Electronics

Enphase plug-and-play solar energy storage system to begin pilot program

Enphase AC Battery, wall mountable, with build in microinverter
Enphase AC Battery, wall mountable, with build in microinverter
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Enphase Envoy-S, the networking hub of the system
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Enphase Envoy-S, the networking hub of the system
The MyEnlighten iPad app shows energy consumption
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The MyEnlighten iPad app shows energy consumption
Enphase AC Battery, wall mountable, with build in microinverter
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Enphase AC Battery, wall mountable, with build in microinverter

An interesting new player is set to enter the emerging home energy storage arena in the shape of the Enphase Home Energy Solution. Enphase is billed as the world’s first integrated system that allows home users to store, monitor and manage their rooftop-generated solar electricity, while controlling their overall electricity consumption. The new product will be piloted in Australia from December 2015.

The system, (which was clearly named by engineers) provides a modular AC battery array and a networking hub that connects to a cloud-based monitoring app.

"Every other solution on the market that we know of is essentially just a battery," Enphase Energy’s Asia-Pacific managing director, Nathan Dunn, told Gizmag. "This means you’d have to add additional components to convert the power supply to AC, and additional software to monitor the battery usage. All of that requires a lot of complex engineering. We’re offering a complete solution that can be essentially a plug and play exercise."

The wall-mountable Enphase AC Battery measures just 390 x 325 x 220 mm (16 x 13 x 9 in) and weighs 25 kg (55 lbs). Each battery incorporates a bidirectional microinverter and provides 1.2 kW hours of energy and 275W/500W power output. It has an ambient temperature range of -20°C to 45°C (-4° to 113° F) and a limited warranty (> 80% capacity) for up to 10 years or 7300 cycles.

"We’ve partnered with ELIIY Power, a Japanese battery provider to develop a battery based on Lithium Iron Phosphate chemistry," said Dunn. "This is an incredibly safe technology with a prismatic cell format that is very resilient to high temperatures and trauma events."

According to Enphase, a hypothetical home user with a PV array may choose to install the system in three stages.

Stage one: Install Enphase Envoy-S Metered, the networking hub of the system. This device – around the size of an iPad – will send you information via the company’s MyEnlighten app. You can then start obsessing over how much energy your PV system is generating (and when), and how much energy your household is drawing from both your PV system and the grid throughout the day. This shows you how many storage batteries you may need.

The MyEnlighten iPad app shows energy consumption
The MyEnlighten iPad app shows energy consumption

Stage two: Start with two or three Enphase AC Batteries and have them installed in series to start building towards the battery capacity you need.

Stage three: The system will automatically start optimising your PV energy usage – shifting it to batteries when you’re generating more power than you use, and drawing electricity back from the batteries during peak usage periods. You can then start mixing things up – change your habits, or add more batteries and solar panels – to find ways to further reduce your electricity bill.

Enphase has announced pricing for the battery at AUD$1,150 (US$817) per kilowatt hour for volume purchases by direct customers in the Australian market, with a margin to be applied by partners.

There’s no denying that solar energy isn’t a cheap prospect yet, but with storage and efficiency still the industry’s biggest stumbling blocks, it will be interesting to see how the system goes on the market.

Source: Enphase

11 comments
jerryd
Except SolarCity and Tesla have been doing this over a yr now so hardly the first. Not sure what battery SC used before the PowerWall came out but now using it as are many others. Plus way too costly it could never pay for itself. Even Tesla's Powerwall at $3500/10kwhr with inverter, electronics to match Enphase but in useful amounts at 40% of the cost. Fact is Enphase is the most expensive inverters too.
Freyr Gunnar
> There’s no denying that solar energy isn’t a cheap prospect yet It won't ever be as cheap and convenient as fossil fuels, because solar and wind energies are much more diffuse. Besides, we're unable to manufacture and distribute those devices without fossil fuel. Dead end.
ChuckTedeschi
You said that "Every other solution on the market that we know of is essentially just a battery," The Goal zero Yeti series has a built in inverter. It's not small enough to hang on a wall though.
MaxWebXperienZ
The block to solar power is the alternating current appliances in houses. Solar generates DC which we convert to AC and distribute to a lot of items that then convert it to DC! If a manufacturer would make DC powered appliances and install DC distribution in a house all the DC to AC and AC to DC conversion could be eliminated, not to mention the 60 cycle electrical field we are bathed in. Currently a travel trailer has some DC distribution and DC powered air conditioners are available. Even travel trailers are mired in archaic AC power even with their efficient short distance from the solar panels to the devices being powered.
TGinNC
-->jerryd: Tesla is the best deal, but "The first thing to note is that the Powerwall does not include an inverter" and "An inverter capable of handling that costs around $1500" (source: http://www.engineering.com/ElectronicsDesign/ElectronicsDesignArticles/ArticleID/10057/Teslas-Powerwall-by-the-Numbers.aspx ) So, 10 Kwh for $5000 from Tesla, vs. $8170 from Enphase for 10 Kwh (bulk purchase at $817 per Kwh). Tesla is $3170 cheaper which does calculate to about 40% (38.8% to be exact to one decimal place). Just don't want the opponents to use the inverter miss-quote as amunition to attack. Tesla is the best so far.
juandegringo
In New York, NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research & Development Authority) places a 3-yr. moratorium on battery backup following installation of residential solar. Details, details. Who says the PSC is an extension of the industry with a revolving door to make sure their interests are represented, not those of the public? I believe the inventor who has a practical and functional magnetic-bearing flywheel, will have a better solution to energy storage than any battery so far developed, even though graphene seems to be a natural, which I believe we'll see before too long. The "problems" with ANY battery, e.g. the battery pack in my 2003 Honda Civic hybrid include: 1) limited life (I spent $3,000 for a replacement battery for the Honda two years ago - so where is the life-cycle cost savings on all that petroleum I didn't consume? 2) environmentally unfriendly both in manufacturing and disposal/recycling (do a Google search and you'll find the references.) This product seems to be an advance, but the inverter for my 2.6kW system has I-Net compatible reporting, but, of course, not the analytics people with iPads want. No argument there. If they stay in business, and trim the waste and cost, they *MAY* become competitive in a niche they are creating, but will be replicated by the big companies with deeper pockets. Smart solar? It's a no-brainer.
James P Pratt
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-06/tesla-s-new-battery-doesn-t-work-that-well-with-solar Information on Tesla battery.
DagJohansen
*Sigh*. This Enphase AC battery is not going to sell well. 3 big problems: 1) It is too expensive. 2) It is too small. You need several of them to get through a night. 3) IT DOES NOT WORK WHEN THE GRID GOES DOWN. People do not want to shell out big bucks for solar PV and batteries and then have the system not work at all when the grid goes down. You need to be able to provide people with back-up power. People will buy other products that provide that features. They need a much better product.
kingofassholes
All of this crap is for the people that can afford it. For people that can't, they'll just have to deal with the various Light Companies raising their Rates and the Door to Door Electric Rate Peddlers ripping off the unsuspecting. As long as there's a lot of money to be made off the backs the Non-wealthy, alternative energy will stay out of the affordable reach of them. That's why this Tech (Like everything else) is taking so long. They got to line their pockets FIRST.
AlexanderLee
for 800 dollars I could purchase two top of the line 105 amp AGM BATTERIES which would be double the amount of power capacity and buY a 1000 Watt pure sine wave inverter and still have enough money left over to buy a 250 watt solar panel off E BAY SO WHAT IF IT WEIGHTS MORE iAM TALKING SPENTING MONEY FOR BETTER RESULTS
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