Two titans of industry, two rising stars... two solar inverter companies. SMA and Fronius are both considered to be industry leaders in premium grade solar inverter technology, and both are competing head to head for the Australian market. While there is no denying both companies provide a great quality product, it's time to put them to the test and discover both their strengths and their hidden weaknesses.
Many argue that Fronius has had to catch up to SMA in regards to industry reputation and quality, but it would be entirely fair game these days to put Fronius ahead of SMA, depending on what type of system is best for your home. However, SMA is considered the ‘granddaddy’ and you can’t deny their experience, being founded in 1981, which is more like 1750 for the solar industry.
First of all, both companies are from Europe, which is renowned for its top tier solar and renewable technologies, unlike China, which has gotten a bad rap due to deregulation. In regards to efficiency, Fronius touts its ground-breaking MPPT efficiency which helps their range achieve an efficiency of 96.1% for their Galvo model up to 98.7% for their Eco model. SMA has an average efficiency of 97% for most models with a range of only 1%. It’s hard to fault either company on their outstanding quality, however Fronius has patented technology allowing inbuilt switch gears and DC isolators, making for a plug and play experience. On top of this Fronius offers a future-proof symo hybrid which allows homeowners to easily install batteries in the future.
Fronius offers 10 years as a standard for all string inverters, with the option of extension up to 20 years. SMA on the other hand has historically only offered a 5 year warranty, however they are planning on extending this in the near future as a standard for all customers. Once again it’s a close call, as Fronius offers a 20 year warranty at a premium and SMA is planning on increasing their standard warranty soon.
This is where we start to see a point of difference. Fronius, is renowned for offering top quality monitoring through their advanced Webapp, which allows you to check in on your smartphone any time you have access to the internet. Combine this with a Tigo Panel Monitoring System and it feels like solar of the future. SMA offer similar services through the Sunny Portal as well as in home interfaces that look similar to a tablet. However, the Fronius Primo can not only monitor the solar intake, but also the input or output to the Grid and the house's current power consumption.
All in all, both companies are at the top of their game in regards to quality, warranty and monitoring and there aren’t many companies out there that can compare. However, we do have to give it to Fronius for not only having an edge in regards to monitoring and quality but also for their enormous achievement of catching up to the ‘granddaddy’ of solar inverters.