For most of the history of Solar Wholesalers we have sold SMA inverters. SMA inverters are often known by the brand name for their smaller range of inverters, the Sunny Boy range. Originally they made inverters with the old mechanical wound transformers but now mostly make transformerless inverters.
People often ask us why we are so loyal to SMA and why we discourage perspective clients from using cheaper brands of inverters?
I think the best way to answer this is by giving you the maths. Over the years we have installed about 4000 solar power systems and of these I would estimate that about 3500 have been with SMA inverters and about 500 have been with an assortment of other brands like Fronius, Aurora, CMS and Latronics.
When we get a call and it turns out to be an inverter fault I would say about half of our calls (possibly more) relate to these other brands of inverters and only half relate to SMA inverters.
So that reason we favour SMA is because of reliability. I don’t think an SMA inverter really works any better than other brands of inverters. Not enough to notice a difference anyway. However, the difference is in how often they fail and the irrefutable facts are that SMA inverters break down a lot less than other brands.
The next issue is what happens when an inverter does break down?
Some inverter manufacturers want you to take the broken inverter off the wall and post it to them so that they can look at it and repair or replace it. They then send a repaired or replacement inverter to you but this process means the client has to pay for two call outs. (It is important to remember that with most inverter manufacturers although you have a warranty on your inverter this warranty does not cover labour for an electrician to come out and test it, to take it off the wall or to get that same electrician back again to install the repaired or replacement inverter. These costs also do not fall within the scope of the installers workmanship warranty as so are a cost faced by the client when an inverter fails).
With SMA if your inverter shows an error message that indicates an inverter fault then as soon as we report it to them they will send us a new inverter as we are a trusted service partner. This means we only have to visit the property once to resolve the issue. This saves us and the customer time, hassle and money as SMA will pay us $185 to come out and swap the unit over, meaning, as long as your SMA inverter is still under warranty (standard 5 years). This is another reason we really like installing SMA inverters.
The other thing to note is that the SMA Sunny Boy inverters are now not that much more expensive than the cheaper and less reliable brands of inverters. See our solar system prices page to see some of the great prices we are offering on solar power systems using premium Canadian Solar Panels and the German made SMA ‘Sunny Boy’ inverters.