Fronius residential solar inverter review

Fronius residential solar inverter review - Updated April 2024

Fronius are the 12th largest solar inverter manufacturer in the World.
All Fronius inverters are designed and manufactured in Europe.
I believe Fronius are the second most popular inverter brand in Australia.

Fronius inverters are great, but I think you should know about some limitations.

Almost zero remote access, even with the new GEN24 and GEN24PLUS models.
With every other inverter I can remote in and make moves and changes for a client. Not Fronius.
I recommend you talk with the install team and decide on YOUR choice of Technician and Customer passwords.
That way, armed with some instructions, you can make your own changes without paying call-out fees.

Faulty Fronius inverters are replaced with spare parts, not a new inverter, under warranty.
Not your problem, but a bit of a pain sometimes for us.

Old and new Fronius GEN24/GEN24Plus inverters don't communicate with each other.
That's a big problem with the WA 1.5kW export limiting requirement.

A Fronius GEN24 is NOT a battery ready hybrid. That part has been locked out.
If you want a battery connected you have to convert it to a GEN24PLUS with a software key costing a bit over $1,000.

Fronius GEN24PLUS inverters, with a battery plugged in, allow a maximum of 150% oversizing.
That means 7.5kW of solar panels on a 5kW inverter or 15kW to a 10kW inverter.
Many other brands permit 200% oversizing. The more panel power to charge a battery the better.

Fronius GEN24PLUS inverters don't 'dual-supply' like other hybrid inverters with batteries.
If the Fronius inverter is rated at 10kW, then that's all you get even with 15kW of panels on the roof.
Other inverters, if conditions are good enough will give you 13kW or 14kW of power to your loads and battery.

Very average reporting in Solarweb.
I've yet to find one of our Fronius clients who is actually really satisfied with Fronius Solarweb reporting.
The free version is inadequate, and the paid version (yes, really, you have to pay) is not a whole lot better.
"It's a bit ordinary", "I expected better from a company like Fronius", etc. Hear it all the time.

So, that's a compilation of some of my negative observations of Fronius.

Let's now get into the positive stuff.

First class after-sales service people, based in Australia.
Only once have I encountered a Fronius support person who was even slightly less that brilliant.
Really well trained, most of them engineers I think. Fantastic.

Very reliable inverters and consumption meters.
Not perfect, but a bit better than almost all of their quality rivals, and a lot better than the rest.

The best WIFI setup of any inverter.
The GEN24 inverters link to your home router by WPS. Brilliant.
Push the WPS button on your router/modem, double tap the centre 'button' of the GEN24.
That's it. 60 seconds later they are talking and sending your solar data to Fronius.
ALL inverters should have this feature, but currently, only Fronius seem to have it.

Tight integration with BYD batteries.
The BYD HVM battery and Fronius GEN24Plus inverters work together really well.
There is also an LG battery that's GEN24Plus compatible but LG aren't flavour of the month in solar.

Comprehensive product range.
If you don't want a battery just yet, but want to be 'battery ready' then Fronius have a clever solution.
You buy a GEN24 model. It's about $1,000 cheaper and the battery connectivity has been turned off.
When you are ready for the battery, you buy the unlock code (for a little bit more than $1,000) and off you go.
Now you've got a GEN24PLUS, and that PLUS on the end means it's ready and waiting for the battery.

Single phase GEN24 and GEN24Plus from 3kW up to 10kW.
Three phase GEN24 and GEN24Plus from 5kW to 10kW.
Three phase Symo, non-hybrids up to 30kW.

(A word of warning, the 5kW three phase Symo GEN24Plus is a very odd variation.
It does not support backup/blackout protection. All the other models support a backup box.)

Not made in China!
All Fronius inverters are made in Europe. Austria to be exact.

Not insanely expensive.
A 10kW Fronius GEN24Plus hybrid inverter costs $5,555, with a 3 phase Fronius consumption meter included.
By comparison an equivalent Sungrow is $4,520 with meter.
$1,000 more for the Austrian-made Fronius doesn't seem too much extra over a Chinese brand to me.
Mind you the Sungrow inverters includes blackout protection circuitry... but it still needs installation in the switchboard,
whereas the Fronius 'backup box' costs an extra $1,000 to $1,500 + installation.

Fronius WattPilot
Fronius now have an EV Charger called WattPilot.
Note:Photo shopped next to each other, WattPilot is too large.

The version pictured is portable (WattPilot Go), and the same price, about $2,000, as the fixed version.
You also need to purchase an EV charging cable, 32A Type 2, currently around $360.
We wired up a three phase outlet in this customer's garage, but they can unplug it and take it with him.
It has a single phase adaptor cable so it can operate on any normal power outlet.
It can charge at 10A, 16A, 22A, 24A or 32A

What is particularly good about Fronius WattPilot is how it communicates and interacts with the Fronius GEN24Plus inverter.
If solar production is weak then it can automatically reduce the charge rate, ensuring you don't pay for grid power.
If the GEN24Plus has a battery then there are settings to allow charging times and priorities between EV and solar battery.
You can set a percentage, say 20%, that the battery can be charged to before EV charging commences.

Performance with panel shade and multiple roof orientations.
As with pretty much all the good inverters these days, the Fronius inverters performs regular MPPT scans.
Fronius call it 'Dynamic Peak Manager'
This really helps deal with some of the more common types of shading.
Some claim the function is so good you don't need optimisers at all.
I've seen before and after results on real Perth installs where optimisers were added later (retro-fitted).
The output improved quite significantly, so I'm more in the 'use optimisers' camp, just from personal experience.

Fronius Primo GEN24Plus (single phase)
Fronius Symo GEN24Plus range (three phase)

(08) 6102 2527

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This review was written by Andrew MacKeith, Solar4Ever service manager since 2011.