Fronius V Huawei - Which is better?

 

Unlike almost all other review sites, we actually install both Fronius and Huawei inverters.


Fronius are the 'easy' sale. Just agree with everyone else that "it's the best" and they evaporate off the shelves.

After the comparison of the single phase models, we continue with a comparison of the three phase inverters.

 

 

Appearance
As you can see from the above, Huawei is white, sleek, stylish and half the size of Fronius.

Score 1 point for Huawei for this not very important difference.

 

Noise
Huawei is virtually silent. If you put your ear to it you can hear a slight noise, but Fronius inverters with their internal fans are notorious for being noisy. They can be heard many metres away and become especially loud when working hard. Neighbours have been known to complain, and some people have been forced to replace their Fronius because of the noise.
However, if you put it in the garage, much less of a problem.

Score 1 point for Huawei

 

Battery Ready
Huawei is a plug and play battery ready hybrid inverter.
Fronius is not a hybrid and can never connect to a battery.

Huawei support LG Chem 7kW and 10kW batteries.

Score 3 points for Huawei for this very significant feature.

 

Smart Meter and Consumption Reporting
Both Fronius and Huawei have identical smart meters (size and price) and identical reporting in their free software (Solarweb, Fusionsolar). You can see 24x7 a graph of your power bought from Synergy, your solar produced, your self-consumption of that solar, and your exports of surplus solar back to Synergy for FiT payment. They both calculate your daily revenue.

Score 2 points each for this superb feature

 

Oversizing
In order to qualify for the Government financial incentive, STCs, which discount the cost of each solar panel by about $200 at time of writing, you have to stay within the limits. A 5kW inverter can be oversized with a maximum of 6.65kW of panels. There is however, an exception to that rule. If you connect a battery then you can add as many panels as the inverter manufacturer allows and still claim the rebate. Huawei, being a battery ready hybrid is limited to 6.65kW of panels without a battery, same as Fronius, but plug in the battery and you can have 7.5kW of panels AND you get the additional STC discount on those extra panels. Whilst the inverter is still limited to a maximum of 5kW of AC conversion, the extra panel power won't go to waste as it is directed straight into the battery.

Score 1 point for Huawei.

 

Support
Fronius have 50 staff in Australia and provide exceptional support to installers like us. Whilst their telephone hotline attempts to send end users back to their installers, they will help end users directly too. Huawei have 700 staff in Australia and are happy to help end users and installers alike. It should be added that Huawei have so many staff because they also have millions of smart phone customers, WIFI routers, and telephone exchange batteries and switching gear to support, not just solar inverters.

Score 2 points each.

 

LCD Screen
The Fronius Primo was released in 2013 when all inverters had LCD screens and almost none had WIFI or smartphone apps. So Primo has an LCD screen for you to read your data from. Huawei, released in January 2018, knowing that LCDs are another point of failure, did not include a screen.

Score 1 point for Fronius.

 

Warranty
Fronius give 5 years parts and labour plus a bonus five years parts only (no labour) when you register your inverter serial number on their website. Huawei give 10 years parts and labour.

Both inverters have near zero failure rates (we have had four faulty Fronius from 1,000 installed, and so far, zero faulty Huawei), so we aren't going to rate warranty difference as very important.

Score 1 point for Huawei.

 

Smartphone and Browser based installation setup and reporting
As good as each other. Fronius have Solarweb, Huawei Fusionsolar. Both very well written, comprehensive reporting that gives the majority of people who just want to see their daily, weekly, annual output, exactly what they want on the Home screen, and then far more detail for those who want to delve much deeply into their solar analytics. I haven't made a video for the Fronius solarweb reporting, but it is very similar to this one for Huawei.

Score 2 points each for superb reporting

 

Installer configuration and ease
You might not care too much about how easy the inverters are to set up, but we do. In WA we have a lot of issues with high grid voltages and both of these inverters have exceptionally comprehensive programming options to combat this, and yet, they both have very fast set up too.

Score 1 point each

 

DC Optimisers and panel level monitoring

Mostly used on installations where there is unavoidable shading on some or all of the solar panels. Huawei allows 'selective deployment' of their own optimisers on any shaded panels. On average we are finding we install about 3 or 4 Huawei optimisers per 'shaded job'.

You can, of course, install them on every panel and if you do, then you'll probably want to see the output of each panel individually in the reporting software, which is, of course, available.


Fronius has absolutely no technology like this, and whilst there are third party optimisers like Tigo, that we can and often do use on Fronius installations, its not quite the same as having it all 'in-house' especially as far as warranty and reporting is concerned.

Score 2 points for Huawei.

