Bookmark and Share

Which Solar Inverters to buy – Best Inverter Buys in 2013

5 Comment

Solar Inverters

Like solar panels, solar inverters is also a huge market with stiff competition. The Solar inverter industry has undergone Solar Invertermajor consolidation. Top solar inverter companies used to be European, as almost 80% of the global solar demand used to come from Europe. However, with the rise of the Japanese and Chinese markets the solar inverter industry is becoming too much fragmented. Listed below are the major solar inverter brands that you can consider buying. Readers are also advised to visit the respective company’s website for more technical details.

Read more about Solar Inverters – Tutorial, Manufactures, Prices and Warranties here.

1) SMA Solar

SMA  Solar is the world’s biggest supplier and manufacturer of solar inverters. Over 3.5 GW of SMA solar inverters are installed globally and the company employs thousands of people globally. SMA Solar faces competition from Chinese companies who have a dominant presence in the growing domestic market of China. However SMA is known as the best brand of solar inverter in the industry for its high quality and reliability.

SMA sells  a wide variety of solar inverters  for different markets of medium power solutions, solar power plants as well as residential solutions:

i) Grid tied Inverters

a) Sunny Boy – Sunny Boy inverters are targeted mainly towards the residential market and come in a wide variety of sizes starting  from 460 Watts and ending at 10000 Watts. They come with Shade management with OptiTrac Global Technology and H5-Topology Transformer technology, which ensures one of the best yields in the industry. Sunny Boys are available in both transformer and transformerless types and have efficiency ranging between 95-97%.

b) Sunny Tower – Sunny Tower is a central inverter with an efficiency of up to 98 %. It has  OptiCool temperature management system and a modular design. It is possible to combine Sunny Mini Central with Sunny Boy inverters, thus guaranteeing maximum flexibility in plant design and expansion.

c) Sunny Tripower – These are utility grade 3 phase solar inverters with two MPP inputs and a broad input voltage range. It has Optiprotect with self-learning string-failure detection, electronic string fuse and integrable DC surge arrester. It has Bluetooth communication ability and efficiency rating of 98.2%. It comes in the 8-17 kw ranges.

d) Sunny Central – These  are SMA’s main solar inverters for the solar power plant market. Sunny Centrals have String monitoring, capacity for teamwork and the ability to feed into the medium- voltage power grid. The Sunny Centrals are easy to install – indoors as well as outdoors, with peak efficiency of over 98 %. Sunny Central have power ratings starting from 100 kilowatts and going upto 1.25 MW which makes it one of the biggest solar inverters in the market. They have extended input voltage range up to 1100 V.

ii) Off-grid Inverters

Sunny Island – These solar inverters are targeted towards off grid solar power market. These come  with a battery pack and the devices form a self-sufficient AC voltage grid. PV and wind energy systems, diesel devices, water or CHP (Combined Heat and Power) can be coupled on the AC side just as conventional 230 Volt consumers. They come in 600 to 5000 Watt power range. They can reach the maximum efficiency level of over 96 %. They have an intelligent battery management for maximum battery life and a 5 year warranty as well.

SMA Solar gives a 5 year warranty on its products like most of the other western manufacturers of solar inverters and also gives an extended 10 years solar warranty for an additional payment.

2) Fronius

Fronius International has production bases in Austria, Czech and Ukraine and the company generated almost 500 million euros of revenue in 2010. Fronius has a Solar Electronics division, under which it manufactures Solar Inverters. Fronius has been involved in photovoltaics since 1992. In 1995 it started selling the  “Sunrise” grid-connected solar inverter for generating electricity from solar energy and feeding it into the power grid.

Fronius manufactures Grid Connected Inverters, where solar energy is converted into electricity and fed into the public grid. Types of such inverters are:

a) Fronius IG Series – These are mainly meant of residential solar systems and come in the small single digit kilowatt range. They also have outdoor solar inverters which gives better protection from the weather. Fronius IG comes with integrated DC and AC disconnects.

b) Fronius IG  Plus Series – These are an enhancement of the IG Series. The products are available in power classes from 3 to 12 kW. There are both 3 phase and single phase inverters.

c) Fronius IG TL Series – The Fronius IG TL series is targeted at single-family homes and agricultural or commercial operations. It has the standard system monitoring. The inverters are in the range of 3 kilowatt to 5 kilowatts.

d) Fronius CL Series – These are the biggest solar inverters made by Fronius and come in 3 sizes of 36, 48 and 60 kw. These are central inverters.

e) Fronius Galvo – designed for self consumption system.

f) Fronius Agilo – these are 3 phase central inverters.

Fronius comes with warranties of 10, 15 and 20 years which makes it distinct from other solar inverter manufacturers.

