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SolarEdge Inverter Review Perth 2017

SolarEdge are an Israeli company with manufacturing predominately in Israel.

You should consider buying SolarEdge if...

1. You have shade problems on your roof and need a solution

2. You want 5% more power per annum even if you don't have shade (clouds etc)

3. You wanted to have panels facing in more than two directions (e. North, East, West)

4. You want minimum voltage from the panels on your roof if the solar needs to be shut down

5. You want to monitor the performance of every panel individually and the system output

6. You want at least 12 years warranty on your inverter

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7. You want a WIFI connection from the inverter instead of a cabled one

8. You want to monitor online/smartphone your solar production, battery use, home consumption and export

9. You want to connect batteries now or later, via either DC or AC coupling

10. You want emergency backup power in the event of mains failure

11. You have, or are planning to buy, an Electrical Vehicle (EV)

12. You want to use your surplus solar power to switch and power your pool pump or Hot Water booster

 

Decisions, decisions

SolarEdge have a pretty substantial array of products, some newly arrived, others coming soon, and some here but up for replacement. The stance we will take in this review is to largely ignore older products that are on the way out, even though they may well be 'on special' because the older products can't do a lot of what the new ones can.

The DC optimisers (MPPT trackers) that connect to each panel.

The first thing you need are the optimisers to go on the back of the panels, and here, if you want, you have a great deal of choice. The regular optimiser, the P300 is designed for up to 300W regular 60 cell solar panels. That's about 95% of what people buy for houses and they cost $85 each,

If you are installing 72 cell panels (typically 320-350W) then you need the P370 at $95 each, and if you are installing some 96 cell panels (e.g. SunPower X360W) then you need the P500 at $105 each. If you are installing REC split cell panels (TwinPeak) then you need the P300 (60 cell) optimisers but more of them (how many more depends on your individual string configuration).

SolarEdge Inverters - Single Phase

The latest HD Wave single phase inverters 2.5kVA @ $1350 and 5kVA @ $1790 are light and small, and operate the string voltages from the panels at a fixed 400V. The current from each panel is then added to the current from all the others on the string and sent on down to the inverter for conversion to AC power (or battery storage). If you simply buy the inverter and nothing else, then you have got a perfectly functional solar installation that gives you the first 6 items (above the dotted line) from the list above.

There is also another SolarEdge inverter called StorEdge. This is a 5kW single phase inverter and includes both the SESTI battery interface as well as having backup power available in the event of mains power failure.

It's an older product compared to the HD Wave but has what most people need. Cost $2,570

Options

WIFI

To get your output and panel level performance to your internet router, SolarEdge provide an Ethernet (cabled) solution as standard. If you want a WIFI connection then it's $90 extra. It's worth noting that the installation cost of running the Ethernet cable is likely to be more than $90. That's point 7 on the list above

Smart Meter (Modbus)

If you want to see your home power consumption, export or connect batteries, you are going to need the SolarEdge Energy meter (Modbus), and a CT clamp to go around the phase cable at a cost of $360 + install.

Allow $200 for install. Might be more, or less depending on your board, cable run distance etc.

That's point 8 on the list above

Connecting batteries, now or later.

You need a Storedge interface (SESTI). This connects directly to the HD Wave inverter and costs $1400

Then you need the batteries. This DC coupled solution is very clean and very efficient but it is limited to currently only two batteries, the LG Chem 10kWh ($6,680) and Tesla Powerwall 1 (not 2) model (Not sure $$).

It's possible that other batteries could be used, but as SolarEdge have only approved the above two, that's where it's safe to stay. That's point 9 from the list above.

Backup power

The HD Wave inverter doesn't provide backup...power when the mains fails, but another SolarEdge inverter (which is on the soon to be replaced list), does. The StorEdge 5kVA inverter has both backup AND includes the SESTI interface for battery connection @ $2,570.

Electric Vehicle Charging

Coming soon. No further information available at this time.

https://www.solaredge.com/sites/default/files/inverter-integrated-EV-charger.pdf

That's 11 from the list above

Switch surplus power to start up your pool pump, or Hot Water booster

Information on this feature is coming soon.

That's 12 from the list above.

3 phase and SolarEdge

After much waiting there is finally a 3 phase 5kVA SolarEdge inverter coming to Australia, expected in stock by September or October 2017...but, we bring bad news. It's just a reconfigured version of an old model and doesn't support DC coupled batteries. So, why would they bring it in?

If you want SolarEdge on 3 phase then the solution is to have 2 x 2.5kVA HD Wave inverters. You then connect all of the above (Meter, SESTI + Batteries) to one or both of the inverters

Cost comparison with Fronius Primo single phase string inverter

Let's compare the inverter cost for Fronius V SolarEdge for 20 x 270W panels.

Fronius Primo 5kVA inverter with 10 year parts warranty inc WIFI is $2,030

SolarEdge is 20 x P300 optimisers @ $85 + HD Wave 5kVA inverter @ $1790 + WIFI @ $90= $3,580

That's not too bad at all. An extra $1,550 for panel level monitoring, 2 years more warranty, shade busting technology, 5% more power (simply from handling clouds, dirt on panels etc) better.

The cost of the smart meter for Fronius and SolarEdge are almost identical

If you want to connect batteries then the SolarEdge SESTI interface at $1400 is cheaper than buying an AC coupled interface to hook on after the Fronius (e.g. Goodwe GW5000S-BP @ $2,100) but there again, the AC coupled choice gives you much more flexibility (and possible cost saving) on the battery selection.

(Note, Fronius have a 3 phase Hybrid inverter that connects only to VERY expensive Fronius batteries, but they have nothing for single phase).

Which do we think is best?

If you are getting batteries now, and the LG Chem does what you need, then without a doubt, get SolarEdge.

If you have shade, or need panels on different roof orientations, or different sizes, again, SolarEdge wins.

If you are getting an electric vehicle then the, not here yet, EV charger function looks fantastic. SolarEdge again.

If waiting an extra year off power bill savings to pay off your solar investment doesn't bother you, again SolarEdge.

So apart from the initial extra $1,550 outlay, it's SolarEdge over Fronius whichever way you look at it.

SolarEdge - The Company
Israeli company that started manufacturing solar inverters in 2009. There aren't too many competitors to SolarEdge in this niche 'power optimiser' market.

SolarEdge warranties
25 years warranty for the power optimisers
12 years for the inverter (which can be extended to 25 years for another $500 or so)


solar4ever.com.au is the web site for Good Day Mate Pty Ltd trading as SOLAR4EVER Company registered in WA on 26th October 2008 (A.C.N.133884938)

Contact Detail :


Solar4Ever
Telephone : (08) 6102 2527
Email: info@solar4ever.com.au