German PV inverter manufacturer SMA will launch its latest battery inverter – Sunny Boy Storage 3.7/5.0/6.0 – in June. SMA's latest offering features enhanced digital services as inverter manufacturers strive to differentiate their products in a competitive market.
Up to three batteries can be connected to the battery inverter and according to the company the process of linking batteries is designed to be easy and can be done at any moment.
SMA emphasizes batteries from multiple manufacturers can be connected to its system and says installers and operators will be able to use the SMA Smart Connected service, which monitors systems and sends out automatic notifications when maintenance work is needed.
The manufacturer has also integrated an emergency power supply feature that allows uninterrupted power supply (UPS), even in cases of grid failure.
“With the new Sunny Boy Storage, we are offering homeowners with PV systems even more options for using self-generated power,” said Martin Rothert, head of the Residential and Commercial product group at SMA. “They can expand the storage system depending on electricity demand, increasing the amount of self-consumption. Combined with the intelligent energy manager – Sunny Home Manager 2.0 – energy flows in the home can be controlled intelligently and electricity costs further reduced.”
IHS Markit recently published analysis predicting the global inverter market would become more competitive due to price pressure and increasing competition from China. To offset those factors, inverter manufacturers are looking beyond their traditional business model and exploring novel applications and services inverters could provide.
SMA's main competitor, Solaredge, recently announced it had acquired assets in Gamatronic, a company specializing in emergency power supply, ensuring both players can offer products tapping into that market. The move was interpreted by IHS Markit as a sign of the increased competition – and resultant diversification – of the inverter market. The report stated the UPS market has been stable for ten years and is expected to grow slightly in the years ahead, a promising outlook for inverter manufacturers as the UPS market is the same size by potential renvenue as the inverter market. That means expansion into UPS technology effectively doubles the market for inverter makers with only moderate technological tweaks required to their products.
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Will this put pressure on solaredge? Is it already putting pressure on solaredge in the U.S.? Seems solaredge + enphase + Sunpower had a monopoly on the U.S. resi market in 2017 when the bulk of states switched over to NEC 2014/2017 rules (requiring rapid shut-down). However, it seems all the legacy string “boys” (i.e., SMA + Fronius + ABB) now have rapid shutdown capabilities, suggesting solaredge is at risk. Is anyone seeing heated competition in the inverter space? Some are saying enphase’s IQ7 inverter is taking big share from solaredge. Anyone have a view?
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