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More is expected of them than of others: SMA solar inverters must work perfectly for many years. No matter in which country, in which climate, or to which power network they are connected.

That is why our experts at the SMA test center simulate the entire life of an inverter in fast motion. Their tools: high technology and extraordinary methods. They do exactly what a normal customer never would: putting inverters in the oven. Freezing them. Strapping them into a jolting machine.

SMA inverters are used in over 100 countries – from Death Valley to the South Pole. Nearly every operating site has different environmental and climatic conditions. Additionally, the world’s widely varying power grids and grid codes also have to be taken into consideration as well as the electromagnetic compatibility (EMC).

Certified by UL

Thanks to our outstanding equipment, we are one of only a handful of manufacturers to be allowed to perform the inverter approval tests ourselves for the strict American-based Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

Every one of our experts helps to continue to improve the engineering and quality of the inverters – and of the solar industry in general.

Behind the scenes: That’s how the video was made 😉

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Quality and safety are non-negotiable for us because in the end exactly these factors guarantee maximum and sustainable efficiency of PV projects. To live up to this claim, we continuously put our products and those of other manufacturers through their paces in our certified test centers.

You will find key findings at a glance below.

1. Passive cooling actively burns money

Passive cooling reduces the inverter’s power output and PV component’s lifetime by up to 75%.

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For more information on cooling see our website Too passive cooling.

 
 

2. Power loss at sunshine

Inexpensive inverters often lose their power output at an ambient temperature of 21°C—they can’t handle the sun.

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You’ll fine more information on this subject here Power loss at sunshine.

 
 

3. Poor DC:AC ratios increase costs and decrease profitability

Our competitors advises a low DC:AC ratio of 1:1. This forces system operators to use up to 40% more inverters per PV system.

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For more details on DC:AC ratios see Poor DC:AC ratio.

 
 

4. Electromagnetic interferences could get you into severe legal trouble

Some inexpensive inverters produce electromagnetic interferences, which disturb, among others, the radio frequences of air traffic control or railroad communications—PV system operators will have to deal with legal consequences.

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Visit Illegal EMI built in for more information.

 
 

5. Server out of control

Chinese laws make it mandatory for Chinese companies to operate cloud services in China—this might easily cause a safety problem.

The great firewall and how it works

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For more information on server reliability see Server out of control.

 
 

Conclusion

Our Test results reveal that using a relatively inexpensive inverter might come at a price PV system operators probably would not want to pay. SMA demands highest quality standards of its products. That is why our experts at the SMA test center simulate the entire life of an inverter in fast motion and put our products through their paces in certified laboratories.

Find a short video of our test center here:

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Learn more

Here, you can find a summary of all test results at one page and for download

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Everyone who operates a PV system with SMA inverters should register their system in Sunny Portal.

Additionally, customers who have an inverter with the SMA Smart Connected convenience package, such as Sunny Boy 3.0 – 5.0, have to activate the SMA Smart Connected in Sunny Portal as part of the package. Once activated, PV system operators can start reaping the benefits of the convenience package.

This video shows how to register and activate a PV system in Sunny Portal.

For more tech tip videos, for example on installing a Sunny Boy 3.0 – 5.0, visit our YouTube channel. 

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In the future, SMA will equip all devices with WLAN and Ethernet communication–so called IP communication–by replacing the previous Bluetooth communication. Thus PV systems are extremely easy to integrate into existing home networks with an internet connection. Below we have provided information for you, including how you benefit.

1. What are the benefits of WLAN and Ethernet communication?

  • Easy PV system monitoring thanks to integrated Webconnect function
    The integrated Speedwire/Webconnect interface in all SMA inverters up to 12 kW is able to establish a link with Sunny Portal and Sunny Places via the PV system operator’s router. The PV system can thus go online without any additional costs for a data logger.
  • Use of standard components
    Optimization of PV system communication will make it possible to use standard components from electronics retail outlets (e.g., WLAN repeaters, WLAN/DLAN access points, WLAN wireless sockets, etc.). Not only will this help PV system operators save on system costs, but they can also extend their home network with components, such as a repeater.
  • Flexible use thanks to Modbus as a third-party interface
    With the factory-installed open Modbus TCP interface, data loggers from other providers can also be flexibly integrated. This allows operators to save even more money because an additional communication interface (e.g., RS485) is no longer necessary to connect to SMA systems.

2. What has to be considered when planning a PV system?

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System setup without data logger for PV systems with SMA inverters up to 12 kW

  • The Sunny Boy 1.5/2.5 and 3.0/5.0 inverters are connected to the router using the integrated Webconnect interface via WLAN or Ethernet cable, which means that they are integrated into PV system monitoring.
  • In the future, the Sunny Boy 3.0/5.0TL-21 and Sunny Tripower XY-20 models will have an Ethernet interface only and must therefore be connected to the router with wires.
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System setup with the Sunny Home Manager 2.0 for PV systems with intelligent energy management

The Sunny Home Manager 2.0 is connected to the router via the Ethernet cable. Compatible loads and WLAN SMA radio-controlled sockets can be integrated into the system using the router. Further information on Sunny Home Manager 2.0 can be found here.

3. How can I identify SMA inverters with Ethernet communication?

The Sunny Boy TL-21 and Sunny Tripower TL-20 inverters will no longer have Bluetooth communication capability. However, they will still be fitted with Ethernet communication.

These devices are easily identifiable by the “ETHERNET ONLY” written on both the inverter and box, and by the yellow label on the inverters, which ensures rapid identification and smooth processes.

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