SMA’s Sunny Boy: Under The Hood. Chinese vs German Manufacturing

chinese and german sma sunny boy

2 x 5kW SMA Sunny Boy Inverters. One made in China (SMA SB 5.0-1AV-40), one made in Germany (SB5000TL-21). How do they compare?

SMA have released a new single phase inverter. They kept the same joyful name of “Sunny Boy” however the model has changed from what was known as the “dash 21” to the “dash 40”.

But let me tell you a well-known secret about the SMA “dash 40”. The respected German manufacturer is manufacturing these new SMA inverters in China.


Has this turned the single phase model of SMA inverters into a cheap Chinese inverter? To find out, I bought myself a 5kW Chinese-built SMA “dash 40” and pulled it apart to compare it to the 5kW German made “dash 21”.

In this post, I’ll first look at the external features: the “smart screen”, the Sunny Home Manager, and the inbuilt DC isolator.

Then I’ll look at the internal build quality, and where the different components are manufactured. Finally, we’ll discuss the after sales service and warranty of SMA. [Read more…]

SunPower And SMA Choose To (Very Discreetly) Manufacture In China


sma sunpower Chinese welcome

High end manufacturers SunPower And SMA have chosen to manufacture in China. But they aren’t exactly advertising the fact.

China produces far more solar panels, far more solar inverters, and god knows how many more batteries than any other country in existence.  China has been called the workshop of the world1 and has repeatedly shown itself to be capable of producing high quality, reliable goods. [Read more…]

SMA Sunny Boy Storage: Easily retrofit battery storage to your existing solar

sunny boy storage

The Sunny Boy Storage. A low(ish) cost way to add a Powerwall and other batteries to your existing solar system. Image: SMA

The SMA Sunny Boy Storage is a battery-inverter that you can use to add battery storage to your existing rooftop solar system.

It does not store energy itself, but integrates modern battery packs, such as the Tesla Powerwall, into your home’s electricity supply. It is exciting because it is the cheapest and simplest way to add a battery such as the Powerwall to your existing system. This is because it can re-use your existing inverter – no need to replace it. [Read more…]

Aurora Inverters sold to Swiss giant for a cool $1Billion. SMA should be worried…

an aurora inverter surrounded by cash

Power-One has been sold to ABB for $1B

I’m a big fan of Aurora inverters. These thoroughbred Italian inverters are manufactured by a company called Power-One and are the second best selling inverters on the planet. (The best selling are SMA in case you didn’t know)

So news of Power-One being sold, lock, stock and barrel to Swiss engineering conglomerate ABB, made me sit up and take notice.


Two reasons: [Read more…]

This Growatt Inverter Review is Good.. But What About The Reliability?

The scores for the growatt inverter review

Photon Magazine July 2012 Awarded good marks to the Growatt 5000MTL

The latest issue of industry bible: Photon International has an in depth Growatt inverter review of the 5000MTL. A popular 5kW solar inverter from China.

It performs well in the efficiency tests, scoring an A grade at high irradiation (i.e. strong sun) and a B grade at medium irradiation. It ranked in the top third of all devices tested by the magazine over the past few years.

So to cut a long story short – Growatts are one of the better Chinese inverters out there. And they are certainly a lot cheaper than the European inverters on the market.

But there is a question mark over the quality control in the Growatt factory. [Read more…]

SunGrow Inverter beats SMA in Latest Inverter Reviews

sungrow and sma inverter

Chinese Sungrow Vs German SMA Inverters: Which ones are best?

Note: This post is just one opinion on Sungrow Inverters. Click here for lots of Customer Reviews of Sungrow Inverters to see how they have performed in Australian homes over the last few years.

If you are considering buying a Sungrow Inverter over an SMA inverter – then you should also check out customers’ SMA reviews. You’ll see that, in practice, SMA inverters are more reliable. This is to be expected, since SMA are double the price of a Sungrow!

Now back to the post…

Yesterday I received my latest issue of the solar industry bible, Photon International  via airmail all the way from Germany. Whilst many people may get excited by the latest issue of Top Gear Australia magazine or Better Homes & Gardens, I’m one of those odd people that gets my kicks looking through the latest solar panel and inverter specs.

[Read more…]

How Does Temperature Affect Your Solar Inverter Power?

Inverter positioned badly

Don’t mount your inverter where the sun can cook it!

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you are probably already aware of how high ambient temperatures negatively affect solar panel performance.

But did you know that when it gets hot outside, those scorching Aussie temperatures can also cause the efficiency of your solar inverter to drop? [Read more…]

How long will SMA Inverters stay top dog in solar?

Solar Edge, Samil Power and SMA inverters

If, like me, you get turned on by Solar Inverters, then here are three companies doing very cool stuff that I think you should look out for in 2012:

[Read more…]

Get the latest solar, battery and EV charger news straight to your inbox every Tuesday