Aurora Inverter Review (Also Known As ABB)

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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:

  1. Back in my days as a Warehouse hand – seeing dozens of Aurora PVI-2000 inverters stacked up for warranty claims
  2. 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 - Factory

Here is a picture of one of the Power-One Aurora inverter sites.

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-2000-OUTD
  • 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?

  1. The light-weight structure makes it feel a lot like a cheap toy, instead of a reliable piece of engineering
  2. 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.
  3. They have a high failure rate as far as inverters go – higher than some Chinese made products.
  4. The service is terrible
  5. 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.

single phase aurora inverter

One of Aurora’s single phase inverters

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.

  1. It’s not as dear as the German SMA
  2. It’s compatible with monitoring systems
  3. It does a good job when it’s up and running
Aurora trio inverter

The very sleek and sharp looking new Aurora trio inverters are a sight for sore eyes.

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.

 

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12 thoughts on “Aurora Inverter Review (Also Known As ABB)

  1. Bill Shaw says:

    Having been in the solar industry myself for quite some time, i disagree with you.
    What i have found is this.
    The systems that i have found failed are from poor design and installation. ie each string has been pushed over the max input volts. The AC supply cable back to the switchboard have been undersized. They have installed the inverter in an environment that has an increased temperature (tin shed with no ventilation. I could go on, for no reason.

    Failure rates of all brands could be attributed to the poor installation and dodgy work by those that are out to make a quick buck.

    The REC have a lot to answere for not imposing severe penalties for those who dont care.

    I only installed Aurora inverters and have had no failures or claims made against me.

    I have though found one that has failed. Customers call me to look at why their systems are not performing. This perticular system was installed with these problems. In a tin shed with no ventilation, AC cable undersized, and each string exceeding the Max allowable voltage.

    In my view I would rate the Aurora at 4.5 Stars.

  2. Shiby Ninan says:

    I have an aurora single phase inverter installed in 2013. It was working fine till a month ago. Now it is showing error message in the display indicating that the electricity generated by the solar panels are not getting converted and passed on to the grid. I have been told that the inverters come with a 5 year warranty. The company who had installed it (BBE) went into liquidation. Could you please advice how I should proceed to get the inverter repaired/replaced. Other solar companies doesn’t want to take over the case.

  3. Lorraine says:

    Hi , l had an Aurora PVI3600 installed just on 5 years ago and it has now failed, error E031 which cannot be repaired. The company will not honour a replacement because it is just outside of the 5 year warranty. Very expensive lesson not to purchase from this company again and also never recommend them the to any one. Do you have any recommendations on which converter l should replace it with. Much appreciate any feed back. Thanks

    • Terry Condrick says:

      Hi I had 4 weeks to go on my warranty (5years) took9 weeks to replace with a second hand one. Don’t replace with new, Now this one is playing up The red alarm light comes on & this is the readout, Egrid 49.9Hz in range, Ugrid 253.8u out of range. Was told by Solagain there was too power going back into the grid (Early morning with lots of cloud) & to ring Energex they say its not there problem. It did come right about 2 pm. But its happened twice now that I know of. Stay away from Aurora

  4. Stephen Huang says:

    I have the same issue with my PVI3600, installed on July 2011 and now with Error E031 and they would not honour a replacement warranty because it’s 4 months over warranty.

    I would like to know if there is any other inverter with similar spec that you would recommend.
    Thanks.

  5. william white says:

    i have a aurora 3 kwatt inverter and showing error and need a replacement warranty? , am i talking with the correct people?,

  6. Ian Norcross says:

    I too have the dreaded E031 error but the installers I had are now out of business and I am trying to contact anyone at Aurora or ABB as mine is still within warranty, can anyone help as to where I can contact for any kind of service reply

  7. j currie says:

    hi, me to, i had an aroura pvi3.6 inverter fitted in june 2011 after being told that this inverter was the bees knees nothing in them which can not be replaced quickly and easilly in the unlikely event that something does go wrong.
    yeah right, mine gave up the ghost 5 weeks after the warrenty ran out, as this was a fault well known to the company and they claimed to have erradicated this fault in june 2015, i used this as a stick to beat them with, i beat them with it repeatedly untill they relented and offered me a 10 year warranty with a new machine at a cost of £810 however they can not supply one for 6 to 7 weeks add in the cost of lost generation approx £300 =£1110
    a sunny boy installed with a 10 year warranty = £1,205. 20 years = £1590 and can be extended anytime while still in warrenty cost may be slightly more for that option [ have not asked yet ]
    the shame is the inverter performed very well while it was working but the e031 fault is terminal , as i said this is well known to the company who in my opinion should automatically extend the existing warrantys to 10 years for all machines pre june 2015 as a goodwill gesture
    and speed up replacements with a new not recon
    one installer i spoke to claimed that every one he fitted over a 3 year period had since been replaced all e031
    i am getting the sunny boy

  8. Philip Ung says:

    I agree with the review that Aurora is poor in quality. I’ve my unit installed at the end of 2014, and it was replaced twice (in Jan 2015 and Apr 2017). The components inside the box blown up each time. Each down time is around 6 to 8 weeks.

  9. Peter Davis says:

    Is my Aurora inverter compatable with a battery system??
    I have a UNO

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