather tight.

Commissioning works well once you’re familiar with it, and the ability to zoom in on the graphs produced by the monitoring app is a real feature for this energy nerd.

My experience of Sungrow’s technical support has been historically fair to good, but it’s progressing to stellar. (They appear to be ramping up help available, so we’re not getting a foreign language answering machine anymore)

Have a look for yourself though; our Sungrow inverter reviews can be filtered for time, star rating and even wordiness, so you can see how the ratings have improved over three years and glean insight from end users just like yourself.

SH5.0RS: Technical Specs

For this comparison, I’ve specified an SBR128, i.e. four battery units, for a total 12.8kWh useable storage capacity. Warranty is 60% capacity at 10 years or 53.76MWh throughput. Happily, if you cycle it every day, this unit won’t exceed its throughput limit before the time is up on the 10-year warranty.

  • Nominal capacity: 5kW (plus another 5kW with optional AC-coupled solar capacity)
  • Surge rating: 8.4kW
  • Solar capacity: 12kW
  • PV current input: 16a nominal – 20a short circuit – each on two channels
  • Usable Storage Capacity:  12.8kWh
  • Warranty: 10 years – 60% battery capacity remaining – 53.76Mwh throughput
  • Throughput limit @ 1 full cycle per day: 11½ years
  • Approx retail: $15041 + installation
  • $-per-usable-kWh: $1175
  • $-per-warranted-kWh :$0.279 @ 1 cycle per day / $0.139 @ 2 cycles per day
  • Three-phase option available with different specifications
About Anthony Bennett

Anthony joined the SolarQuotes team in 2022. He’s a licensed electrician, builder, roofer and solar installer who for 14 years did jobs all over SA - residential, commercial, on-grid and off-grid. A true enthusiast with a skillset the typical solar installer might not have, his blogs are typically deep dives that draw on his decades of experience in the industry to educate and entertain. Read Anthony's full bio.

Comments

  1. Tim Chirgwin says

    Great to see that these inverters can control loads such as hot water and divert surplus otherwise-lost-to-low-FIT power. This makes low cost and reliable resistive HWS even more financially attractive than high cost heat pump HWS , if you have a reasonable sized PV array.

  2. Hi. You have the battery capacities reversed, 2.3 kWh rather than 3.2 kWh. Great article, regards.

    • Finn Peacock says

      thanks! fixed.

    • Hi dear thanks for the valuable information I have a question if you have time to answer I will appreciate, I need an inverter that supports zero export to the grid in other words I don’t want even the electricity providing company to know that I have solar panels so which inverter you recommend for three phase around 25 KW?
      Thanks for answering

      • Anthony Bennett says

        25kW peak output? 25kWh/day?

        If your inverter is network connected, even if it’s set for zero export, the DNSP must be notified.

        If they work out you’re hooking up things that aren’t approved they’ll start by disconnecting you and then probably have you charged under the electricity act.

        It’s taken pretty seriously.

        • Thanks.. 25 KW solar panels.. am not in Australia there are no regulations here .. which inverter is recommended for 3 phase zero export .. thanks

          • Anthony Bennett says

            Hi Walid,

            I’m pretty sure you could get a reasonably priced Sungrow or Goodwe unit for that application. Outside Australia you can run to full manufacturer specifications with might be 150% or 200% of the name plate capacity so 15kWp inverter would suffice. Goodwe offer a battery hybrid in that size, Sungrow are releasing one soon. They’ll need a consumption meter and appropriate settings to make them zero export.

  3. Christopher McMullan says

    What level of backup do these provide? Can you run the backup circuit with the power disconnected?

    Can these be installed in parallel to provide more backup power?

  4. Note that if you run two or more Sungrow SH5.0RS inverters in a master/slave setup and you have a stack per inverter (or just multiple stacks into more than one inverter) this limits capability of third party integrations such as Solar Analytics, Home Assistant or Amber, for example, as they don’t support it and Sungrow aren’t exactly fast at releasing API or MODBUS control over the batteries to allow forced discharging or even easy ways to stop the system providing feed-in to the grid.

  5. You have “6.9kW” as the minimum Sungrow battery stack, it’s 9.6kW, wrong way around!

  6. I am in the process of organising an install of a 6.6kW solar power system and Tesla Powerwall 2 to be AC coupled together.
    The installer is a platinum rated SQ supplier. The lead was generated from this site. Thank you, Finn and SQ team!
    Here are the main components:

    6.6kW solar system with 13.5kWh battery storage
    • Jinko Solar Tiger Neo JKM440N-54HL4-V (440W) 15x Panels
    • Enphase IQ8AC-72-M-INT (0.37kW) 15x
    • Tesla Powerwall 2 (13.5kWh)

    Cost ~ $23K
    Cost of PW2 Installed ~ $16K

    This is for my mum and dad’s property, and they both pensioners.
    They were able to secure the Solar VIC battery rebate before 30 June 2023, and the above costs are after the rebate is applied.

