Fronius Inverters- Independent Review

Fronius Inverters Cover image

Overview of Fronius – Company History

Founded in Austria on June 20th 1945, Fronius is an international company with a 75 year history in the manufacture of welding equipment and nearly three decades of experience with solar inverters and other devices for monitoring and controlling energy, including battery chargers.

Fronius launched its first grid-connected solar inverter back in 1995. Since then Fronius has grown to become one of the industry leading solar inverter manufacturers, with 19 of 28 offices worldwide being involved with solar energy. This includes the Australian office located in Tullamarine, Victoria. Fronius inverters are suitable for a wide range of applications, including residential solar and commercial solar projects.

A Brief Rundown on Solar Inverters

A solar system’s inverter is the point at which the DC electricity produced by solar panels is turned into grid-compatible AC electricity.

String inverters have traditionally been the standard in the solar industry. They send the power produced by solar panels to a central inverter that changes it from the DC electricity to the usable AC electricity that powers homes.

Microinverters, on the other hand, convert DC to AC electricity at each individual panel and allow for monitoring and power regulation at the panel level. This is useful for homes that are located somewhere with shading from clouds, trees, or other buildings.

What is PV Evolution Labs Top Performer?

PV Evolution Labs (PVEL) independently test solar inverter reliability. The tests are voluntary, with solar inverter manufacturers paying to participate in the testing. This testing process is internationally renowned and is an accurate reflection of the solar inverter’s performance. To read the full PVEL scorecard click here.

In 2019 the Fronius Symo ranked as a top performer in the following tests:

  • High Temperature Operation
  • Transient Response
  • Ground and Arc Fault
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Fronius Inverters – Point of Difference

Fronius SnapINverters

A unique aspect about Fronius inverters is the SnapINverter technology. It’s a standardised wall mounted bracket with the inverter on a hinge system. This enables easy access for servicing as the inverter opens like a car boot, without needing to be removed from the wall.

Fronius Galvo

The Fronius Galvo is perfect for household self-consumption systems, with power categories ranging from 1.5 to 3.1kW. It includes the following advanced features.

  • Automatic High-Frequency Transformer Switchover
  • Integrated Data Communication
  • Smart Grid Ready
  • Zero Feed-In

Fronius Primo

The Fronius Primo is a transformerless single-phase inverter with power categories ranging from 3.0 to 8.2kW, making it an ideal option for a residential household inverter. It includes the following advanced features.

  • Integrated Data Communication
  • Superflex Design
  • Dynamic Peak Manager
  • Smart Grid Ready
  • Zero Feed-In Capability

Fronius Symo

The Fronius Symo is a transformerless three-phase inverter with power categories ranging from 3.0 to 20.0kW. This power range enables the Fronius Symo inverter to be applicable to the majority of residential solar systems. It includes the following advanced features.

  • Integrated Data Communication
  • Superflex Design
  • Dynamic Peak Manager
  • Smart Grid Ready
  • Zero Feed-In

Fronius Eco

The Fronius Eco is a transformerless three-phase inverter designed for large-scale installations. The commercially used inverter comes in 25 or 27kW power categories. The Fronius Eco inverter holds an Ingress Protection Rating (IP Rating) of 66, this means it’s dust-tight and able to withstand heavy seas or powerful jets of water. Both power categories hold an efficiency rating of over 98%, and due to the integrated double fuse holders and optional overvoltage protection, string collection boxes aren’t required.

It includes the following advanced features.

  • Integrated Data Communication
  • Dynamic Peak Manager
  • Smart Grid Ready
  • Zero Feed-In Capability

All of Fronius’ inverters are manufactured in Austria and come with CE certification. The CE mark lets the purchaser know that the product in question has met the legislated EU requirements for that type of product. The idea is that the legislated standards should be sufficient to protect consumers from sub-standard products. This quality assurance is part of the reason why Fronius is one of the industry leading manufacturers of inverters. 

Fronius Inverter Efficiency

Residential inverter efficiency standards are generally 95 to 98 percent, the Fronius Primo & Symo sit at or above 98% efficiency placing them towards the top of the industry in residential inverter efficiency.

