I have a Fronius 5kW solar inverter that has stopped working. It is 5yrs and 8mths since install and is covered by a 5y plus 5y warranty. To get plus 5y warranty however Fronius is stating that I should have activated the plus 5yrs by registering the inverter within 24mths of install but this was not done. The inverter was an Origin Energy supply that was installed by their subcontractor and neither of these registered the inverter either. Effectively all are saying that the inverter is NOT covered by warranty as the unit has failed after 5yrs. Any thoughts on what I should do next?
Hi @dalevanevery, Fronius inverters are at the upper end of quality and reliability - which is why they offer a 5yr + 5yr manufacturer’s warranty.
Even though you didn’t register your inverter to gain the 10 year warranty, I would still use this to try and get a resolution under the Australian Consumer Law.
I would be putting it to them in writing that the ACL Consumer Guarantee timeframes is what a reasonable person would expect a product to last. As a minimum a reasonable person would expect a Fronius inverter to last at least 10 years as this is what Fronius expects from its inverters based in the 5 + 5yr warranty offer.
You could also offer them to meet you in the middle as well. Ask for them to supply parts and you will pay for labour. This might not be a bad option as the suitability qualified electrician you use could also give the system a full check over to ensure that it is in tip-top operating conditions. This is something which is recommended by the Clean Energy Council from time to time to reduce the risk of fire or catastrophic failure of the system.
I’m pretty sure that registering your product is not a requirement for those companies claiming you need to, in order to have any warranty coverage, so I don’t see why it should be the case for the extended warranty either. It might be worth enquiring with Fair Trading (for NSW, not sure what they are called in other states)
It’s worth considering under Australian Consumer Law Origin Energy is the supplier and responsible for providing a remedy. Approaching Fronius is always an option, however it would be prudent to first approach Origin with a request for a repair or replacement of the failed inverter. Especially if you relied upon their advice and selection of the inverter brand.
As @gordon suggested whether one registered the product may not exclude the provision of the full 5+5 year warranty. It’s worth confirming with your state or territory department responsible for consumer affairs.
EG Warranty cards - Consumer Affairs Victoria
Can we assume your Fronius inverter also has an internet connection to a Fronius supported monitoring App?
If it does Fronius will be well informed of the product and installation/operation. Registration does not change how the product performs or its life expectancy, hence just an uninformed view that it cannot make any difference to how long the inverter will function without failure. Origin Energy would remain my suggested primary contact for any claim now the supplied system has failed.
It may not. You can’t lose by asking. However I would think that as long as the standard warranty is by itself reasonable, they can impose whatever conditions they like for an extended warranty - and that would include the implicit trade-off of privacy breach / data mining that you get by registering v. the financial benefit you get from the extended warranty.
Also, presumably it is costing $$ each day that this goes unresolved so some kind of resolution sooner rather than later would be beneficial.
That said, the OP does not say whether this is on-grid or off-grid and if on-grid whether there is also a battery in the system.
Looking at the + 5yrs, it only covers parts and not labour or labour etc…
It also requires the owner (not installer or supplier) to register through the SolarWeb within 24 months of installation.
It isn’t a full warranty as such.
I would be trying to get them to supply parts as outlined in my earlier post.
Supply by Origin Energy strongly suggests it is grid-connected.
Different issue but 3 of my Origin energy inverters failed. All but the last within the warranty period. My fault in that I have the knowledge but didnt apply it. I measured the input voltage to the inverter and found it was more than the chosen device was rated for. So the quality of the inverter wasn’t in question it was the quality of the system installation. I specified an inverter ( same brand) that had the correct input specs and haven’t had an issue since.
Did Origin make all replacements under warranty?
If the system (assume it was the string DC OC voltage that was too high for the inverter) was not designed accordingly, it should not have mattered at what age the inverter failed?
Possibly true. I had no confidence in their ability after the first two failures so I specified an acceptable model number. Cant remember who paid. They would have replaced the failed item without checking wwhy it failed(again).
Is the same product or brand still being sold? Which brand was originally supplied and which product is now proving satisfactory. As you suggest it’s not hard to get it right.
It’s useful to note that for a standard residential installation the maximum PV string voltage permitted is 600V DC. The inverters supplied for our 2x PV systems (Sungrow) both have a maximum 600V rating, and are now 4 years old. The maximum OC voltage for each string is less than 500V temperature corrected.
Australian Standard AS5033-2014 clause 3.1
“PV arrays for installation on domestic dwellings shall not have PV array maximum voltages greater than 600V. For non-domestic installations where the PV array maximum voltage exceeds 600V, the entire PV array and associated wiring and protection shall have restricted access.”
Sorry Mark, I can’t recall the original brand or model. It was rated at 500VDC max input and the string was producing 600V at 12 noon on a sunny day. The current inverter will handle that and its an SMA.
I would do as suggested below but are you sure it has failed? Does it just keep cycling? I have two Fronius inverters. One is almost 12 years old and the other is 7 years old and they are still working. The 12 year old 2kw inverter was switching on and off. I was told to replace it. All that was required was a new fan which cost $35.
Have you had Fronius out to verify it has indeed failed? is it repairable?
No one wants to repair anything anymore.
All Fronius inverters are cooled by a fan. Listen to the inverter to see if you can hear a fan.
A further observation is the Solar PV accredited local electricians and installers are only competent to install and commission new systems. Fault finding a system is similarly limited by their training and experience.
Fronius will have a fault finding guide for each model of inverter. For a lesser level of skill it will only confirm the inverter has a fault that is not field repairable. If there is a major failure of the power electronics or controller electronics, the cost of a replacement module and labour will need to be weighed up against the cost of a new inverter, assuming @dalevanevery has not been able to obtain warranty support.
The manual for my 2kw 12-year-othe enormous amount of heat that is generated in the cabinet heat and the ability of the fan to remove the heat.
As previously suggested by me, listen to hear if the fan is working. The Fronius has a heat cut out. ie if the heat inside the cabinet gets too hot the system will cycle off and then on again when the temp drops. it may only need this fan replaced.
Whilst I fixed mine with a new fan unless you are careful you could electrocute yourself. I switch off the fuse in the main house electrical box as well as the DC switch to the inverter from the panels. I then left it for 30 mins for the capacitors to deplete. I then opened the cabinet and replaced the fan. Then reassembled it. It is now working perfectly. Prior to my intervention, it was only outputting less than 50% of normal.
A further caution is there are significant differences between the design of a 12 year old Fronius Inverter and more recent models.
The more prudent advice for anyone without relevant training and experience would be to avoid delving inside any inverter.
A final caution is a legal one to refer to your state/territory electrical or workplace safety legislation, and be aware of what it requires. An electric shock, even a mild one is enough to cause serious harm or death. Assuming the ambos arrive and ensure good health, what follows can be costly.
There are pretty detailed error codes for the Fronius inverters. These codes are user available and do not require more than about 3 button pushes to get to.