Enphase Energy has long been a key provider of microinverter and wiring solutions for residential solar photovoltaic (PV) installations and has built on that success with another important component of a holistic energy solution — storage. Before we dive into the company’s recently updated product, let’s talk a bit about the Enphase approach to “going green” at home and for the entire grid. That all starts with the Enphase Home Energy Solution (video).
The Enphase Home Energy Solution is looking to a future full of distributed solar PV generation, supported by residential storage that supports smart electric vehicle (EV) charging and grid connectivity to revolutionize how power is generated and consumed. The combination of connected, intelligent, distributed generation and storage improves the reliability of the overall grid during the day and into the night, with the potential to enable a smarter grid for everyone.
Enphase has been focused on delivering critical components for PV solar systems that enable connectivity for several years now, and announced a storage component to that back in 2014. It recently updated this modular storage solution, dubbed the “AC Battery,” to better complement the existing Enphase portfolio and improve the last major block in the Enphase Home Energy Solution vision. As all batteries are fundamentally DC, each of the battery units presumably has an integrated inverter which enables the direct connection to the AC side of the home grid.
The Enphase vision for the battery product is that it will allow users with solar on the roof to charge the batteries during the day and use it back at night — nicely bridging the evening hours. Enphase also hopes to leverage the AC Battery to trim demand when power prices rise, also known as peak shaving, which is where the real payout for the system kicks in. The theory is that for users who are not fully off the grid, the battery allows the homeowner to purchase power from the grid when it’s cheap… and use that to charge the battery, which conversely allows homeowners to use power from the battery when grid power is expensive. The net effect is a savings of a few cents per kWh thanks to the intelligent, connected battery.
Enphase doesn’t stop there, bringing smart EV charging to the home as well. With a typical EV today having a 24 kWh battery, knowing when to charge it and where to pull the power from can make or break a peak shaving plan, so it makes sense that Enphase has taken EVs into account. On top of that, this builds a natural connection to EVs which may soon have vehicle-to-grid (V2G) functionality that could even replace the need for home batteries and just pull power from the EV instead.
Cracking open the batteries themselves, these 1.2 kWh units utilize a lithium-iron-phosphate chemistry packed into prismatic cells for long-term stability, as evidenced by the 10-year warranty. The units boast a 95% depth of discharge and a 96% round-trip efficiency, meaning homeowners will get the most out of the power they put into the device.
Overall, Enphase has brought a compelling option to the residential storage space, and one of the first packs designed to be dropped onto an AC circuit that would function the same with or without solar panels at the house, which gives it a step up and an entirely new market vs many other storage products that are designed to sit on the DC side of the grid, behind the single inverter for the solar system (like the Tesla Powerwall).
Head on over to the Enphase Storage site for more details and a video showing what the physical product looks like when installed.
All images by Enphase Energy