Sunways Solar Inverters Arriving In Australia Soon

Sunways solar inverters and Suntech Australia

It won’t be long before there will be yet another solar inverter choice available in Australia – Sunways, which is being launched here exclusively through Suntech Australia.

First, a very brief history of Sunways.

The company was founded in Konstanz, Germany in 1993. In 2014, Sunways was acquired by Suntech’s parent company, Shunfung Clean Energy Group. Some time after the acquisition, Sunways moved production to Cixi, China, to minimise production costs and provide a competitive price point.

Suntech says the Cixi facility has a production capacity of 20,000 units per month (update: see below). The brochure and Sunways web site says 10,000 units a month, but it may be a little out of date. Sunways says it has 50+ R&D staff out of 300 employees.

Single-Phase Inverters First, Three-Phase/Hybrid To Follow

The first Sunways inverter products that will be available in Australia in the next couple of weeks is the single phase STS range, in 3 – 6kW capacities (update: see below). The STS offers 98.1% efficiency and Suntech says they come with a 10-year warranty as standard (update: see below).

There is some info already on the Suntech site, but it only mentions a 5-year warranty (as does the Sunways site) so that’s something worth confirming before purchasing – both may just be yet to update content. 10 years is a good warranty for an inverter in the lower pricing range, as some manufacturers only offer 5 years. But as with any manufacturer, check for devil in the warranty detail and that you’re also looking at the latest datasheet.

The single-phase models will be followed by the 3-phase range (12-year warranty I’m told) launching in a couple of months, and the hybrid range will be available in Australia towards the third quarter of this year.

The Clean Energy Council web site indicates the Sunways single phase inverters were approved for installation in Australia under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES – aka the solar rebate) on November 25, 2020, with the manufacturer name being Ningbo Sunways Technologies Co Ltd.

While Sunways inverters are yet to prove their mettle in Australia, that they are being supplied and supported via Suntech is encouraging. It’s another company that has been around for a long time and while Suntech has certainly had its ups and downs, it has stayed the course when many other solar panel manufacturers have completely fallen by the wayside.

As for the cost of Sunway inverters, I’m told by Suntech Australia the 5kW single-phase model will be “more than half the price of the SMA equivalent”, but perhaps what was meant was “less than”.

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Update February 11: Further communications from Suntech indicate:

  • Sunways have confirmed production capacity is currently 10,000 units per month. The company will be ramping up to 20,000 units per month by 2022.
  • The Sunways standard warranty for the Australian market is to be 12 years on the single phase as well as three-phase inverters, but warranty documentation is still being updated.
  • Suntech confirms the cost to supply should be less than half the price of an equivalent SMA inverter

Update February 15: Suntech now tells us the single phase STS will be available in 3 – 5kW capacities, and the Sunways AU warranty document has been updated to reflect 12 years.

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But of course price isn’t everything and while choice can be a wonderful thing, too much of it can be very confusing. The CEC’s approved inverter listing currently has 1,351 products from 112 manufacturers.

Solar panels tend to steal the limelight when system buyers are choosing a solar package – but an inverter works hard in often harsh conditions and is the component most likely to fail first, so selection is very important. Pick up some tips for choosing a good solar inverter.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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