Enphase Battery Is Impressive But Very Unlikely To Save You Money

Enphase AC Battery

The Enphase AC battery. image: Enphase

Until now, if you have been one of the highly intelligent and undoubtedly good looking people with a grid connect solar system and you wanted to add batteries, you were looking at spending at least $10,000.

But that will no longer be the case in August when the teeny tiny $2,000 Enphase AC Battery becomes available in Australia. [Read more…]

Enphase’s Cunning Plan: Make Micro Inverters Cheaper than String Inverters.

enphase costs: half price by 2017When it comes to Australian solar installations, conventional string inverters tower over the competition like a current converting colossus. But microinverters, which are tiny in both physical size and market share, are shaping up to beat string inverters on both price and reliability. Enphase, the world’s largest producer of microinverters, plans to beat conventional inverters on price within two years. If they meet their goal of cutting micro inverter costs in half, it will change the way Australians install solar power. [Read more…]

The Truth About Battery Ready Solar Systems

Do you want your new solar system to be battery ready? First you have to know what that means...

Do you want your new solar system to be ‘battery ready’? First you have to know what that actually means…

Most homeowners I speak to are really keen to get batteries.

Just not right now.

They want to wait a few years until the price has come down substantially. And who can blame them when a typical battery system in 2016 has a payback of 20 years but only carries a 10 year warranty.

So clued up homeowners looking to buy solar are really keen to get a system that they can easily add batteries to in the future.

Solar companies have caught on to this and we are starting to see solar systems sold without batteries but advertised as ‘battery ready’.

Here at SolarQuotes we are getting more and more questions about what ‘battery ready’ actually means in these adverts, and the best way to buy a solar system that really is battery ready.

The truth is that ‘battery ready’ can mean lots of things. Many of the ads I have seen are technically correct – in that you can add batteries in the future – but probably not as easily, or with the functionality that many people will be expecting.

In my opinion if you are going to claim a specific solar system as battery ready then you must be more specific and explain the basis on which you are making the claim.

In this post I’ll go through 3 different interpretations of ‘battery ready’  – make sure you understand which one you are being offered. [Read more…]

Tesla Powerwall vs. Enphase AC Battery

powerwall and Enphase AC battery

How the Tesla Powerwall and Enphase AC battery specs compare.

Tesla Powerwall
Approx $10,000 fully installed on compatible solar system
6.4 kWh
3.3 kW
single or 3 phase
no inverter included
no UPS features included
10 year Warranty
350 – 450 volts DC
Enphase AC Battery
About $2,000 fully installed on any existing solar system with any brand inverter
1.2 kWh
260W continuous, 270W peak
single or 3 phase
micro inverter included
no UPS features included
10 year Warranty
240 volts AC

In terms of good marketing in Australia, two batteries stand head and shoulders above the rest in Australia right now: the Tesla Powerwall and Enphase AC battery. Both of which are due for mainstream release in 2016.

(There are lots of alternative batteries around – many of which are worth considering – but this article is about Tesla vs Enphase due to the volume of enquiries we get about them.) [Read more…]

Do Electrolytic Capacitors Cripple Microinverter Reliability?

Part 1 of an interview with Enphase VP of Quality & Reliability: Ciaran Fox

In my experience solar installers either really love microinverters, or are incredibly wary of them. There seems to be very little middle ground.

Those who love them talk about their ease of installation, increased power output, flexibility of panel layout, panel level monitoring and shade performance.

Those who are wary of them generally worry about their reliability.

A microinverter is a box of sophisticated electronics that sits on your roof (under each solar panel). In Australia your roof gets hot! And if a microinverter fails, replacing it means climbing on the roof and removing the panel. So installers’ concerns are understandable.

an Enphase microinverter

A microinverter. You generally use one per solar panel instead of a single large central inverter. They are about as big as an iPad mini

To get some authoritative answers, I asked installers that I know to send me their toughest questions about microinverter reliability.

I then put those questions to Ciaran Fox who is the Vice President of Quality & Reliability at the world’s biggest microinverter manufacturer, Enphase. [Read more…]

Microinverters Vs DC Optimisers – which is best? [infographic]

For those of you that want an easier way to understand the differences between microinverters (such as those manufactured by Enphase or APS) and DC optimisers (such as Solar Edge or Tigo), and don’t want to read this long post I published a couple of weeks ago then this 2 part infographic is for you!

The first part explains the difference between conventional, string inverter systems, DC optimised systems and microinverter systems (seasoned solar nerds may want to skip this and scroll straight down to part 2)

Microinverters vs DC Optimisers. Part 1

Microinverters vs DC Optimisers. Part 1

Part 2 goes into the pros and cons (and even picks a winner based on my humble opinion).

MIcroinverters vs DC Optimisers. Part 2

MIcroinverters vs DC Optimisers. Part 2

 

If you want to republish any of these infographics, no worries. All I ask is that you link back to this original post. I also have higher res versions which I can provide. Just ask!

* Note: the 2nd graphic has been updated to include 2 features of full Solar Edge systems (i.e. systems with Solar Edge optimisers coupled to Solar Edge Inverters) . Specifically Arc protection and individual fault bypass circuitry.

** This is only an opinion! If you vehemently disagree with my analysis, please leave a comment, or even write a well articulated blog post with your differing opinion, and I will happily publish it.

Microinverters Vs. Dc Optimisers: Which option is best?

optimisers and microinverters

If you’ve decided on panel-level optimisation, which is the better choice, microinverters or optimisers?

Good grief this article is going to get me into trouble with some solar installers.  Why? Because by the end of it I will give my humble opinion on whether microinverters (e.g. Enphase) are better than DC optimisers (e.g. SolarEdge or Tigo). [Read more…]

Solarmax Inverter Bankruptcy: What it means for Solarmax owners.

solarmax logo

Solarmax have gone bust.

Bad news for fans of Solarmax inverters as its parent company, Sputnik Engineering, has just filed for insolvency.

Solarmax are a 20 year old Swiss inverter manufacturer who made fantastic quality inverters at a great price. It seems, with hindsight, that the price was a little too great!

If you were considering buying a Solarmax, then you should probably change brands so that your warranty is with a solvent manufacturer. Go for a big brand like SMA, Fronius, Sungrow, ABB, Zeversolar, Delta, Enphase or Solarbridge (feel free to leave any big brands I’ve missed out in the comments!)

If you already have a Solarmax on your home, then don’t panic! [Read more…]

Does Sunpower + Solarbridge Microinverters = World’s Best Performing Solar System?

sunpower and solarbridge logos

Sunpower & Solarbridge sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G

A lot of Aussie solar installers really dislike microinverters. In fact many refuse to install them.

The main reason is a fear of inverter failure. The reasoning goes something like this: [Read more…]

Are micro inverters & battery backup compatible?

3 microinverters and 2 batteries

Can you combine micro inverters with batteries? Yes you can!

Can you use a micro inverter off grid? Or even for grid connect with batteries?

With the growth in the use of micro inverters, I’m starting to get more and more emails asking: can micro inverters be used in off grid (or hybrid) systems?

The short answer is yes they can! In fact a number of micro inverter battery backup systems are already operating here and abroad.

The longer answer gets a bit technical – but I’ll try to keep it as simple as I can!  [Read more…]

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