Save yourself the heartache of making a bad inverter decision. The SMA Sunny Boy AV-40 is the modern version of the world famous SMA Sunny Boy TL. An inverter once considered the pinnacle of single-phase solar inverter technology. Therefore, the question must be asked, how does the new SMA Sunny Boy AV-40 compare, not just to its predecessor, but also to modern rivals? 

.

Make and model:  SMA Sunny Boy AV-40.

Variants: 3.0 | 4.0 | 5.0.

  Warranty, Software, Features.

  Service warranty.

Embroiled in controversy the new SMA Sunny Boy AV-40 certainly has had its share of criticism. Die-hard SMA advocates suggest that shifting manufacturing locations from Germany to China would be the great undoing of a respected inverter manufacturing powerhouse (see update below). Others would suggest that removing the graphic display isn’t what consumers wanted. The SMA Sunny Boy AV-40 indeed was the boldest move the solar industry had seen by a manufacturer in a long time. 

Update: Sunny Boy AV-40 production shifts back to Germany in 2019 >

Design.

The most controversial element of the new release SMA Sunny Boy AV-40 is without a doubt the modern design. Although what appears to be initially distasteful should be viewed as a healthy progressive evolution or quite simply, an inspiring design.

As home appliances evolve to be more communicative and reliable, so must solar inverter technologies. No longer just a means to convert DC to AC energy, a common point of failure in all solar inverters is the old black and white LCD type graphic display. The engineers at SMA have had some foresight on the reliability front and replaced the need for a graphic display with a set of multifunctional LEDs and your smart device. As we now watch TV through our smartphones, it’s not too difficult to view energy production through the same device, time to adapt.

Rounding off the SMA AV-40 design battery connectivity is available through a compatible AC or DC coupled battery technology or through SMA’s extensive range of battery inverters. The IP 65 weather rating provides versatility in mounting locations. While fan-less cooling ensures low noise and reduced serviceability over the operational life.

Download the SMA Sunny Boy AV-40 datasheet here:

SMA Sunny Boy AV-40 LED Interface - Solar Review

SMA

Sunny Boy AV-40 - Design
  • AC and DC Coupled battery compatibility with selected battery technologies.
  • New release.
  • Fanless.
  • Reputable national design award.
  • TÜV Reihnland certified.
  • Inspiring.
  • IP 65.

Features.

Only two blemishes exist in an otherwise outstanding feature rating. Internet connectivity lacks that of a manufacturer supported 4G mobile network connection, supplying only WiFi and ethernet connectivity. Additionally, shadow management lacks mandatory module-level optimisation although SMA’s OptiTrac Global Peak shadow management protocol is a cut above most string inverter shadow management technologies. Both of which are high-end expectations and the absence ensures a lower purchase price for the technology which is viewed as a win.

As a dual tracking inverter technology, the SMA Sunny Boy AV-40 is equipped with an inbuilt DC isolator and further enhanced by the new age multi-function LED local interface. For added versatility, manufacturer supplied add-ons in module-level optimisation and rapid shutdown are facilitated through SMA’s own Tigo Energy solutions. Expanded monitoring capabilities are outstanding within the SMA range, with the widest selection of energy management and environmental monitoring systems available. Finally, the new expectation in inverter features, advanced operational parameters can be adjusted remotely to aid better system performance and improve system uptime.

SMA Sunny Boy AV-40 Connection - Solar Review

SMA

Sunny Boy - Features.
  • 2 MPPTS.
  • LED & APP internet connectivity.
  • WiFi & Ethernet inbuilt.
  • No manufacturer supplied module-level optimisation options.
  • Manufacturer supplied module-level rapid shutdown options.
  • Manufacturer supplied expanded monitoring options.
  • Nominated shadow management protocol onboard.
  • Installer remote access support is rated at - operational parameter
    adjustments.

Performance.

European weighted efficiency within the SMA Sunny Boy AV-40 remains within the highest calibre at 97% (avg). A wide operating temperature range facilitates diverse climates ranging between -25oC to +60oC (-13oF to +140oF), and 100% humidity.  Further complimenting the temperature range is an exceptional derating temperature point at over 50oC (at 600VDC).

A level of noise emission is present, however, unnoticeable to most. If sensitivity to acute noise emission exists, the 25dB(A) noise rating should be factored into the selection process. A significant difference from the previous model is the weight reduction by a staggering 10 kg (22 lb). The New SMA Sunny Boy AV-40 weighs in at only 16 kg (35.3 lb). A weight which is more accommodating for load-sensitive performance requirements.

SMA Sunny Boy AV-40 Top View - Solar Review

SMA

Sunny Boy - Performance
  • 97% European efficiency.
  • Temperature range of -25°C (-13°F).
  • Temperature range of +60°C (140°F).
  • Temperature derating of 50°C (122°F).
  • Weighs 16 kg (35.5lbs).
  • Noise emission of 25 dB (A).

Guarantee.

One of the most assuring product warranties available, the SMA Sunny Boy AV-40 range comes with a resounding 10-year product warranty if purchased through the authorised SMA dealer network. A very big upside as the SMA dealer network undergoes consistent training into SMA best practice installation techniques. Assurance to the point that if the inverter is installed to manufacturer specifications the warranty will always be upheld. Selecting an SMA authorised dealer adds expedited product repair in the event of a failure and more. The only downside is that the 10-year warranty is not a full 10-year parts and service warranty. The final 5-years is a parts only offering by SMA.

