Fronius Solar inverter review


Fronius Symo image



Fronius Solar Inverter Review Australia - Updated April 2021
Fronius are the 12th largest solar inverter manufacturer in the World.

Summary
All Fronius inverters are designed and made in Austria.
Fronius inverters are exceptionally reliable.

There are several residential Fronius inverters, the table below summarises them.
Click blue links for datasheets/pictures.

Phase(s)
Single
Three
Single
Three
Battery
None
None
BYD (400V)
BYD (400V)
Models
3kW to 8kW
3kW to 20kW
5kW to 10kW
3kW to 10kW
Optimisers
Tigo
Tigo
Tigo
Tigo
BackUp
None
None
Yes
Yes
5kW model Oversize
6.66kW
6.66kW
9.5kW
9.5kW
WIFI
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Warranty*
10 years inc.labour
10 years inc.labour
10 years inc.labour
10 years inc.labour
5kW Price
$2,070
$2,300
$3,355
$4,100
Available
Since 2013
Since 2013
Now
Now (except 5kW)

Here are some common questions and answers about Fronius solar inverters.

Are Fronius inverters battery ready?
The single phase Primo and the 3 phase Symo are NOT battery ready, but the latest GEN24 Plus models are ready to connect BYD high voltage solar batteries.

Are Fronius inverters noisy?
All Fronius inverters, even the latest GEN24 Plus models have fans to keep the inverter cool.
Many of our customers have reported a significant noise coming from the inverters when they are woking hard.

Are Fronius inverters any good?
The Primo and Symo models have been sold since 2013 so they are certainly not the latest technology, but they are exceptionally reliable with a design life of 20 years. The WIFI and reporting in the Solar.web app is good but the efficiency is only average by today's standards, but good for technology that's over eight years old.

The latest GEN24 Plus inverters are a different story, incorporating the latest solar and battery technology as explained later in this review.

Where are Fronius inverters made?
All Fronius inverters, without exception, are designed and manufactured in Austria.

How much are Fronius inverters?
The single phase Fronius Primo 5kW is $2,000, the 5kW three phase Symo is $2,300 and the new GEN24Plus is $4,100.

Are Fronius inverters more expensive?
Yes, there is certainly an extra price premium to pay for anything solar that is made in Europe, not China.

What batteries are compatible with Fronius inverters?
Build Your Dreams (BYD) batteries, specifically the 400V or HV range work with the Fronius GEN24 Plus inverters.
It is disappointing that Fronius decided to work with a third party battery brand rather than develop their own as Huawei, SolarEdge, Growatt and others have done.

Do Fronius inverters have backup?
The new GEN 24 Plus range includes a switchboard installed 'contactor' to deliver up to 5kW (20.8A) backup from the BYD batteries when the grid goes down.
The change-over time from the moment the grid is lost to delivering backup is a somewhat slow 45-90 seconds so in no way can it be called a UPS.
Whilst Fronius call it 'full' backup, and certainly the contactor works on all phases, the 20A limitation means that it is still only an 'essential loads' backup as with other inverters.

Do Fronius inverters need a battery to provide backup?
Fronius call this feature PV Point basic grid back-up, and Fronius GEN24 Plus inverters can provide power directly to an outlet from the solar panels when the grid goes down.
It's not much but you might run an extension lead to your WIFI router to keep that alive when the grid fails, or perhaps your TV. Depends on what is most important to you at the time.
The feature is by no means unique. Some Delta and SMA inverters have had this feature for some time.

Do the panels still charge the Fronius battery when the grid goes down?
Yes. To the best of my knowledge this is a standard feature for all solar + battery inverters including Fronius GEN24 Plus.

What is Fronius Dynamic Peak Manager?
That's an algorithm that milks the absolute most out of the solar panels it can, giving a maximum efficiency of 98.1%
Impressive, although Huawei, SMA and everyone else of quality does the same, some with even higher efficiency (98.6% for Huawei).

What is Fronius Multi Flow Technology?
Multi Flow Technology means that the inverter can manage energy flows in all directions.
It can simultaneously accept DC power from the solar panels, store panel power into the battery or release battery power to the house.
It is what ALL solar + battery inverters do, not just Fronius, but it's a very good name to describe the function.

What is Fronius SuperFlex Design?
SuperFlex Design means that Fronius GEN24Plus inverters have a 25A input current limit on the first MPPT so two strings can be connected in parallel to it. What that really means is that if you were connecting 18 panels, you can have, for example 5 panels facing West, and 5 panels facing East, joined in parallel on that first input and the remaining 8 panels facing North on the second input, achieving panels on three roof orientations, not the usual two.

Do Fronius have their own DC optimisers or micro inverters?
No, Fronius do not manufacturer optimisers, but as with any other inverter, Tigo optimisers can be used. Fronius have no integration with Tigo Cloud Connect (SMA inverters have this integration). Only Huawei and SolarEdge inverter manufacturers also make their own optimisers.

Which is better, Fronius or SMA?
SMA do not have any 'solar + battery' inverters yet.
SMA have 'solar' only models Sunny Boy AV41 and TriPower and SMA have a 'battery only' inverter called SunnyBoy Storage, but no inverter that combines both.
Fronius are 100% European made, SMA make their single phase AV41 range in China.
It's hard to find anything that would tip the balance strongly one way or the other, but to this reviewer, Fronius win.

Which is better, Fronius or Huawei?
I bought Huawei for my own house.

How long is the Fronius warranty?
As previously stated, there is little doubt that Fronius inverters are designed for the long haul. Significantly longer than their 10 year warranty.

Are Fronius financially stable?
Elizabeth Strauss, nee Fronius, appears to run a very profitable ship.
Unlike SMA who took a bit of a hiding with their expansion into, and subsequent retreat from China, Fronius don't appear to have made any such risky moves.
We understand that Fronius are going to start charging $40 a year for their 'Premium' version of Solar.Web reporting which is further evidence that Fronius don't really consider they have too much competition in the sector of the market they operate in.

What does a Fronius smart meter do?
Fronius smart meters do the same job as any other inverter smart meter which is primarily to provide data to the inverter about solar exports back to the grid, imports from the grid and self consumption of solar production.
The Fronius Primo and Symo can't connect a battery, but the GEN24 Plus can, and then the smart meter has another function to perform which is to inform the inverter when to either store, or release battery power depending on household loads.
Western Australia currently does not have 'export limiting' but the rest of Australia does, and the Fronius smart meter is also used for this function.

How much does the Fronius smart meter cost?
The single phase Fronius smart meter costs $200 and the 3 phase $400.
In addition there is usually about $200 installation costs.

If you have any questions about Fronius inverters, or any other solar products for that matter, please use the Contact Us page above to get in touch.


 

 

 

 

 

 

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This review was written by Andrew MacKeith, Solar4Ever service manager since 2011.