This Aurora inverter review (now known as ABB inverters) looks at the good ol’ Power-One Aurora (ABB) Inverter. This little Italian beauty has had a rep in the solar industry as a “premium” inverter for more than 5 years. Whenever I think of Aurora though, 2 things spring to mind:
- Back in my days as a Warehouse hand – seeing dozens of Aurora PVI-2000 inverters stacked up for warranty claims
- The terrible web of phone calls I tried to crawl through to get some info on their products
The trouble with the Aurora inverter is that it’s just not the Ferrari that you want it to be. I mean, sales reps who try to flog Aurora will tell you it’s the bees knees and give you lots of convincing spiels on this. In reality though, the Aurora inverter comes with too many issues to make it a truly premium inverter like SMA.
Aurora Inverter Review – The Product Range
One thing that Aurora has got going for them is their wide range of inverters. At times though, this can be confusing. At least they can meet almost any requirement of the customer. Their domestic inverters (for you and me) are the PVI series which starts at 2kW. The Aurora inverter comes in these different series/models:
Aurora Inverter Review – Single Phase Aurora Inverters
- PVI-2000 / PVI-3600
- PVI-3.0-OUTD / PVI-3.6-OUTD / PVI-4.2-OUTD
- PVI-5000-OUTD / PVI-6000-OUTD
- UNO-2.0-I-OUTD / UNO-2.5-I-OUTD (new ABB model)
Aurora Inverter Review – 3 Phase Aurora Inverters
- PVI-10.0-OUTD / PVI-12.5-OUTD
- TRIO-20.0-TL / TRIO-27.6-TL (new ABB model)
- TRIO-5.8-TL / TRIO-7.5-TL / TRIO-8.5-TL (new ABB model)
What’s wrong with my Aurora inverter?
- The light-weight structure makes it feel a lot like a cheap toy, instead of a reliable piece of engineering
- The display isn’t intuitive and doesn’t give you much information. For your everyday QLD bloke, knowing what Pac is doesn’t come naturally.
- They have a high failure rate as far as inverters go – higher than some Chinese made products.
- The service is terrible
- Hopefully, the company acquisition by ABB will fix up some of these issues and I’m quietly confident it will
I’m not saying it’s all bad news for Aurora. The Aurora inverter can perform very well once it’s connected, verified and tested to be functional. But it’s just not worth the risk. I mean, you would normally pay a premium for this Italian made piece of electronics – anywhere from $350 to $1000 more than a Chinese product. For that kind of upgrade, I want something awesome. Power-One just does not deliver on this.
Another point worth mentioning is the fact that this company has just recently been acquired by ABB
Aurora Inverter Review – What’s Good About It?
So it’s not all bad – the Aurora is a good machine. I mean it’s light-weight, it’s sleek looking and it produces results. I had one particular installation where the Aurora was throwing out in excess of it’s total rated power output.
Another plus with Aurora is, if you want to load up your panels to the max… Aurora can go up to 6.65kW with their 5kW unit. This is great if you’re on a feed in tariff especially. SMA only goes up to about 6.1kW for panels. At least that’s what the Clean Energy Regulator allows.
- It’s not as dear as the German SMA
- It’s compatible with monitoring systems
- It does a good job when it’s up and running
Aurora Inverter Review Summary
In my opinion, you could go for an Aurora inverter… but I wouldn’t. I have seen far better qualities in the JFY and Growatt inverters than in the Aurora. And if I was going to fork out the extra cash for a premium product, I’d go with SMA every time.