3) Kaco New Energy

Kaco is in the sine inverter business since the last 60 years. Like SMA,this is also a German company though privately held. It too benefited from the strong growth in German solar market in 2009 and 2010 to become a large players. Kaco energy manufactures quality solar inverters that are tested for different temperature cycles. The different inverters are:

a) 00xi Series – 96.5% CEC efficiency on all 00xi series inverters. The same inverter can be used in 208V, 220V or 240V grid settings.

b) 02x Series – 95.5% CEC efficiency on all 02x series inverters and can be used in 208V, 220V or 240V grid settings.

c) 02xi Series –  95.5% CEC efficiency on all 02xi series inverters and can be used in 208V, 220V or 240V grid settings.

d) XP Series – 96% CEC efficiency, generates fast return on investment, internal 24V power supply with Integrated DC recombiner.

e) M Series– The blueplanet 6400M/7600M inverter with integrated Tigo Maximizer Management Unit (MMU).

f) TL3 Series – The blueplanet 50.0 TL3 product line is based on the field proven 39.0 TL3 with around 700 MW of installed capacity globally.

4) Schneider Electric

This European Electrical Equipment Giant got into the solar inverter market by buying up Canadian Producer Xantrex. Schneider is known for its premium high quality products. It manufactures:

i) Context core XC series ( 1000 V DC) and GT Grid Tie inverters (6ooV DC) for ground mounted plants

ii) GT Series and Context TX Grid tie inverters for residential purpose and

iii) GT (600V DC) and Context TX (1000 V DC) and Context core XC series ( 1000 V DC) Grid tie inverters for industrial and commercial purposes.

5) ABB

Deals in power and automation technologies. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 130,000 people. The company has 12 manufacturing facilities in India. It bought Power One for $1 billion. The different solar inverters manufactured are:

i) String Inverters – PVS300, 3.3 to 8 kW

ii) Central Inverters – PVS800, 100 to 1000 kW

Indian Solar Inverter Brands

Some of the local Indian Brands manufacturing solar inverters are:

a) Sukam is one of the largest battery manufactures in India supplying to a wide range of applications. It manufactures PV grid connected inverters and solar Sine wave inverters. With a turnover of over INR 10 billion, the company has a nationwide network of office

b) Luminous sells both grid-tied inverters as well as inverters for off grid solar applications. The 74 % shares of the company was acquired by Schneider Electric for INR 14 billion.

c) Hykon India manufactures Grid tie inverters – central, micro and string inverters in the 75-300 KW range. The corporate office is located at Thrissur, with more than ten branches in South India.

Micro inverters

Enphase Energy is the pioneer of the “microinverter” in the solar industry. The company has been reporting improve sales almost every quarter with impressive margins. Enphase Energy makes solar products that help in the production of solar energy from solar cells rather than being involved in the production of solar panels themselves. Enphase has created an entire new category of Solar Inverters – Micro-Inverters. The company manufactures:

i) M190 Microinverter – Power Capacity 190 W, Peak Inverter Efficiency 95.5% and Warranty 15 years.

ii) M210 Microinverter – Power Capacity 210 W, Peak Inverter Efficiency 96% and Warranty 15 years.

iii) D380 Microinverter – Power Capacity 380 W, Peak Inverter Efficiency 95.5% and Warranty 15 years.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

5 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Grid Tie Inverter in India

    These inverters use renewable energy and produce power which is useful for home needs and industry, can reduce the usage of traditional energy. These are Eco friendly and have long life compared to incandescent lights.


    A good article with a nice summary of the various options that buyers have.

    – Prashant.

  3. Sam

    you havent add anything regarding two important issues that are required for analyze any purchase in India. You have consider only efficiency, and this is one of the important factor to consider for purchase one but not the only one. If you basses your decision only considering this and the price you are completely wrong.

    The performance in function operation temperature. derating factor. Range of temperature operation. and
    range of humidity operation. setting that are recommended by manufacturer for humidity and temperature and when start to have some looses.
    The Euro efficiency its an standard parameter for compare, but for india it dosent has sense. there isnt any correspondence with weighted average factor that this Euroeficiency equation consider with the reality of Indian weather. then in some case you are making an error

    without those data due the Indian specific weather I dont purchase any the only one that i can recommended for India is SMA by far the best one.You are correct It has the lowest number of failure and a demonstrated highest reliability. and completely ill-advised xantrex. I dont know how you have included in this list, for Indian market. A lot of inverter made by xantrex have an issue with the humidify. You can ask in some solar plan. There is some project with this problem they are losing a lot of generation, in the morning during monsoon, they shut down with 80% of humidity and you are not allow to change the setting if you dont want to lose the warranty. Even in some inverter havent installed a good sensor for control this parameter (some models not all). ask to the manufacturer for those both parameters previously to take a decision.
    best regards

  4. Nikunj kumar

    A price of ABB Makes indoor 1000KW inverter of grid connected And 2.5MVA transformer.

  5. CW

    I bought a Kaco for a customer; it would not work right out of the box. Kaca would not warranty it except if I paid the shipping. I will never use another one.