What it the most economical grid tie inverter, best bang for the buck!?

I was looking at the latest home power magazine
www.homepower.com

and they have an article on grid tie inverters below is a list of all the central grid tie inverters.

SMA and Powerone are about 50 cents a watt last time i checked a few months ago

The best deal I ever got was a manufactured refurbished xantrex 5kw GT inverter for around 30 cents a watt off ebay.

Does anyone know about some of these lesser known companies in the list below? Are any of them a very good value compared to the industry standards?

www.advanced-energy.com
www.deltaenergysystems.com
www.fronius.com
www.ingeteam.com
www.kaco-newenergy.com
www.motech-americas.com
www.opti-solar.com
www.power-one.com
www.schneider-electric.com
www.sma-america.com
www.solaredge.com
www.solren.com
www.xantrex.com

Comments

  • solarixsolarix Posts: 713Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: What it the most economical grid tie inverter, best bang for the buck!?

    GT inverters are a very competitive market and you will very closely get what you pay for. The less expensive ones may have less features, less reliability, or be a new company, while the more expensive ones have better productivity, established track record, built in monitoring, and more features. The best value for you will depend on your particular needs. For example, inverters come in all different sizes with different string size capabilities. Finding the best fit for a particular system will not always be with the same brand.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Posts: 2,335Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What it the most economical grid tie inverter, best bang for the buck!?

    I have a pair of Gen 2 PV Power 5200 that are now from advanced-energy.com (buy out of PV Powered). So far very reliable and robust, faults have been minimal and cause by either installation issues or the grid. The Gen 3 models are priced at about $0.50 a watt.
  • rollandelliottrollandelliott Posts: 755Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: What it the most economical grid tie inverter, best bang for the buck!?

    "The less expensive ones may have less features, less reliability, or be a new company, while the more expensive ones have better productivity, established track record, built in monitoring, and more features"

    What is this statement based from? Personal experience? Written reviews? I'm just curious because I've looked at Xantrex, SMA, PV power/Aurora, and fronious and quite frankly don't see any big differences between them for GT Usage. My very broad observations are
    SMA's are heavy, they have a nice battery back up system if that is something you want latter on
    PV power/Aurora are nice and skinny so they fit nicely into home stud cavities, making the install nicer and also have a wider DC input range (AMPS/VOLTS)
    Fronious are light weight, but a bit more expensive.
    xantrex are pretty light weight as well.

    I'd be interested in hearing about your perceived diffrences.
  • solarixsolarix Posts: 713Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: What it the most economical grid tie inverter, best bang for the buck!?

    I've installed SMA, Fronius, SolarEdge, and Xantrex
    SMA is flat out reliable but costs a little more, is pretty restrictive on string sizing, and costs $$ to add internet monitoring.
    Fronius I like more and more, so far no trouble, better on string sizing and has 7.5kW size which maxes out a 200A service. Web monitoring is not easy. Costs more.
    Zantrex is cheapest of the four. I won't use them anymore because of reliability issues. Might have changed though after buyout by Schnieder.
    SolarEdge costs quite a bit more, but is the most productive in shady situations. Built in web monitoring, great flexibility in string sizes.
  • kevinkevin Posts: 9Registered Users
    Re: What it the most economical grid tie inverter, best bang for the buck!?

    good price well get good performance will happen when you know something about the system,when you purchase a solar system,you should consider the yield of your system,that decide how much you can get from the government.and another question should be consider that the service of the factory,just like warranty time. the SMA,POWER ONE ,fronius all very well,and other brand growattusa perhaps can get 20cent per watt.
  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 7,707Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What it the most economical grid tie inverter, best bang for the buck!?
    nice and skinny so they fit nicely into home stud cavities


    I don't think any inverters are supposed to be recessed into the wall !
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
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  • LucManLucMan Posts: 219Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: What it the most economical grid tie inverter, best bang for the buck!?
    solarix wrote: »
    7.5kW size which maxes out a 200A service.
    Can you explain ? Is that code?
    thanks
  • solar_davesolar_dave Posts: 2,335Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What it the most economical grid tie inverter, best bang for the buck!?
    LucMan wrote: »
    Can you explain ? Is that code?
    thanks

    A 200 amp panel is rated with a 200 amp buss bar, NEC allows a 20% back feed breaker to be added to a 200 amp panel. To go above that 40 amp back feed the main breaker needs to be reduced.
  • rollandelliottrollandelliott Posts: 755Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: What it the most economical grid tie inverter, best bang for the buck!?

    "I don't think any inverters are supposed to be recessed into the wall ! "

    sure they can

    the installation manual just gives clearance dimensions.

    if those are met then there is no issue.
  • stephendvstephendv Posts: 1,571Solar Expert
    Re: What it the most economical grid tie inverter, best bang for the buck!?

    What about ventilation/cooling of the inverter ?
  • LucManLucMan Posts: 219Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: What it the most economical grid tie inverter, best bang for the buck!?

    Is that just for a single breaker? Does that still hold true if you have say (4) 2.5KW inverters on 20 amp breakers? I'm asking because I want to expand my 5.2KW system in the future.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Posts: 2,335Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What it the most economical grid tie inverter, best bang for the buck!?
    LucMan wrote: »
    Is that just for a single breaker? Does that still hold true if you have say (4) 2.5KW inverters on 20 amp breakers? I'm asking because I want to expand my 5.2KW system in the future.

    First I am no expert or electrician or EE. But it is my understanding that the main panel interconnect needs 2 things to be legal, a single breaker to the main and a single external disconnect for fire/safety issues. That being said some utilities also require a solar meter on the single input to gauge how much Power is produced. Your mileage may vary with your local code and utility guys.

    My system has 2 PVPowered 5200 grid tie inverters and a AC sub-panel/combiner box with 2 30 amp breakers to achieve the single back-feed. These inverters produce a combined max 46 amps (23 amps each) of potential back-feed so the next higher breaker size is 60 amps, this is over the max 40 amp bus bar over size which required down sizing the main breaker in that panel to 175 amps to allow the interconnect.

    175 amps + 60 amps = 235 amps which is less than the allowed 240 max on the bus bar.
  • Rick1Rick1 Posts: 24Registered Users
    Re: What it the most economical grid tie inverter, best bang for the buck!?

    I have 9.8 Kw on a 200 amp panel with a 225 amp main buss. I thought the 225 amp main buss allowed a third 20 amp circuit and 40 amps back feed??
  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,566Super Moderators admin
    Re: What it the most economical grid tie inverter, best bang for the buck!?

    You have a 200 Amp main breaker in a panel (not just bus) rated for 225 Amps? Then the maximum backfeed allowed should be:
    • 225 amps * 20% + (225 amp - 200 amp) = 65 amps

    If this is a commercial panel, the rules may be different (possibly, just in older NEC code, where Panel Rating = the sum of all breakers. Period. --Not a code guy, just from what I have read here before).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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