Huawei Solar Inverter Review
Huawei is a gigantic enterprise, one of the world’s largest electronics manufacturers. They also happens to be the world’s largest manufacturer of inverters. However, this is such a small detail in Huawei’s entire product range that it doesn’t even deserve a place on their most crucial official website (they have several).
Is it worth having an inverter at home in addition to this brand of phone? I will answer this question by assessing their products’ reliability, performance, trustworthiness, and profitability.
What is Huawei?
Huawei is one of the world’s largest electronics manufacturers. The company was established in 1987. They are relatively new to the solar market but have extensive electronics experience. They operate in over 170 countries.
In my reviews, reliability means resistance to both the passage of time and difficult operating conditions.
1. Factory warranty: Huawei provides a standard 5-year warranty for SUN2000xxx KTL three-phase inverters and a 10-year warranty for newer SUN2000 xxx KTL-M0, SUN2000 xxx KTL-M1 or SUN2000 xxx KTL-M2 three-phase inverters and SUN2000L single-phase inverters. Maybe we can petition China to ask for more transparent and original names?
2. Extendable warranty: The warranty can be extended to 10, 15, or 20 years. Fronius and SMA offer the same possibility. Cheaper brands do not offer the option of extending the warranty to 20 years, so this is an indicator of quality.
3. Scope of warranty: The warranty covers equipment replacement, transport, and service costs. These are perfect conditions. Low- and mid-range brands will provide you with a warranty on new equipment — but you have to transport it at your own expense, not to mention the costs associated with calling a service technician. It seems that Huawei is confident in its products, another quality indicator.
4. Arc detection function: Huawei inverters have an AFCI arc detection function. Of course, it would be best if there was never a situation in which the inverter had an arc to detect, but if it did occur due to a fault or poor installation, such an inverter could save the investment. This is not the industry standard.
5. IP protection level: Huawei inverters have an IP65 protection level, and some versions even IP66, i.e., they are dustproof and protected against a strong stream of water (100 l/min) poured onto the housing from any side.
In summary, there is a good chance that Huawei inverters will work for many years, provided they are properly serviced.
Efficiency is the ability of inverters to convert electricity from direct to alternating current. Performance should be maintained despite difficult conditions — high or low temperatures, etc. An efficient inverter should not turn off without apparent reasons.
1. Efficiency Commission Guidelines: For single-phase SUN2000L inverters, the European weighted efficiency is 97% to 98%. For three-phase SUN2000 inverters, the European weighted efficiency ranges from 96.7% to 98.6%. This is a very, very good result.
2. Performance in PVEL tests: Huawei won numerous TOP PERFORMER awards in PVEL inverter tests in 2019:
High-temperature performance test — TOP PERFORMER
High performance at low temperature — TOP PERFORMER
MPPT — TOP PERFORMER performance test
Conversion efficiency test — TOP PERFORMER
Yield test — TOP PERFORMER
Transient response test — TOP PERFORMER
And probably the most critical — field test of 30 days of work — TOP PERFORMER
However, this is not the end of the good news. Well, Huawei also has its optimization system.
If nearby objects regularly shade some of your modules (we’re not talking about the 8 a.m. shadow here), then you should invest in optimizers, if for no other reason than because unoptimized, regularly shaded modules have a much shorter lifespan.
Huawei allows you to install your optimizers behind selected photovoltaic modules. Note that this is an option, not a must, as in the case of Solaredge. You can only place optimizers where there is shade, which reduces costs and the amount of equipment, which can also break down.
Huawei optimizers, unlike Tigo, provide monitoring as standard, so you will know when your optimizer has gone wrong. Or when the optimized module broke, but that’s a less likely option.
And if this happens, don’t worry, because these boxes come with a 25-year warranty.
A reliable manufacturer will honor its warranty obligations if its products stop working for any reason.
1. Company size: Huawei is a giant brand that enjoys the support of the Chinese government. He is involved in a whole host of telecommunications industries. It is impossible to imagine that it will fall or join the pantheon of brands such as LG or Panasonic in the coming years.
In 2020, it was ranked 49th on the Fortune Global 500 list. It was also named the 93rd most valuable brand by Forbes in 2020.
2. Financial stability: Huawei now has problems with exports to the US, which will undoubtedly hurt the company’s revenues, but most of the world is still open. China itself is a vast market.
You don’t have to worry that Huawei will try to avoid responsibility for being a distant company from China with no support. In fact, in our country, we have official distributors, and each of them is a large wholesaler, not just a small dealer who is there today and may not be there tomorrow.
Moreover, these distributors also deal with technical support. Each of them is adequately trained and is obliged to support the installer who purchases supplies from him.
Huawei inverters are the cheapest of the most expensive — that is, they are cheaper than their direct competition, i.e., SMA and Fronius. Of course, you can easily find something cheaper, but I believe it is not worth saving on the inverter. If one module stops working, it simply stops working. If the inverter has even a minor fault, the entire installation stops.
The photovoltaic system may cause ignition, spread the fire, and complicate firefighting operations.
1. How does Huawei protect against installation ignition?
A common cause of installation fires is an electric arc resulting from insulation damage, incorrectly connected MC4 plugs or damaged modules. Huawei inverters have electric arc detection and wire insulation damage detection functions.
2. How does Huawei protect against the spread of fire and facilitate firefighting?
If you install Huawei optimizers on all photovoltaic modules, the Huawei system will ensure that the installation does not fuel the fire or impede firefighting.
Huawei Solar Inverter
Huawei has an extensive and diverse range of inverters branded SUN2000. This doesn’t make it easy to make a clear division into a series, but I’ll do our best. The list below is not exhaustive because we focused on the types that we consider the most important.
1. Huawei SUN2000
It is a very efficient three-phase inverter with two MPP trackers, IP65 protection level, and cooled without a fan, so it is quiet. It is available in power versions from 3 to 20 kW. They operate in the range from -25 to +60°C. Versions up to 10 kW of power have a built-in connection to the battery. They can communicate wirelessly with the Internet. They won the InwerSolar Award 2019, which proves their quality.
Regarding performance, the Huawei SUN2000 is a perfect choice. The European efficiency of models available ranges from 96.7% to 98.3%. The efficiency versus load graph looks OK. The inverter shown below is quite large, with 25 kW of power.
Note that this inverter performs very well whether the voltage is large or small. The main factors influencing voltage are temperature and installation size. The Huawei inverter will operate efficiently, even if the installation voltage drops due to high temperature.
2. Huawei SUN2000L
The Huawei SUN2000L single-phase inverter is a good option for cheap and small installations. They are available in power versions from 2 to 5 kW. They do not have a fan, so they are rather quiet (25dB allows for installation inside the house). They operate in the range from -30 to +60°C.
They are compatible with LG Chem RESU 7H_R and 10H_R batteries. They can communicate wirelessly with the Internet using Wi-Fi and 4G. In addition, solar panel installers can configure the inverter operation via the Internet. Hence, if something goes wrong, the installer can sometimes identify and remedy the problem without leaving home.
The model won the Red Dot Award 2016 and the If Design Award 2017, which proves its quality. The efficiency for this model is from 97% to 98% — this is very high for single-phase inverters.
Huawei three-phase inverters with a power above 20kW still have the code name SUN2000. They differ in some details, which is understandable due to their different purpose. First of all, they have more MPPT. The 33kW version has 4, and the 185kW version 9.
In addition, inverters for large photovoltaic installations SUN2000 have an IP66 protection rating to be placed outdoors without any obstacles, even in the worst weather. So, this option is worth considering if you need a larger installation.