OutBack Power is a U.S.-based solar equipment manufacturer responsible for producing solar chargers, batteries, and other elements of photovoltaic solar systems. The products produced by OutBack Power service residential, commercial, and large-scale industrial clients. The OutBack Power specialty within the solar space is the creation of solar equipment for off-grid use.
Recognizing the solar movement was taking people away from the traditional utility-grid dependence, OutBack Power focused on its smart and rechargeable battery-based products that allow for energy independence with automated technology. While OutBack Power products have traditionally been more expensive initially, the capabilities of its products have proven to pay off in the long run.
OutBack Power solutions can be found in micro-grids in Africa, rural projects in Latin America, remote cabins in Alaska with no access to utility grids, and even suburban homes in the continental United States.
The AC Coupling applications are a noteworthy feature that make it easy to add battery backup even to an existing grid-tied system. This flexibility does not exist with other manufacturers' products, but it does with the OutBack Power inventory of inverters and storage systems.
With OutBack’s inverters, the frequency shifting AC Coupling feature creates a sort of plug-and-play solution for both residential string inverter and micro inverter systems. This is done by essentially creating full generator support and making it possible to scale both storage and inverter capabilities.
With OutBack Power inverters, there is the option to have a solar system that is tied to a utility grid or utilizes self powering off-grid solutions. Most manufacturers produce inverters designed to be grid-tied, but OutBack Power offers viable solutions for both.
The off-grid OutBack Power inverters are recognized as some of the best in the industry. Clients that need power for rural cabins or other similar property types may want to consider what OutBack Power has to offer in this space.
The most recent inverter additions manufactured by OutBack Power come with the new advanced battery charging (ABC) profile option. This technology is used to bolster diagnostics increasing all around performance.
The advanced battery charging feature also offers “smart” energy management for self-generation and self-consumption programs. This allows for a better balance between stored energy, solar, and utility power which combats rate hikes and outages. Most inverters do not offer this type of advanced charging technology.
Warranties are standard within the solar equipment business, and inverters are no exception. Most inverter manufacturers cover products for a minimum of 10 years with some companies offering 25-year production warranties on inverter products. There are also manufacturers that allow buyers to purchase extended warranties as an option.
OutBack Power clients should expect a limited warranty on inverter products with protection only lasting a total of five years. There is an option to purchase an additional five years of coverage, but that will come at a cost. This makes the OutBack Power warranty one of the most limited contracts in the industry.
The solar equipment industry is working towards becoming more transparent, especially in the expense department. Most inverter manufacturers will disclose how much it costs per unit or provide a range for budgeting purposes. OutBack Power has not released costs associated with its inverter inventory.
While there are no specific dollar amounts disclosed through OutBack Power regarding inverter costs, off-grid equipment and past client reviews indicate that OutBack Power inverters are relatively expensive compared to other products on the market.
Due to the off-grid capabilities, performance metrics take a hit. One such performance metric is the size limitations of the OutBack Power inverter. Currently, the hybrid version of the OutBack Power inverter only provides a range of 2 kWh–3.6 kWh. This is substantially less than other inverters on the market.
While the sizing limitations are a concern for homeowners, it should not discourage those with off-grid intentions. However, the residential client may want to consider alternative products due to these limitations.