SMA Sunny Boy AV-40 DC Isolator - Solar Review

SMA

Sunny Boy - Guarantee
  • 10-year parts warranty.
  • 5-year service warranty.
  • Authorised installer network with additional end-user benefits.

Software.

As of 2019 SMA Sunny Portal Users will be converted over to SMA’s next-level ennexOS monitoring platform for a superior system monitoring experience.

See the full SMA Sunny Portal monitoring software review for more insight > (Coming Soon).

SMA Sunny Portal

SMA

Sunny Boy - Software
  • SMA Sunny Portal Monitoring
  • iOS & Android app.
  • Alerts & fault diagnosis.

Affordability.

The SMA Sunny Boy AV-40 is not the cheapest inverter you’ll find, but it’s also not the most expensive either. A good compromise for a product which is subject to a renowned German quality standard.

As a gauge, SMA Sunny Boy AV-40 5 kW inverters are available online from:

 USD 1250  |  AUD 1700  |  EURO 1050 

Excludes taxes, shipping and installation.

Source – Google

SMA Sunny Boy AV-40 Logo - Solar Review

SMA

Sunny Tripower - Affordability
  • Exceptional technology score.
  • 5kW approx for $1250 USD ex.

OVERALL.

Relocating production back to Germany as of 2019, the SMA Sunny Boy AV-40 range could have been much more given where solar technology is heading. Very future ready, the SMA ways of adding additional device after device to accommodate the future can prove costly depending on one’s requirements. Nonetheless the SMA Sunny Boy AV-40 is an excellent solar inverter option by a trusted inverter manufacturer.

SMA

Sunny Boy - Overall
  • Design 4.4
  • Features 4.8
  • Performance 4.1
  • Guarantee 4.2
  • Software 4.5
  • Technology 4.4
  • Affordability 4.4

Insight:

How was the score for the SMA Sunny Boy AV-40 calculated? By utilising the Solar Review Inverter Assessment Criteria V2.3 >

12 COMMENTS

    • SMA Source: Rest assured that bulk of the internal componentry within the AV-40 is made in Germany and the units are purely assembled in China. The entire fully automated production line is being relocated to Germany and the same rigorous quality control is in place for batch testing to manufacture the alternative AV-41 models.

  1. Hi, I am in the process of having to replace my inverter which stopped working on a very hot day in Adelaide about 3weeks ago my inverter was an Aurora 3kw power one, this is the second one I’ve had and do not want the same brand and am interested in the Sunnyboy 3kw but would like advice if it could hook straight on to my existing system without major alterations hope to hear from you soon.

    • The SMA Sunny Boy AV-40 would likely be considered a compatible replacement for the Aurora model you have as both have similar DC input voltage and current characteristics (this is the key). A local SMA PowerUp partner would be able to verify this in a few questions over the phone and access a free 10-year product warranty upgrade for you.

  2. I have 2 SMA sunny boys. The product is fine, the service after the sale is unbelievably bad. SMA used to have very good service, but like many companies, that is sadly the opposite now. I tried calling the Rocklin CA location and it literally took me 5 hours over 4 phone calls to get to someone who actually knew or understood that there are 2 inputs on the inverter. I had a simple question, but everyone who answered the phone was just reading a script and clearly did not know the product AT ALL. After waiting on hold for hours, the “Level 2” technicians got on the phone and I had to explain to them the difference between balanced inputs and dissimilar voltage inputs was-they had NO CLUE. I do not know where they are hiring the people who have access to the phones, but NOT ONE OF THEM was an electrician, engineer, or even someone who had a basic knowledge of their products. Given the complete lack of product support, I can no longer ever buy another SMA product. I have 3 solar systems on 3 houses currently. 2 of these are SMA inverters (All LG panels 🙂

    • Fair call. There will inevitably always be the discrepancies which exist between end-user and inverter manufacturer relationships in general as there is always the x-factors in installation and local environment (e.g. grid condition etc). Unfortunately, the Solar Review inverter assessment criteria doesn’t have criteria for assessing after-sales support as there is no fixed value to gauge across the market at this time. There are some proactive signs occurring though between manufacturer and installer relationships such as the SMA PowerUp program where SMA work closely with approved installers to gain access to expedited after-sales care and additional features. In such a case, contacting the PowerUp installer which installed the system can offer far better ground-level knowledge with the SMA backend access you desire. Nice panel selection btw, an eye for quality!

  3. My specific complaint is NO ONE at the SMA Rocklin phone number has ANY even basic knowledge about inverters. So frustrating to have zero customer support for such a simple question. Why even have them answer the phone? Given this, why would ANYONE risk buying a SMA product, because if they have even the smallest problem, there is zero customer support after the sale. It is a good product, but even good products sometimes have issues, and in this case they can’t answer the most basic of questions about the products. Shockingly bad…

  4. SMA has no Customer support. I have a Sunny Island 6.0H, a SunnyMinicentral SMC11000TL. The system has worked for several years. All I am trying to do is connect to the Sunny Portal and connect a Sunny Beam by buying the communication modules. I called SMA South Africa, germany and Netherlands and the standard response I got was: contact your local SMA Installer. I live in Nigeria and there is no accredited SMA installer!! Once again, i have gone online and researched and finally figured out the modules I need. all I have to do is instal. Should I be looking for a recognised SMA installer in a location where there is none?

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here