    Could I further save them more money by switching out the PW2 with the Sungrow setup described in this article?

    Under SH5.0RS: Technical Specs you write:
    Approx retail: $15041 + installation

    This is using the SBR128 unit with a usable storage capacity of 12.8kWh (just 0.7kWh less than a single PW2 output).
    I am unsure if the switch over from Tesla PW2 to an equivalent Sungrow system will be a huge saving.

    The only other advice I have been given was to get rid of the microinverters, which I am reluctant to do as the panels
    are to be installed across multiple parts of the roofing. Yes, I know Fronius inverters support multiple strings but you
    still do not get panel level monitioring.

    Any thoughts on whether the SH5.0RS + SBR128 would be a good substitute for the PW2, and can be AC coupled to a Jinko + Enphase IQ8AC
    solar power system?

    • Anthony Bennett says

      Hi Sam,

      You certainly can have a Sungrow as an AC coupled unit with external solar inverters. You may find it beneficial to have your enphase system to cover small arrays facing different directions but I would also add some DC coupled solar to the Sungrow inverter to give you black start, apocalypse proof autonomy in case there is an extended blackout. DC coupling is inherently efficient and if you have the roof space there is potential to add up to 20kW on a single phase using Sungrow. They also have 8 & 10kW single phase units coming out soon.

      • Hi Anthony,

        Thank you so much for your insights.

        As you have correctly pointed out, unlike the Tesla PW2 the Sungrow hybrid inverter supports black start for a flat battery.
        This will require a string of DC panels. From what I can see, the minimum MPPT voltage is 40V. This means I would need to have
        at least 4x 440W Jinko panels wired up directly to a string.

        It is starting to look like the microinverters will need to be ditched if the installer doesn’t agree with this hybrid solution.

        Is there any other way of achieving black start when the grid is offline?

        Also, considering the recent Tesla PW2 price drop (via the $750 rebate application until end of 2023), is it still worth considering
        the Sungrow stack (SH5.0RS Hybrid Inverter + SBR128 DC Battery)?

        Regards,
        Sam

  7. Hybrid inverters are a great emerging technology, particularly now they can do 3 phase. But i would Fronius any day. Chinese owned inverters like sungrow present a clear security risk

    • “Chinese owned inverters like sungrow present a clear security risk”

      Would you care to elaborate what these security risks might be in a residential and non-government use scenario?

      Should I also be worried when I fly my DJI drone for my roof inspections?

      • Hi Sam, while all inverters that are internet enabled have the capability to be hacked. Chinese-made inverters present a higher risk as the Chinese Government has laws that allow them to force manufacturers to include vulnerabilities and report data.

        For a residential or Non Government use, this could mean hacking some data on the same WIFI networks, or they could hack a thousand or 10 thousand at the same time and cause a major disruption.

        In regards to your DJI drone, it’s your call but i think they’re the ones the army just banned as they also had these drones. But i doubt it’s as risky for a roof inspection.

    • This is the primary reason that I’m hesitating to get a Sungrow inverter – everything else about them looks like they would suit my requirements very well!

      • Hi Joss, I was the same as you. the Chinese inverters are great on paper, have good warranty claims, efficient, affordable, but I couldn’t overlook the risk. I thought I pay $300 a year for anti-virus for my computer. Would i pay an extra $1500 for a European inverter that I’ll have for a decade, makes sense.

  8. Carol Feil says

    What are your thoughts on the Sungrow SH10RS?
    Thanks so much!

    • Anthony Bennett says

      Hi Carol,

      I haven’t clapped hands on the new 8 & 10kW single phase units but I’m aware they’re in Australia and being tested in the field. Likely a good device that installers are happy to have decent sized terminations on the plugs to install the fat cables required.

  9. Hi Anthony,

    Thank you for this informative review. Just remind you that the title should be “SH5.0RS” for single-phase.

    Bill

    • Anthony Bennett says

      Thanks Bill

      All sorted.

      • Hi Anthony,
        I have 6.5KW Panels & a 9.6KW battery.
        My battery rarely goes below 90% capacity as I am very frugal with energy.
        What would be involved with going completely off grid?
        Thanks,
        Pete

        • Anthony Bennett says

          Hi Pete,

          I don’t encourage people to go off grid, especially not with a garden variety hybrid, they’re just not built for it.

          Unless you start with a Selectronic SpPro. They’re built for anything.

          For off grid you need large batteries to give you autonomy for days, and then a generator for backup… which is the most unreliable part of any off grid system.

