In batteries, Blog, Inverters, Micro Inverters & Optimisers

Battery ready vs battery compatible 

With the announcement of the Tesla Powerwall in 2015, the release of the LG Chem battery and the Fronius storage, being “battery ready” is the talk of the town. Consumers are aiming for a higher level of self-sufficiency and lower power bills. Batteries will revolutionize the industry; there are exciting times ahead. However, it’s also a chance for sales sharks to benefit financially from those who are not up to speed with current technology.

Misleading sales tactics:

As a consultant, I come into contact with homeowners on a daily basis. It is evident that some ‘salespeople’ will say just about anything to get the sale. It’s frustrating when I’m presenting facts; I find others have been embellishing the truth. From the homeowners point of view, they would naturally trust the ‘expert’ on the topic, but there is so much misinformation out there. Unfortunately, it’s consumers that are going to pay the price down the track. True Value Solar played this game only just a few months ago!

Bending the truth!

Here’s an example of how the truth can be stretched. A car salesman calls a used car natural gas ‘compatible’. However, it is not natural gas ‘ready’ until expensive changes have been made.
The same goes for inverters & batteries. Most inverters are battery ‘compatible’, but it will cost a lot more than a couple of hundred dollars to actually make them battery ready.

 

NON-hybrid inverters being passed off as battery ready:

I have come across several homeowners in the past few weeks that have been misled. The following inverters are being touted as being battery ready: the well-known SMA, Fronius PRIMO (single phase), SolarEdge DC optimisers, and the ABB. Here’s some clarification – NONE of these inverters are hybrids!

  • The current SMA model requires the ‘Sunny Island’ charger to be retrofitted to make it battery ready. That’ll set you back $4000. Unless you already have the unreleased new SMA hybrid model, it’s probably not battery ready.
  • Fronius currently have the SYMO hybrid which is suitable for properties with three phase power. The Fronius PRIMO is NOT battery ready. If you only have single phase power at your property, then you can’t get a Fronius battery ready inverter. The Fronius PRIMO (single phase) hybrid inverter will not be available until sometime in 2017.
  • SolarEdge is compatible with the Tesla Powerwall (as is the Fronius Symo Hybrid). However, it will cost an extra ~$2k to make it Tesla ready. The StorEdge interface and consumption monitor will need to be retrofitted for the Powerwall.
  • The ABB PVI 5.0 is just a standard inverter. Only ABB models that are ‘SCERT’, (or Selectronics Certified) are compatible with the SP Pro inverter charger. While Selectronics are great units, they are generally cost prohibitive.


True Battery Ready inverters:

Here are a list of well known true battery ready inverters. You can literally ‘plug & play’ a battery system into them without having to retrofit expensive additional components:

  • Fronius SYMO HYBRID – for three phase power only. Look for the distinctive red-marked Fronius as 
an indicator of it being a hybrid. The Fronius Primo is NOT battery ready.
  • Redback – a serious single phase solution. Read about the Redback here. 
  • As an AC Coupled solution, systems that are installed with the Enphase Envoy-S Metered gateway would technically be AC battery ready, but before you consider this, read my Enphase review. A better solution for AC coupling would be the sonnenBatterie, however, read my sonnenBatterie review before you consider going down that track.
      

Tips when looking for a Battery ready system:

  • Get a written quote with the exact inverter model so you can do your homework. This way you can ensure you’re going to receive the products you were sold
  •  Source testimonials from sites such as Solar Quotes, Google, Facebook and other kinds of social media. 
The easiest way to do this is just Google “MC Electrical review” (or whichever company you want to check out).
  • Check the company has an electrical contractor’s license. If not, then they are using sub-contractors rather their own electricians.
    This often has quality control issues and shows you that you are dealing with a sales company.
  • Check the companies ABN on ABN Lookup to see they have been around for more than just a couple of years.
  • Check the companies business address (on Google street view). There are a lot of fly by companies selling solar from their spare bedroom.
  •  Install with a CEC Approved Retailer. 
As a CEC approved retailer and signatories to the code of conduct, we guarantee an honest sales approach. As the CEC put it, you’ll have; “…peace of mind that the company will adhere to all existing legislation and regulations, and that its sales representative will act ethically and not engage in any dishonest or misleading tactics.”
    That means we will inform you exactly of what the products will & will not do. We won’t mislead you about the capabilities of a product without the addition of extra expensive components.Leave a comment and share your story of a so-called “battery ready” quote you received!Nicole Tapper: Sales Consultant and Solar Nerd.

 

Nicole Tapper: Sales Consultant and Solar Nerd.

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24 Comments on The Truth About Battery Ready Inverters

Mark C said :administrator Report a week ago

Hi Jill, All you need is an AC coupled battery like the Tesla Powerwall. I'm about to post a blog on AC coupled and DC-coupled batteries, so subscribe and you'll get it emailed to you in a week or so ;)

    Jill Barnes said :Guest Report 2 weeks ago

    Hello, I have a 5kW Fronius Primo 5.0-1 inverter with a SmartMeter. What do I have to do to connect a battery system ? is it connected to a separate circuit on my switchboard? What determines when it is being charged and discharged? Keep up your good work with your blog Jill

    • 4814
    Mark C said :administrator Report 10 months ago

    Hi Pete, It cannot be converted to a hybrid inverter per se, but you could use an AC coupled battery to it. AC batteries (like Tesla) have the battery charger built into the battery instead of the inverter.

