Save yourself the heartache of making a lousy inverter decision. The SMA Sunny Boy AV-41 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 exists, how does the new SMA Sunny Boy AV-41 compare, not just to its predecessor, but also to modern rivals? 

Make and model:  SMA Sunny Boy AV-41.

Variants:  3 / 4 / 5 kW.

  Warranty, Software, Features.

  Service warranty.

Contents.

Embracing a new design, the SMA Sunny Boy AV-41 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 (update below).

Others would suggest that removing the graphic display isn’t what consumers want. The SMA Sunny Boy AV-41 indeed was the boldest move the solar industry had seen by a manufacturer in a long time.

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 LCD type graphic displays. Foresight on the reliability front exists via replacing the need for a graphic display with multifunctional LEDs and your smart device.

Rounding off the SMA AV-41 design, battery connectivity is available via AC Coupled battery technologies or through SMA’s extensive range of battery inverters. The IP 65 weather rating provides versatility in mounting locations while convection cooling ensures low noise and reduced serviceability over the operational life.

SMA

SB AV-41 Design; SUPERIOR
  • AC Coupled battery compatibility.
  • Released 2019 (prior model AV-40).
  • Fanless.
  • Global Solar + Energy Storage “Solar PV Inverter of the Year” award 2019.
  • TÜV Reihnland certified.
  • Inspiring.
  • IP 65.

Features.

SMA’s proprietory ShadeFix shadow management protocol is a proven cut above string level optimisation solution. As a dual tracking inverter, the SMA Sunny Boy AV-41 possesses an inbuilt DC isolator and is further enhanced by the new-era multi-function LED local interface.

For added versatility, manufacturer-supplied add-ons in module-level optimisation and rapid shutdown exist through SMA’s own Tigo Energy solutions. Expanded monitoring capabilities are outstanding within the SMA range, with one of the broadest selection of energy management and environmental monitoring systems available.

Finally, advanced operational parameters can be adjusted remotely to aid better system performance and improve system uptime.

SMA

SB AV-41 Features; OUTSTANDING
  • 2 x MPPTs.
  • Multifunction LED & local app connectivity (no internet required).
  • WiFi & Ethernet inbuilt.
  • Manufacturer supplied module-level optimisation options.
  • Manufacturer supplied module-level rapid shutdown options.
  • Manufacturer supplied expanded monitoring options.
  • SMA Shadefix
  • Remote access operational parameter adjustments (max).

Performance.

Weighted efficiency within the SMA Sunny Boy AV-41 remains within the highest calibre at 96.5% (avg). A wide operating temperature range facilitates diverse climates between -25oC to +60oC (-13oF to +140oF), and 100% humidity.  Further complimenting the temperature specifications is an exceptional derating point at 50oC (600VDC).

Noise emission is present, although, unnoticeable to most. If sensitivity to acute noise emission exists, the 25dB(A) noise rating must be factored in the selection process. The significant difference from the previous model is weight reduction by a staggering 10 kg (22 lb). The New SMA Sunny Boy AV-41 weighs a mere 16 kg (35.3 lb). A weight which is more accommodating for load-sensitive performance requirements.

SMA

SB AV-41 Performance; SUPERIOR
  • 96.5% Weighted efficiency.
  • Min temperature range -25°C.
  • Max temperature range +60°C.
  • Temperature derating point 50°C.
  • Weight 16kg.
  • Noise emission max 25 dB (A).

Guarantee.

One of the more assuring product warranties available, the SMA Sunny Boy AV-41 is accompanied with a 10-year product warranty if purchased through the authorised SMA dealer network. A tremendous upside as the SMA dealer network undergoes consistent training into SMA best practice installation techniques.

With manufacturer scrutiny over approved installer networks, installation is more likely to meet manufacturer specifications. Such a result ensures warranty validity. Further complimenting the guarantee, an SMA dealer ensures expedited repair in the event warranty.

SMA

SB AV-41 Guarantee; SUPERIOR
  • 10-year parts warranty.*
  • 5-year service warranty.
  • *Authorised installer network with additional end-user benefits.

Software.

As of 2020 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

SB AV-41 Software; ELITE
  • EnnexOS (2020).
  • iOS & Android app.
  • Alerts & fault diagnosis.
  • Module-level monitoring options.
  • Consumption monitoring options.

OVERALL.

Relocating production back to Germany as of 2020, the SMA Sunny Boy AV-41 range could have been much more given where solar technology is heading. Future-ready, the SMA ways of adding device after device to accommodate the future can prove costly depending on one’s requirements. Nonetheless, the SMA Sunny Boy AV-41 is an elite single-phase solar inverter option by a trusted inverter manufacturer.

SMA

SB AV-41 Overall; ELITE
  • Design 4.0
  • Features 4.8
  • Performance 4.1
  • Guarantee 4.2
  • Software 4.5

Comparison.

*AVG references industry average specifications.

Outstanding
[ 4.8 - 5 ] The pinnacle of certified specification.
Elite
[ 4.3 - 4.7 ] A rare calibre of technology produced by the industry elite.
Superior
[ 3.8 - 4.2 ] Specifications which are exceedingly superior to that of the industry average.
Very Good
[ 3.3 - 3.7 ] Advanced technology against the industry average.
Good
[ 2.8 - 3.2 ] Better than the industry average is that of which strives a portion better.
Average
[ 2.3 - 2.7 ] A score within this bracket is considered the industry average specification.
Ordinary
[ 1.8 - 2.2 ] Considered below the industry mainstream average.
Poor
[ 1.3 - 1.7 ] There's better, there's also worse.
Inferior
[ 0.8 - 1.2 ] Far below the modern industry average.
Awful
[ 0.3 - 0.7 ] Possesses specifications which are absent or unverified by a certified testing institute.
Avoid
[ 0 - 0.2 ] Unlikely for technology manufactured in the modern era.
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Insight.

How was the score for the SMA Sunny Boy AV-41 solar inverter calculated? By using the Solar Review Inverter Assessment Criteria V2.4 >

This article was originally published December 30, 2018.

To reflect evolving criteria this content has been updated over time.

Revision dates:

  • April 29, 2020

How does the entire current range of SMA solar inverters compare against each other? Discover now >

13 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?

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