The Growatt SPF series of inverters has problems…serious problems if you don’t know how to fix them. The inverter unit also contains an integrated MPPT charge controller built in. And the unit has a great price point for 6kw/240vAC inverter. It can also handle 80a of PV input. Appears to be a perfect choice for off-grid operations on a budget.
But, I have personally installed one of these units for a friend and experienced problems. Later I found out there are known problems with these units, the SPF series. They will sometimes appear to overload within their 6kw/240vAC capacity and simply go off-line. They have also been known to have their integrated charge controller go off-line, without warning, which runs the battery bank down shutting down the system.
Fortunately there appears to be software/firmware upgrades that can remedy these problems. It did on the installation that I accomplished…but it took us time and interaction with the manufacturer.
So be pretty savvy yourself and know how to upgrade the firmware and software…and know how to modify the unit’s settings correctly. Or if someone installed your system for you, make sure they are aware of the problems and know the “fixes” to make. Or, buy a system that isn’t engineered and manufactured in China.
So the unit is usable and like I said…a great price point for the features. Just be aware of the problems. Know what you are getting yourself into.
And of course…one more thing. The Growatt units are marketed in the USA by a company called Growatt USA. It is owned by the parent company located in China, although run in the US by leadership in California. The person in charge in the USA is a nice lady but she lacks technical knowledge. And the lead for US marketing is an Australian who is a nice guy, has technical knowledge, but is lacking ability to resolve/troubleshoot issues relating to the units themselves.
The parent company also owns a lithium battery manufacturing company called FNS.The idea was to have an inverter unit (with integrated MPPT charge controller) and lithium batteries that work and communicate together. Great idea! But they fell short in getting all the bugs worked out before they went to market. More on the batteries tomorrow.
This is a cautionary “Trap” warning…not a “Do Not Buy!” warning. More like “Buy At Your Own Risk & be Prepared to Work Through It” warning.
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