Inverter efficiency technology can be seen in the Fronius Galvo. This inverter utilises an automatic high-frequency (HF) transformer with three efficiency peaks. This enables a higher percentage yield as the HF transformer is more efficient across the entire input voltage range.

Fronius Inverter Value and Warranty

An important aspect of getting the most value out of a solar inverter is to choose an appropriately sized inverter to optimise the solar panel system efficiency. To read about the importance of inverter sizing and system efficiency click here.

Fronius inverters capture value through a number of their components, however, their industry first data communication package is showcasing the evolution of solar inverters. The data communication connects to the internet providing the ability to monitor energy management and data logging. This information enables the system owner to increase their self-consumption rate, therefore reducing reliance on grid power.

Both the Fronius Primo and Symo models utilise the Fronius Superflex Design. This design creates value as the two maximum power point trackers (MPP) enable the accommodation of the entire nominal inverter output, regardless of roof orientation or partial shading. The inverters track the MPP through the Dynamic Peak Manager algorithm, this dynamically adapts the optimal operating point.

In Australia, all CEC approved Fronius inverters come with a 5 year warranty for parts and labour. A free additional 5 year extension (parts only) to the warranty can be claimed through, registering at solarweb within 30 months of the factory inverter dispatch. A warranty extension can also be purchased from the inverter installer within 30 months of the inverters dispatch from the Fronius factory. This can be for 10, 15 or 20 years, making the longest possible warranty 25 years.

Fronius Inverter Costs

As Fronius inverters are manufactured in Europe this higher quality product comes with a higher price tag in comparison to the inverters that are manufactured in China.

Keep in mind that inverter costs generally only run between 10-20% of your total system, so often it is worth investing in a high quality inverter given this will have a large impact on the efficiency and performance of your entire system.

A Full Range of Fronius Inverters Available in Australia 

The majority of Fronius’s Inverters are approved by the Clean Energy Council for the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, which is Australia’s home solar rebate program. A notable exclusion is the Fronius Symo Hybrid, this system combines a battery charging system, battery inverter, hybrid inverter, controller and system monitoring solution in one 3-5kW device.

Fronius Galvo 1.5 – 3.1kW

Fronius Primo 3.0 – 8.2kW

Fronius Symo 3.0 – 20.0kW

Fronius Inverter Specifications

 Fronius Galvo 3.0-1Fronius Primo 5.0-1 AUS Fronius Symo 5.0-3-M
Rated AC Power Output3,000W4,600W5,000W
Maximum Continuous Output Current13A21.7A7.2A
Maximum DC Power6,000W7,500W10,000W
Maximum Inverter Efficiency96.1%98.1%98%
Dimensions with Safety Switch/Connection Unit645 x 431 x 204 mm645 x 431 x 204 mm645 x 431 x 204 mm
Weight16.8 kg21.5kg19.9kg
Warranty5 Years (Extendable up to 25 years)5 Years (Extendable up to 25 years)5 Years (Extendable up to 25 years)
Operational Temperature Range-25°C to 50°C 

-40°C to 55°C

 

-25°C to 60°C
Made inAustriaAustriaAustria

Example of a Fronius Commercial Solar Project 

The Philippines has seen quite a rise in the number of solar systems being installed over the past few years. This is due to the public grid being unable to reliably supply power to the 13 million Filipinos living in the metropolitan area surrounding Manila.

In April of 2019 a field located in Tarlac City, Philippines had a 20MW system equipped with 612 Fronius Eco inverters go live. The system included 61,200 solar panels to total the 20MW, the installation was completed in 5 months.

By installing the Fronius Eco the overall potential yield of the panels was increased. Although, for an installation of this magnitude it is unusual for the inverters used to be string inverters. However, it is because of the string inverters that the system is able to be more efficient. String inverters work better in conditions such as partial shade compared to central inverters. It was estimated that the system will produce around 32,000MWh of electricity, reducing CO2 by around 18.6million kg.

Fronius Field Installation TARLAC CITY, PHILIPPINES

Jack Boutchard

Writer at Solar Choice
Jack Boutchard

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