Fronius have finally given us a sneak peek of their single-phase hybrid inverter at Inter-Solar 2018. It will be launched globally in October, with stock expected to be available in Australia from mid-2019. As usual, there was an immediate reaction on social media, both positive and negative, with some social media banter comparing it to drive-through speaker box or a retro radio.
[Disclaimer – This is based on our conversations with Fronius at Inter-Solar, hopefully the recollections aren’t too hazy]
- The GEN24 has 2 x inputs for PV, as well as one for the battery. This allows for more versatility around system design.
- Push-button set-up for integration to Solar.web and compatibility with Amazon Alexa.
- 5kW continuous output from the battery.
- Emergency power function, with the exception of systems using LG Chem.
- Built-in DC isolator with a locking mechanism, which is compliant to Australian requirements (as with the existing Snap-Inverters).
- Load management and integration with IoT platforms.
Does it look the goods?
The appearance, most notably the grill on the front, has attracted the most comments. Putting aside aesthetics for the moment, having a front-mounted heat sink with a fan makes a whole lot of sense for heat dissipation, which is critical for performance in Australian conditions. It will have a distinct advantage over rear-mounted heat sinks/fans, and especially over passively-cooled inverters. The fan is also much quieter than the existing ranges.
The appearance is unique and bears no resemblance to the existing Snap-Inverters. Love it or not, my prediction is that the Fronius GEN24 will be a market leader in the hybrid inverter space within 12 months. I don’t believe that any customer will be disappointed to have this installed. The value of this product is firstly functionality over aesthetics, although the latter is not a draw-back.
No Display Screen
The GEN24 comes without a display screen, which some may view as a negative. However, we are surrounded by screens on smart devices, laptops, TV’s, watches etc. You get the idea. The key is having a suitable platform to carry across to these devices, of which Solar.Web has no problems doing.
One of the complaints of screenless inverters is that the customers who aren’t tech savvy will have no way of monitoring their systems’ performance. It’s also probable that the same customers would have trouble navigating their way through a display screen, regardless of how simple it may seem. For such customers, a simple green or red light should be enough. A responsible retailer/installer should receive notification of faults through Solar.web, and check the performance periodically, as this type of customer can’t do it themselves. It also provides the means for reengagement with these customers.
Snap-Inverters Here to Stay
We look forward to seeing the GEN24’s in Australia next year and also expect the existing Snap-Inverters to continue their run of success.