Solar Choice is committed to expanding our knowledge base, and sharing that culture of knowledge with you. While we work with a wide range of installers who use a wide variety of inverters, we also strive to learn as much as we can about the products they install.
Recently, Jason Keller of SMA Australia visited our office to tell us all about Sunny Boy inverters and the Sunny Design software program that enables installers to customize any SMA-based solar energy system.
Sunny Boy Inverters
SMA Solar Technology is based out of Germany and is the world’s largest producer of solar inverters, with 40% of the global market share. Their Sunny Boy line is ideal for home rooftop systems, but can also be used with midrange installations up to 20 kW.
SMA has been manufacturing inverters for nearly thirty years ”one of the longest track records in the industry” and the Sunny Boys have a reputation for high quality and reliability.
Jason acknowledged that the Sunny Boy may be more expensive than some newer models coming out of China. However, he noted that it’s worth the difference. Quality, testing, comprehensive customer service ”that’s what you’re paying for. Sunny Boys come with a five-year factory warranty, and are designed to last 20-25 years.
While the nominal capacity of the inverter is often listed on tech sheets, the maximum capacity will often be a couple hundred Watts more. Installation companies will often pair the most appropriate inverter for the panels being used.
Jason went on to explain that it is very difficult to blow an appropriately sized inverter in Australia. This is because solar panels prefer cold weather and direct sunlight to achieve maximum power. The danger of over-voltage reaching the inverter generally only occurs during sustained temperatures of -10ºC and lower. When in doubt have your Solar Choice broker or installer recommend the correct size inverter and utilize SMA’s Sunny Design software to design an appropriate grid array and inverter.
Some people may choose to purchase a larger capacity inverter with the intention of adding more solar panels some time in the future. This may be practical if the extra panels are added within a year or two.
Sunnyboy inverters have a well established reputation for quality, and are constantly developing. Jason reports that the new SMA generation of inverters are equipped with innovative technologies such as OpticTrac and H5-topology, both of which create greater efficiencies even with smaller systems less than 3kW.
For the sake of simplicity, many of the installers in our network issue quotes based on a set configuration using their preferred components. However, solar installations can be customized and tailor-made to meet more complex requirements.
Sunny Design is a software program that assists installation engineers in creating optimal configurations using any brand of solar panel in conjunction with SMA inverters. This allows installers”and our senior brokers”to design custom-built solar energy systems.
The Road Ahead
Jason was also pretty excited about some of the new technological innovations being brought to the Australian market by SMA, such as high-frequency inverters.
But high demand may mean that it will be a few months before you can get your hands on a Sunny Boy. SMA inverters are built to order, and due to a worldwide shortage in electronic components such as transistors and semi-conductors, it may be 3-6 months before SMA can resolve their backlog of orders.
For more information, visit the SMA website at http://www.sma-australia.com.au/en_AU.html.
Written by John Yurasek
Solar Energy Consultant
© 2010 Solar Choice Pty Ltd
We have returned from Holidays,and found that our sharp jh-1600E
inverter on our 1.5 kw solar panel system,been operating for 5years
1 month,is giving a D27 error message.
I am thinking of replacing it with a SMA of same size.
Am I able to do that , are they like for like.
When you replace an inverter, the new one doesn’t have to be the same brand but it is a good idea to choose one that is roughly the same size (capacity). I’d recommend getting quotes from a few different companies to see what they would charge you for replacement.
We here at Solar Choice give quote comparisons for rooftop solar and battery storage, but not for inverter replacements – you can Google around to find a company who would do this job in your area.
And yes, SMA is a brand with a fantastic reputation and a strong customer support presence in Australia.
Good luck with your system!
hi im trying to find out truthful information about a sunny boy solar inverter that is In our garage as we have now converted the garage into a bedroom for our teenage son and it hums and buzzes and we are worried for his health should we move it out of there and if so do we use an electrician or a solar installer . Please help thanks
If you have any concerns, I’d recommend getting in touch with your installer or SMA directly with your question. You can call SMA on Tel. +61 (02) 9491 4200 – they have excellent customer service here in Australia.
Inverters are not usually installed directly inside a living space, so there may want to investigate the topic further.
Best of luck!
I have read that the sunnyboy inverters can or may overheat only in sustained -10 degree temps. everything else I have read states mount inverter in shade,well ventilated etc.
We have a SB2100TL on a 1.5Kw system and inverter is mounted shady position on wall facing street, due to this I have mounted a standard Galvenised fuse box with top and bottom removed over the inverter to give it some form of vandal protection
Our ambient temps min +8 to max +40+
I am wondering what problems if any may be encountered
I have been quoted to run a 6kw system (24 x 250kw panels) through a sunnyboy 5000TL 5kw inverter. Is this the norm or is the salesman just try to sell me an extra 4 panels. Can this damage the inverter? Would I be better off cutting back to 20 panels?
It’s common practice to oversize solar arrays to improve overall system efficiency. You can read an excellent article on this topic here.
I have just bought a new house with solar panels and a sunny boy box. How do I find out what it is doing and whether it is connected to anything, as it does not appear to be feeding back into the “grid”.
Thanks for the comment. SMA (which manufactures the Sunny Boy inverterthat you have on your wall) is famous for its customer service. If you contact them, they will be happy to help you with any questions you have, free of charge–even if your questions are not only about your inverter, but the system as a whole.
SMA contact information.
I am having a Sunnyboy 3000TL inverter installed with my solar system soon in Adelaide. My question is should I install the inverter in my garage , protected from the elements, or on an Eastery shady outside wall ?
Thanks for the question. SMA recommends mounting inverters indoors in a well-ventilated area wherever possible. (Having it indoors will also mean that it is not easy for bad guys to make off with or vandalise.) If you are forced to mount the inverter outside for some reason, it’s best to put it somewhere in the shade.
Good luck with your system!
could i split a 8 to 10 k w system say 3 kw to garage and 7 kw to house on the one inverter yours truly terry
If you wanted to split your 8-10kW system to deliver 3kw to the garage and 7kW to the house there are two ways of doing this.
The zero cost method is to not run anything that takes more than 7kw in your house during the hours of the day and you will automatically get 3kW to your garage and 7kW to your house.
The other method is to purchase another inverter because you would have to split 3kW and 7kW at the source of generation (i.e. the outlet of the panel).
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