          The grid is more reliable, quieter and cheaper. If you have a proper diesel generator serviced once a year it will cost more than the grid just for the service, even without putting fuel into it or a cranking battery every couple years.

          Grid connections offer some payback that a genny doesn’t.

          • Thanks for your response Anthony.
            It’s been all a little discouraging. Till Feb this year, I had only 3KW of solar panels, NO battery & was receiving credits.
            Then I paid $14,000 to extend to 6.5KW solar panels & a 9.6KW battery & now I am getting bills.
            The only electricity I use is:
            the fridge, tv for a couple of hours at night & washing machine once a week.
            I use oil lamps at night & have gas cooking. My water is heated by the panels during the day with a timer.
            How is this all a good thing? And just where & when will the extortion end?
            Pete

  10. @Pete For a conservative consumer such as yourself, you shouldn’t be seeing any power bills after that battery installation.

    May I ask what the make and model of your solar battery is?

    Also, from your electricity bills, could you tell us how much kWH energy are you using per month on average (just the usage component)?

    • Hi Sam,

      My Battery is a Sungrow SBR096.

      My average monthly KWH is 65. Though reading some of the posts from Origin Energy, customers are reporting the readers are amplifying the numbers purposely to sow distrust which then encourages people to sign up for smart meters.

      My battery rarely goes under 90%. The only appliances I use are the washing machine (once/week) & a rice cooker (once/week). Even though I use these during the middle of the day, these are the only days I have noticed that my battery depletes to about 70% later that night.

  11. SO here is a question I have just purchased a sungrow as per this article but I cannot seem to stop it taking form the grid when the grid is available so my battery stays at 100% and only gets used when the power fails but I only want to use power to charge the battery or feed my loads when the battery is below 40% (used to do this quite happily on my older SAM system.
    What am I doign wrong ?
    what have I missed ?
    This is supposed to be configurable as off grid or week grid/generator but even in this mode it still uses mains power/genrator as the prefered option oif available.
    the manual and supplier have not been helpfu

  12. Looking to upgrade my 10yr old solar system which is on a single phase in Perth.
    Current system is Aurora power 1 5kw inverter and 25 REC 250w panels.

    This system has been very good for the last 10yrs with the inverter being replaced once and it has averaged 16.69kwh export per day over the last 2 years.

    I’m looking to get a battery and hybrid inverter to be able to use this energy at night time.
    I have been quoted $22990 for a Sungrow hybrid sh5.0rs+ sungrow 19.2kwh battery and 26 x risen 440w n type with blackout protection on 2 circuits.
    Is this a good price and a reasonable system or would I be better leaving the existing panels (which work fine) and get either the sungrow inverter and battery. I know that the the winter time solar production with the old panels would not be enough to fill the battery and I would supplement this with a cheaper tarriff by importing from the grid.

  13. Do you know if it’s possible to connect Enphase IQ7+ microinverters to the backup side of the Sungrow RH10RT to allow the Enphase kit to produce energy during a grid outage and charge a Sungrow SBR battery stack?

    It seems possible with the Victron low voltage DC inverters.
    https://enphase.com/en-gb/download/ac-coupling-enphase-iq-microinverters-victron-battery-inverters-tech-brief

  14. Steve Best says

    Hi,
    I’m an installer considering switching to these hybrid Sungrow setups.
    The system I have been previously using featured black start capability.
    From what I can see from previous comments, these don’t have that feature but you mention a separate DC coupled mppt could achieve this. Any tips, I’d usually use a Victron MPPT but voltages, charging algorithms data etc. would be a bit unkown for me for a battery like this
    Cheers
    Steve

    • Anthony Bennett says

      Hi Steve,

      What are you normally installing for? There’s nothing available in terms of MPPT for a 300volt plus battery.

      If it’s a remote area system you normally build then I wouldn’t recommend a lightweight grid hybrid, even though to the best of my knowledge they do black start. Victron are perhaps 200% surge capacity but a hybrid will only make 120% so they struggle to start a motor.

  15. What happened to the 75% oversizing limit in Australia, ie a 5kW inverter not being allowed to be connected to anything over 6.6kW of panels? I had an installer yesterday saying this standard is still mandated to get your credits paid, but this review is promoting connecting the full 10kW of panels?
    Coincidentally another local installer had no issues quoting me for just off 10kW of panels on a 5 or 6kW Sungrow hybrid inverter.

    My house is single phase connected, in an aussie grid with a strict 5kW export limit.

  16. With the SH5.0RS inverter it only supplys an emergency circuit during a loss of the street supply so it would be no good for using that excess battery storage during the night to offset the peak loading, would that be correct? In other words you can only use the battery for emergency use only.

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