Having been in the solar business for many years largely focusing on remedial work, we have had experience with almost every brand in the UK solar marketplace. Due to supply chain issues in 2022, some of our favourite brands were unavailable for up to six months, and we were forced to diversify and look at different options.
The two standout brands for inverters and batteries, which in my opinion, deserve the most attention, are Solax and GivEnergy. Although there are other notable brands to consider, Enphase is great for microinverter setups with a 25-year warranty, while Solar Edge is a slightly more cost-effective option with an optimizer setup instead of individual microinverters. Other alternatives which are worth a mention Solis, Sofar, Growatt, Pylontech, Dyness and MyEnergy with their new Libbi range of Batteries and Inverters. These are just a few of the key brands out there and there are no doubt more that deserve a mention. However, Solax and GivEnergy are perfect for most applications and offer a more premium appearance, excellent apps, and features. Notably, they both have the ability to set the force charge from the apps. For instance, if you wanted to store power in the battery from the grid at a given time, you could set it to do so at that time and even set the percentage of charge and simply toggle this in the app.
Moreover, these systems can take advantage of the Octopus Agile tariff and other similar tariffs by reading your smart meter and determining the half-hourly wholesale rates. This enables the system to mediate the use, storage, and sale of your power at the most favourable rates for you. The quality of the equipment, combined with these advanced features and their price point, makes Solax and GivEnergy two leading brands for typical installations, assuming there are no mitigating circumstances.
There are a few other brands to mention here like the Alpha Range which is a smart bit of kit at a good price and as mentioned above, the MyEnergy Libbi range which seem fantastic but jury is still out on them with further investigation required
When choosing between Solax and GivEnergy we have to look at what is required. Solax comes with a standard 10-year warranty on the inverter, but for a basic battery system of 5.8 kilowatts, you will pay a little bit more than for the equivalent 5.2 kilowatts from Give Energy. If you buy additional capacity with Solax, the second battery will be cheaper as you have to have both a master and a slave. So, the first battery is slightly more sophisticated and therefore costs a little bit more. However, the rest of the batteries are essentially blunt instruments guided by the master control unit and so are cheaper.
Give Energy offers more flexibility in terms of battery sizing, with options ranging from 2.6, 5.2, and 9.5 kilowatts. There are even some other options in the pipeline, which are coming down the line. The ability to mix and match each of these options is a key benefit and you can pair the inverters for greater capacity. You will likely pay a little bit more for a Solax on a smaller system with a single battery. But, you get the additional five-year warranty as standard. Generally speaking, the flexibility you get with GivEnergy, and the fact that it will likely cost a little bit less, makes it the better option for smaller systems. Conversely, if you are going for a larger system, then you have more options with Solax, with hybrid inverters…
There are many variables to consider when building your solar PV system, and it is all about finding the right balance which can even include the location of the equipment.
This is by no means intended to be an exhaustive review but more a homage to lots of problem free installation which have been competitively priced system with what I believe to be a bit of a premium look and feel. It should also be noted that we absolutely consider the other brands like Growatt, Sofar, and Solis mentioned here all of which have their place in certain circumstances and we certainly have our eye on both the Alpha and the new Libbi range from MyEnergi.
I think the key takeaway here is that it’s important to understand your specific needs and site scenario to appropriate the best kit for the best job. That said, I’m excited by some of the new kit coming into the marketplace albeit I do have a soft spot for both Solax and GivEnergy. (In case you hadn’t noticed)
New Dawn Solar