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What is the best Solar Inverter?

The results are in. 

With the rising popularity and adoption of solar energy in South Africa, homeowners now have more choice than ever before when it comes to Inverter Brands. But which one is best?

Rating Criteria

We put it out to a group of South Africa’s solar installation professionals and asked for their feedback. Like most products, not all things are created equal, and preferences are often subjective to the installer and user for a number of different reasons. Therefore, in order to try and get an objective response the ratings were done on 5 key criteria, namely:

  1. Price
  2. Reliability 
  3. Functionality
  4. Ease of Installation
  5. After Sales Support

The Contestants

  1. Victron Multiplus II
  2. Sunsynk Hybrid Inverter Range (5 & 8kw)
  3. Goodwe ES Hybrid
  4. Growatt SPF5000ES
  5. Axpert / Mecer / Kodak (All essentially the same Voltronic made inverter)
  6. Alpha ESS Smile 5

The Results

Inverter Ratings

 

Price:

Price is often the most important factor for homeowners to consider. The costs associated with Solar Inverters, Batteries and Panels often make it prohibitive for the average household (if you are looking for a more affordable solar solution, consider Versofy Solars monthly Solar Subscriptions). The same applies to the installers buying the inverters on behalf of their customers. 

The Winner: Sunsynk

Sunsynk comes in tops in the Price category. No surprises here, Sunsynk offers one of the best value for money inverters in the market. With functionality to rival the best out there, at a price point that won’t make you fall off your seat.

The Loser: Victron Multiplus II

There is no debate when it comes to the quality that Victron provides. Their inverters have been market leaders for years, however, due to their compartmentalised nature, whereby you need to purchase all the components separately, for a typical residential solution the cost of these systems often outweigh the benefit they provide. 

Reliability

When it comes to generating your own electricity using solar power, it goes without saying that reliability is a key factor when choosing a solar inverter. 

The Winner: Victron

What hurt Victron in the Price category is its saviour in this one. Due to its robust nature, when it comes to reliability, a Victron will very rarely let you down.

The Loser: Axpert

The “Axpert” type solar inverters flooded the market a few years back, likely due to their affordable price tag. However, these inverters aren’t a true hybrid and don’t offer you the savings that some of the others in this list do (watch this video for details). In the “Reliability” category, the old saying “You get what you pay for” seems to ring true. 

Functionality

The Winner: Victron

Old faithful wins out again in the functionality category without much surprise. The only thing to really consider is whether or not you really need all the functions for a residential solution.

The Loser: Growatt

Like the Axpert, the Growatt offers limited returns for its users. It trailed a long way behind in this category according to the experts. 

Ease of Installation

The Winner: Sunsynk

Sunsynk’s all in one nature really seems to help its popularity amongst the installation experts. Unlike the Victron, the Sunsynk hybrid inverter comes with built in MPPTs, Display, Touch Screen, Aux and Gen inputs, making this inverter’s installation process as simple as can be. 

The Loser: Victron

If it’s not first, it’s seemingly last for Victron. Unfortunately for the same reasons listed above, having to add displays, MPPT’s, etc separately make for a bit of a nasty installation process.

After Sales Support

The Winner: Victron

Victron has been in the market for as long as anyone, and has hence built up a truly great network of support for their installers. On the odd occasion that a Victron lets you down, you can rest assured that you will be back up and running in no time.

The Loser: Growatt

Unfortunately when it comes to the essential service that solar provides – energy – if you don’t have the required after sales support you are going to battle to gain traction in this highly competitive South African market

Overall Standings:

overall solar inverter ratings

Even though Victron topped the solar inverter ratings on more categories than anyone else, it was the consistency of Sunsynk which wins it the crown. In terms of an all round package, the Sunsynk simply can’t be beaten. It can pretty do everything that the Victron can, but at more than half the price, which effectively shortens the payback period and gives the customer a greater ROI. It is no surprise that the Sunsynk is taking the South African market by storm. 

Have a look at the each inverters ratings below in more detail:

Sunsynk Inverter Ratings 

Victron Multiplus II Inverter Ratings

Alpha ESS Smile 5 Inverter Ratings

Goodwe Inverter Ratings

Axpert Inverter Ratings

Growatt Inverter Ratings

Conclusion:

A solar PV system is a great investment for many reasons, particularly in the South African context where we are plagued by inconsistent electricity supply but have one of the worlds best climates for solar radiation. When making any investment it is important to do your research. The Solar Inverter is effectively the brain of the system, and we always caution anyone who is looking to save costs that skimping on the inverter is not the place to start. 

At Versofy Solar we are constantly looking for ways to give our customers the best possible value, at a price point that makes sense. From the above results, we are pleased that the majority of our installations are done using a Sunsynk inverter at its core. 

Please check out our instagram page to see some pictures of these systems in action. 

If you have any queries, comments, or simply want to have a chat, please feel free to reach out to us on info@versofy.com and our team will be ready to assist. 

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