 

De-rating in the heat

Most of the time, we install the inverters in a garage. It's rare these days to install them on an outside wall, but of course, if there is no other option, as long as the wall isn't in full sun, that's ok too. However, inverters can get hot and when they get REALLY hot inside the output starts to reduce. This is one example of de-rating. Fronius handles this heat with internal fans, which are often quite noisy when working hard. Huawei manages the heat by not having so many heat producing components inside their inverters, as well as a patented passive, fanless, cooling system. When we first installed Huawei in the heat of January, we were a bit sceptical about how well Huawei would stack up. It stacked up very well indeed. Over 40 degrees outside, cabinet temperature 68 degrees, and no de-rating at all.

Score 1 point for Huawei not only for next to zero de-rating, but also for less noise.

 

Longevity
Fronius started making solar inverters in 2001 and have 3% world market share. Huawei started ten years later in 2011 but have 22% market share. However, as we are comparing residential inverters, and Huawei's huge market share is because of their dominance of the commercial and industrial solar, and because they are a new player in the home inverter arena, we give this not particularly significant point to Fronius

Score 1 point for Fronius.

 

DC isolator built-in
Both have it. It's a nice touch, saves a small amount of money and makes the installation look nicer.

Score 1 point each.

 

Price

Depending on which side of the fence you want to stand on, you could say that either Fronius is over-priced, or Huawei is cheap. 5kW Primo is $2,030, 5kW Huawei is $1,600. Mind you, how could anyone possibly call $1,600 cheap?


Considering that Huawei will sell you an extra 5 years parts and labour warranty to bring it up to 15 years for $300, it's STILL $130 less than Fronius, it's fair to say that there is a clear winner here.
Score 2 points for Huawei.

 

Electric hot water storage
Fronius have a neat little relay, that in conjunction with their smart meter, can re-direct surplus solar power to turn on your electric water heater. You can just as easily, and with less cost, get an electrician to install a timer set to turn on your electric hot water after 10am when the solar is producing lots of surplus power. Works the same way. However, it's still a feature that Fronius have, that Huawei don't, so...

Score 1 point for Fronius.

 

Where it's designed and made
Huawei has 188,000 employees around the World, Fronius have 3,500.
With R&D centres in so many places, it's really hard to say exactly WHERE Huawei was designed, but what we know for sure is that the factory that makes them is in China.

Fronius design and make all their inverters in Austria.

Whilst we all know that our phones, computers, TVs, printers, etc are mostly all made in China, many of us still think that 'European made' is better than Chinese made. So whether that's actually true in this case or not, we will....

Score 1 point for Fronius.

 

Final Scores

These are both really good inverters. If we were comparing a cheap KStar inverter for instance, it wouldn't have scored a single point against either Fronius or Huawei.

Fronius 12 points

Huawei 20 points

 


 

3 phase Fronius Symo v Three phase Huawei SUN2000 M0

 

This comparison is somewhat complicated by the fact that there are TWO versions of the Fronius Symo. " Fronius Symo" is not a battery ready hybrid, but "Fronius Symo Hybrid" is.

 

Appearance
The 3 phase Huawei measures 525 x 470mm compared to 375 x 375mm for the single phase version, and it weights 17kg against 10kg. The Fronius Symo measures 645 x 431mm and weighs 20kg. So, unlike the single phase models, the 3 phase Huawei is not half the size and weight of the Fronius, but it's still smaller, better looking, and winner of Intersolar 2019, 'Best Inverter'.

Score 1 point for Huawei

 

Battery Ready

Huawei is a hybrid inverter ready to connect batteries, "Fronius Symo" is not a hybrid, but "Fronius Symo Hybrid". However, as the 'Hybrid' version costs $940 more and that puts most people off, we are going to continue this comparison with the regular non hybrid Fronius.

Score 3 points for Huawei

 

Oversizing
Huawei lets you put 10.25kW of panels on their 5kW inverter, Fronius allows 8kW. However, as 10.25kW of panels would exceed the Australian 600V voltage limit they both, realistically, allow 8kW of panels on their 5kW models.

 

However, there is an important difference. If you connect a battery (DC Couple) to the Huawei then you can claim STCs (Government discount of approx $200 per panel) on the extra panels over and above the normal 6.65kW limit. With the Fronius you can connect the extra panels but you don't get the extra discount and you also end up mostly wasting that extra panel power. The Huawei can stick the excess into the battery, the Fronius has to convert all the panel power to AC straight away but is limited to 5kW, so the extra just gets wasted as heat energy.

 

Score 1 point for Huawei

 

Price

Huawei is $1900, Fronius Symo is $2,200, and Fronius Symo Hybrid is $3,140

Score 2 points for Huawei

 

The rest of the comparisons, warranty, LCD screen, smart meter, noise etc are the same as described above in the single phase comparison so we'll leave it there and tot up the final scores.

 

Final Scores

These are both really good inverters. However, if we were comparing the Fronius Symo Hybrid, the scores would be MUCH closer, with Huawei ahead by virtue of a much lower price, less noise and two MPPTs instead of one.

 

Fronius 12 points

Huawei 20 points