      Pete said :Guest Report 10 months ago

      Hi, Do you know if a Fronius Symo 10.0.3-M inverter can be converted to a hybrid system or is it factory ready. Any comment would be appreciated

      • 6028
      Mark C said :administrator Report one year ago

      Hi Jack, we haven't used the 2500bp yet, and I haven't heard much about anyone using it. you can just connect an AC coupled battery to any inverter. I think the best option for an AC coupled battery is Tesla.

        Mark C said :administrator Report 2 years ago

        Hi Bob. Yes, when you have to export limit, batteries could be a good idea. It's still early days for batteries and I'm not overly happy with much I have seen on the market. Tesla wouldn't work in this situation. One option would be to use SolarWatt, a DC bus battery. I'm testing this soon, so look out for a blog in coming months!

          Jack said :Guest Report 2 years ago

          Just confirming your previous message. The 5KW Fronius Primo Single Phase is capable of having the GoodWe BP Series installed? Does the 2500BP work with a DC Battery and what is the biggest battery that this will take. I do understand that the BP Series uses one MPPT on the DC side yet what about the AC side? Can I just connect an AC batter to the Inverter?

          • 6066
          Mark C said :administrator Report 2 years ago

          Hi Edward. The price difference is around $1200. However, at the moment, the only battery compatible with the SYMO hybrid is the Fronius Battery - (which is the best and most expensive battery on the market.) Apparently, the Symo hybrid will soon be compatible with LG too, but I wouldn't bank on it. Unless you were going to buy a Fronius battery in the next 12 months - don't buy a Symo Hybrid. It would be like buying a phone charger for a phone you may buy in 2020 or sometime later. Battery technology is changing too quickly.

            Edward said :Guest Report 2 years ago

            Hi Mark, what is the price gap between Symo and Symo hybrid. If I choose the Symo now. Will it cost more in the future to connect battery to Symo (if it is possible)compare to buy Symo Hybrid now? Will I be locked in with Fronius when choose battery in the future? Thank

            • 4122
            Bob Harrison said :Guest Report 2 years ago

            Mark I am about to install 8.4kw Talesun panels and fronius sumo 8.2 three phase (new house) . I can only export 5kw to essential energy. Your earlier post indicated battery addition is ok with this. Would like current suggestions.

            • 2480
            Mark C said :administrator Report 2 years ago

            Hi Joash, I'd recommend Beyond Solar. I've heard good things about their service.

              joash said :Guest Report 2 years ago

              hi mark thanks for the informative piece. is there any solar installers in Sydney you would recommend. I am getting a wide variety of price ranges and when i speak to them they seem to be quite pushy and constantly talking about how bad their competitors are. i am looking for not a top of the range system but something that is cheap and effective but will not need to be replaced in the near future. thanks in advance

              • 2126
              Mark Cavanagh said :administrator Report 2 years ago

              Hi Kaine, Yes it can, We will be able to hook up the Tesla Powerewall AC to it (when their new update comes in a few months time). You could also install the SolarWatt, which is an interesting battery that is working closely with Tesla at the moment. Their new battery will be released soon. Both have their pro's and cons.

                Kaine said :Guest Report 2 years ago

                I recently got a Fronius Symo 3 phase 10KW inverter installed. Can this be used for solar batteries in the future?

                • 2210
                Mark C said :administrator Report 2 years ago

                Hi Dan, No it hasn't. Fronius are still not really sure when that will happen.

                  Dan Dixon said :Guest Report 2 years ago

                  Did the LG Chem HV become compatible with the Fronius Symo Hybrid in March 2017 as expected? Is it now? Rgds Dan

                  • 6027
                  Mark C said :administrator Report 3 years ago

                  Hi Michael. Yes, the news is that the Primo hybrid idea was scrapped last year. It's a little redundant in my eyes with the Tesla Powerwall being AC coupled, you just need a Fronius Primo (Non-Hybrid).

                    Michael said :Guest Report 3 years ago

                    Is there any news on the Primo Hybrid? I'm researching for a new (single phase) install this year and I'm thinking I should wait for it.

                    • 4055
                    Mark C said :administrator Report 3 years ago

                    Not yet Neil, But I am meeting with Fronius tomorrow and will let you know if they have any updates.

                      Neil said :Guest Report 3 years ago

                      Is there any updated information about installing the LG Chem Battery with a Fronius Symo Hybrid 3 phase Inverter?

                      • 4214
                      Plu42jiKoyh said :administrator Report 3 years ago

                      Hi Zlatan. Yes, in theory you could use the sunny boy storage (read my review) or the goodwe charge controller Neither are a fantastic option - but they would do the job. No doubt better and more affordable options will come out in the coming years.

                        Hmmmmm said :Guest Report 3 years ago

                        I got a Fronius Primo inverter last year with an explanation that it is not a hybrid inverter, however a charge controller just needs to be added in between the batteries and the grid inverter to circumvent the issue of Primo not being a true hybrid inverter like the Symo range. Interested if you've got any thoughts on this?

                        • 5087
                        Plu42jiKoyh said :administrator Report 3 years ago

                        Hi David, yes! I was just told this week by Fronius that the Symo Hybrid will be compatible with the new LG Chem High Voltage battery in the end of March, 2017.

                          David Rover said :Guest Report 3 years ago

                          Hi. Is it possible to run a LG Chem Battery with a Fronius Symo Hybrid Inverter? That would be my preferred option. Thanks for all the info on your website. David

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