Enphase AC Battery Eligible For SA Home Battery Scheme

Enphase AC Battery

Enphase’s home energy storage solution, the AC Battery, has been quietly added as an eligible system under South Australia’s Home Battery Scheme.

Up until December 31, 2018, only solar storage systems manufactured or assembled in South Australia (or will be) were eligible under the scheme. This limited choices initially to Sonnen, Alpha-ESS and Eguana Technologies.

423 subsidies had reportedly been approved to that point (but that doesn’t mean all 432 will result in a purchase) and 4,052 households had requested quotes.

Soon after the priority period ended, Tesla and LG Chem were added as options. The addition of LG Chem in particular will be of interest as it is a comparatively low cost, good quality system.

Enter Enphase

On checking the list of eligible systems yesterday, I noticed that Enphase had also appeared.

The Enphase AC Battery is a modular system. Based on lithium-iron phosphate chemistry, which is widely regarded as the safest of commonly used lithium-ion chemistries, the AC Battery has a nominal/usable storage capacity of 1.2kWh. However, additional modules can be easily added.

The AC Battery also has very limited power output – 260W per battery, but this “stacks” with each module added. As a comparison, the LG Chem RESU 10 (8.8kWh usable storage) offers 5kW output (steady). You’d need 7 AC Battery units to approach the same useable capacity (8.4kWh) and in that scenario, output would only be 1.82kW maximum.

The Enphase AC Battery is an all-in-one unit that measures just 39cm x 32.5cm x 22cm and weights approximately 25kg. The latest pricing we have noted on SQ’s solar storage comparison table is $2,000 (fully installed). It wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume subsequent units will be cheaper if installed at the same time.

If you’d like to learn more about this energy storage option, SQ’s Ronald posted an Enphase AC Battery review back in 2016 you may wish to check out. I don’t think much has changed with the AC Battery since that time, so much of the information would still be relevant.

If you’re keen on installing Enphase’s battery under the SA’s subsidy scheme, you’ll also need to use a qualified system provider to install a system. Of the 43 qualified system providers currently listed, only one is offering Enphase at this point.

Update: Finn’s pointed out that initially the SA Government stipulated the minimum battery size that can receive a subsidy is 2.5 kilowatt-hours. So you’d need 3 AC batteries minimum – unless they’ve changed the rules.

About The Home Battery Scheme

South Australia’s Home Battery Scheme offers a subsidy of up to $6,000 on a battery system and is calculated based on storage capacity – $600.00 per kilowatt hour for energy concession holders and $500.00 per kilowatt hour for all other households. The subsidy only applies to eligible batteries. Low interest finance is also available to support the purchase a solar power + storage package or for additional solar panels to accompany the installation of a battery system.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. Daniel Debreceny says:

    I’m not entirely sure why anyone would install the enphase battery. The peak capacity is to low for any typical usage scenario, and it requires professional installation.

    It seems to be a “me too” product, just box ticking.

    Compare this to Orison that have 2.2kWh Capacity, 1.8kW (9kWp) and plug in to the wall …..

    Sure …. the Orison has a waitlist ..

    • I’m with you Daniel – Enphase are very low power (especially considering the chemistry) and expensive. There are plenty of better options. Not sure about Orison as they haven’t even started shipping yet so it’s hard to recommend vapour-ware just on value and I very much doubt they’ll be UL certified to simply “plug-in” to an Australian electricity outlet. I hope they are but knowing how stringent our regulations are it seems unlikely. Still an interesting idea.

      • Daniel Debreceny says:

        Typically, UL has stricter requirements than Australian Standards (which are based on IEC standards with local minor variations. EN / European Norm standards are also based on IEC standards, but are usually directly copied from the IEC standard).

        That said, UL is based on US requirements, rather than IEC/Au standards and Australia requires RCM (local supplier/manufacturer) registrations and etc, so there may be some interesting difficulties with Orison officially sending them in to Australia, at least initially.

        I’m not sure that the “blackout protection” or “anti-islanding” method, by tripping the circuit breaker, will pass muster.

  2. Ronald Brakels says:

    Unfortunately, the Enphase AC’s low power output will reduce its usefulness to Virtual Power Plants. If you stack 13, which I believe is the maximum amount of modules in practice, you’ll have 3.38 kilowatts of power.

  3. What is the effective life span of this battery? Are the suppliers giving any clear replacement warranty if it doesn’t function properly? I believe a battery will last 5 to 7 years and then it will hardly pay back the investment.

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Unless the warranty has changed it is for the first of 10 years or 7,300 cycles and promises it will have 80% of the nominal capacity of 1.2 kilowatt-hours at the end of that time. The warranty covers two cycles a day for 10 years which is far more than normal households use. Typical households average 0.8 cycles a day. The warranty is pretty good as these things go.

  4. Hi Michael and Ronald,

    I checked the 2016 post and couldn’t see an answer to this tech question:

    What is the 260W limit per unit based on? Does each unit have a microinverter, or is that some theoretical safe discharge limit for each cell?

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      The Enphase battery has a microinverter built into it. That’s why it is limited to 260 watts of power. For this type of battery — lithium iron phosphate — the usual amount of power draw in kilowatts is half its capacity in kilowatt-hours. So the battery should be able to handle providing around 600 watts of power, but the low 260 watt limit will help extend its life.

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