Enphase AC Battery

American Microinverter manufacturer Enphase Energy has recently launched their home battery storage product, the Enphase AC Battery. There have been loads of new battery storage products coming onto the market and there are lots to choose from. Tesla’s launch of their home battery storage system grabbed the media’s attention, but we think Enphase has a unique solution that’s also well suited to the average Australian home. Pre-orders for the new Enphase AC Battery have been well above expectations, with Enphase receiving 70,000 in Australia alone. Low feed in tariffs for solar and high electricity prices have many Australian consumers keen to see what a grid-connect battery storage system can do for them.

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Enphase AC Battery installation – Geelong

 

 8 Reasons to love the Enphase AC Battery

Firstly here’s a brief introduction; the Enphase AC Battery is a grid-connect battery storage system, also known as a hybrid battery system. The Enphase battery isn’t an off-grid battery and it doesn’t provide backup power if the grid goes down, so if that’s what you’re after you might be better looking here. The Enphase AC Battery has a 1.2kWh capacity per unit and comes with a 270 Watt bi-directional inverter. The unit itself is pretty compact; it weighs 25kg and is 390W x 325H x 220D. Now most of the new products hitting the market are primarily aimed at increasing the self-consumption of your solar energy.  This is exactly what the Enphase AC Battery is designed to do; capture electricity that would have been exported at a low rate (roughly 5c/kWh in Victoria) and store it for use at night, or for times when your solar system isn’t providing enough energy.

  1. Easily to retrofit

Over a million solar systems have been installed on rooftops in Australia. With this in mind, the Enphase AC Battery has been designed so that it is easily retrofitted to an existing solar system no matter what type of solar inverter you have. All that is required is the Enphase AC Battery, the Enphase Envoy-S-Metered (normally installed in a sub board and monitors the system and connects it to the internet), some wiring and CT clamps to monitor your consumption and solar production.  You just need a good indoor location to install it, like a garage or shed and that’s it! The installation is quick and looks great.

  1. Low entry level price

Many grid-connect battery storage systems are north of $10,000 to install and this can be barrier for people wanting install a storage system. Enphase have made their product more accessible with a much lower entry level price than most competitors.  If you have an existing Enphase microinverter solar system with an Envoy-S-Metered installed, adding an Enphase AC Battery is simple and will probably cost you $2,500-$3,000 depending on your situation, additional batteries are easy to install and will get cheaper the more you purchase .  If you don’t already have an Envoy-S-Metered the cost of installing the first Enphase AC Battery with Envoy-S-Metered monitoring system will set you back $3,500-$4,000.

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Enphase AC Battery

  1. Modular & Expandable

One of the great features of the Enphase AC Battery is that it’s modular. Each unit stores a total of 1.2kWh of energy (1.14kWh usable @ 95% DoD) and this gives Enphase’s solution a couple of benefits. Firstly, a small modular system can be sized more accurately to suit any household’s storage needs. This is important when you want to optimise the use of the battery and achieve the best return on investment. Most other battery systems are designed with larger energy storage capacities meaning there’s a smaller sweet spot for getting a good return on investment from the battery, particularly if you aren’t using all of energy storage capacity every night. The second advantage is that the Enphase AC Battery system is easily expandable, so you can start off small and grow your battery system as you go. Each Enphase AC battery is installed in parallel and contains its own inverter.

  1. Simple & Elegant

Enphase’s solution is arguably the simplest and most elegant solution on the market. The inverter, battery and management system are all contained within the same box. The only additional components are the Envoy-S-Metered control unit/internet gateway, which is installed in a new sub-board with a battery main switch. Many other products require a separate battery inverter, which can result in ugly surface conduit between the inverter, isolators and communications interface.

  1. Safe

When it comes to safety the Enphase AC Battery is probably the safest home storage solution on the market. Enphase uses Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO or LFP) cells manufactured by Japan’s Eliiy Power in their battery. These cells have passed extremely rigorous testing to become one of the only cells used in home storage to gain approval from the world renowned testing lab TUV Rheinland. Both the battery chemistry and Eliiy’s prismatic pouched cell structure mean that this is a really safe solution. On top of all this, the Enphase AC Battery has a much lower DC voltage than their competitors, meaning that there’s no hazardous high DC voltage in the system and it doesn’t require complex active cooling systems either.

  1. Smart

Enphase’s solar microinverter systems are renowned for the way that they can cleverly optimise the performance of individual panels, but it’s the Envoy-S-Metered monitoring gateway device that is really the brain in the system.  The Envoy captures solar production and household consumption information and communicates with the Enphase AC Battery about when to charge and discharge energy. This information is also uploaded to the internet, where it can be viewed on Enphase’s “My Enlighten” monitoring platform. Data captured by the Envoy can also be used to troubleshoot issues by your installer, or by Enphase to update firmware, even pushing out new features to your batteries and inverters.

 

  1. Reliable

When it comes to reliability Enphase have put in place some pretty impressive processes to test and monitor their products in development, manufacturing and in the field. Enphase do accelerated life cycle testing of their products, running them under high stress conditions, pushing them to temperature extremes under heavy electrical loads. They also use sophisticated monitoring equipment and procedures in their manufacturing processes to cross check the quality of product going out to market.  On top of all of this they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in Australia last year testing their products in the field before they bring them to market. With a huge amount of data being collected about the environmental and grid conditions, Enphase are able to feed this information back into their product development, fine tuning their products over time. The AC battery’s strong 10 Year warranty and our experience so far with Enphase’s solar microinverters gives us confidence that the Enphase AC Battery will also deliver.

  1. More cost effective

The Enphase AC Battery allows you to install a more cost effective solution than many of its competitors, partly because it comes with a pretty impressive warranty allowing you to gain value from the battery over time by cycling it up to twice a day. The modular approach also allows you to optimise sizing and therefor get the best value out of the storage. When considering how cost effective a battery will be there are a number of things to consider. Firstly it’s worth considering the terms of the warranty – Enphase have a 10 Year warranty (7300 cycles to >80%) for example.  This means you can cycle the Enphase AC Battery twice a day over 10 years and it will still hold a minimum of 80% of its rated output.  It’s assumed that the first cycle will generally be charged using excess solar during the day and discharged in the evening, if you’re cycling the Enphase AC battery twice a day the second cycle will probably need to be charged from off peak power from the grid and discharged over breakfast.  Also the fact that you can size your storage system specific for your needs, maximising the cycling of the battery during the warranty period also makes Enphase a more cost effective solution for more Australians. In a situation where you’ve installed a larger capacity battery, but aren’t utilising the full storage capacity every day within the warranty period, you might find that you’ve paid for storage capacity that you’re not getting the full value out of.

As you can see, the Enphase AC battery has a heap of advantages and that’s why we’re excited about it. To be one of the first in Australians to get one contact us now.