SMA has been a leader in solar power equipment since the earliest days of solar power. Established in Germany in 1981, SMA was creating solar equipment at a time when most people still hadn’t even heard of the concept of turning the sun’s rays into usable electricity. SMA’s string inverters, including the Sunny Boy, have been among the best products in the industry ever since. Keep reading to learn more about the Sunny Boy inverter, its history, and its capabilities as compared to other grid-tied solar inverters.


SMA’s Growth and Competition

We can’t discuss the Sunny Boy’s history without talking about the history of SMA itself. The Sunny Boy has been around almost as long as SMA, and from the beginning, it was a leader in its field. When the solar boom really took off around 2008, any solar installer you spoke to would have told you that SMA’s inverters were the best in the market.


In terms of reliability, nothing could compete with SMA. Even as new inverters entered the market year after year, the Sunny Boy remained the preferred piece of equipment for solar installers, as it was one of the only ones on the market that could be trusted to last for 10 years or more. This solidified SMA’s reputation as a superior manufacturer, and the company’s sales flourished.


Now, however, the story is a bit different. Of course, SMA still produces exceptional equipment; the quality of the Sunny Boy has not declined at all. Rather, the competition has gotten a lot fiercer. More manufacturers are in the solar market than ever before, and some have surpassed the performance of the Sunny Boy and SMA’s other products in certain areas. In particular, SMA has struggled to keep up in the area of hybrid inverter production. Still, in a crowded market, SMA has remained near the forefront of the industry that it helped to build from its fledgling years.

sma grid tied solar inverter

To China and Back Again

As SMA’s sales began to struggle due to the increased competition, the company eyed China in an effort to reduce production costs. In 2013, SMA bought a majority stake in Zeversolar, a Chinese inverter manufacturer known for its low-cost but low-reliability inverters. Many hoped that SMA’s influence would create a balance between the two manufacturers and lead to an inverter that featured SMA’s reliability and exceptional manufacturing and Zeversolar’s lower costs. However, the inverters that rolled out after SMA’s takeover never caught on.


After the drop in sales, SMA returned to its German roots and consolidated its operations back in its home country in 2018. This move was positively received by the solar industry as a whole and signaled SMA’s return to focusing on high-quality production and reliability.

It’s important to note that we don’t dismiss any solar product out of hand simply because it is made in China. Many Chinese-based manufacturers produce reliable solar equipment. Rather, SMA’s return to Germany signaled a commitment to quality rather than low production costs, which was a smart move for the manufacturer known for its reliability and quality.


Rise of the Sunny Boy

After SMA’s return to Germany, the company didn’t slow down in its commitment to creating efficient and dependable inverters. The Sunny Boy—SMA’s residential single-phase inverter—has gained popularity around the world, keeping the company at the top of the industry more than 40 years after its inception.


Sleek, lightweight, and efficient, the Sunny Boy in 1.5, 2.0, and 2.5kW sizes, as well as 3.0, 3.6, 4.0, 5.0, and 6.0kW sizes for its AV series. WiFi comes standard in the new Sunny Boy models, allowing you to monitor the inverter from any smart device rather than via a built-in screen. Removing the display screen from the inverter eliminates one of the weakest points of the equipment, further improving its durability.

Nothing matters more than reliability when it comes to inverter features and functions. The inverter is the beating heart of your solar power system. Suppose it fails to reliably convert your DC power to AC electricity, malfunctions regularly, or requires frequent repairs. In that case, you’re not getting the most out of your solar power system. That’s why the Sunny Boy has remained a top recommendation among solar installers. Even as new models of the Sunny Boy, such as the AV series, rolls onto the market, users can feel confident that any SMA grid-tied solar inverter will provide robust and reliable energy conversion for years to come. If you’re on the hunt for a reliable solar inverter, contact The PowerStore, Inc., to learn more about our recommendations and find out if a Sunny Boy inverter is right for you.