Fronius is one of the few inverter manufacturers that still makes their product in the EU. Based out of Austria, the inverter manufacturer is extremely professional and their product stands the test of time. We would say that Fronius is second only to SMA. The following is our detailed review of the product and features based on using it at my residence.
Inverter Build quality- 5/5
With a die cast aluminium body, the inverter not only looks and feels good, but is good for heat dissipation. This is even more beneficial in India’s hot conditions- as more and more string inverters are being installed outdoors. This IP66 inverter will fare well in our climate. The inverter I used at home (Fronius Symo 4.5-3.0-S) weighs less than 20 kgs and has handles inbuilt into the frame. Light and compact, it and can be easily handled by just two people.
Availability in 3 Phase for Small capacities even- 5/5
Fronius’ Symo is a transformerless three phase inverter available in capacities starting at 3 kW! This is only company we could identify that has such specifications with all the required IEC certificates which makes it the only option sometimes for residential installations with 3 phase connections.
Some installers use single phase inverters with three phase net metered connections- while this is still not illegal as per our net metering guidelines, we are sure the CEA will notice their blunder soon and mandate the use of three phase inverters where the home connection is also three phase. Further, using single phase inverters with three phase connections adversely affects the power factor is savings are greatly reduced.
Wide MPPT Range- 4.5/5
Fronius’ Symo range has an extremely wide MMPT voltage range of 150-800 V. This is huge bonus as the system can pair with almost any solar module and also with higher wattage modules. For a system integrator this means added flexibility.
Dual MPPT- 4.5/5
While I used the single MPPT version for cost considerations, Fronius has dual MPPT inverters starting at as low as 3.7 kW! For residential roofs, where different sections of the roof are get shading at different times of the day, this feature can provide higher annual generation.
Unbalanced MPPT Loading- 5/5
This feature is again a huge plus for multi-oriented or irregular roofs like we have in India. You can connect different wattage to each of the strings in your solar plant to take maximum benefit of sunshine.
Remote monitoring- 5/5
Fronius Full version inverters come with in built web based remote monitoring. Being a solar professional and data buff this is the version is chose to install at my residence. The mobile interface is extremely intuitive. The device also has considerable inbuilt memory so that if there is any loss in connectivity your generation data is not lost- it is simply pushed to the remote monitoring portal when there is connectivity again. For installers who give generation guarantees, the Fronius remote monitoring is a must have convenient feature. Whats more, as against some other inverters, the Fronius platform is free for life.
After Sales Service- 4/5
Fronius has a unique maintenance plan and network. Their Symo version is extremely modular with inbuilt AC and DC cards. Hence, in case of a fault, the whole inverter doesn’t need replacement; only one of the cards needs to be replaced. In fact, Fronius has on-boarded a pan-India network of Fronius Service Partners (FSP), making serviceability convenient. Admittedly, the FSP network in India is not as mature yet as in some of the European economies but they are getting there.
Apart from these functionalities, Fronius has the standard set of specifications as other premium inverters:
- 98% max efficiency in even the smaller capacity inverters
- Inbuilt DC switches
- Predictable Temperature derating- Fronius is one of the few manufacturers which gives their efficiency derating curve in their datasheet. This helps an installer design proper systems for all types of environments.
IEC Certificates- 5/5
This is one the main reasons I selected the Fronius Symo version. Even though each DISCOM has different certificate requirements, Fronius Symo qualifies in all the states for net metering as it carries IEC 60068, 61683, 62109, 61727 and 62116.
Price Point- 4/5
The Fronius Symo is not a cheap inverter, it is packed with features, is of good quality and is reliable given the company’s long standing in the market. Choose this product if you are looking to protect your solar investment of 25 years and are guaranteeing generation. For larger capacity plants, Fronius has introduced the Eco range specially for the Indian market- that is a value product- we will be reviewing the same in future posts.
Overall Rating: Premium
Complete Datasheet: Fronius Symo
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