Enphase IQ8 microinverter to operator when the grid is down

13 November 2017 by
Enphase IQ8 microinverter to operator when the grid is down
AC Solar Warehouse Pty Ltd, Rob Birchall

During Enphase Energy’s Q3 2017 earnings call Raghu Belur – Chief Product Officer explained the development of the IQ8 microinverter. The IQ8 series will have some models that will supply electricity when the sun is shining even during a loss of electricity supply from the grid.

In Australia and many locations around the world, grid-connected inverters are required to have anti-islanding protection. This means grid-connected inverters must shut down when there is a loss of electricity supply from the grid. This feature is designed to protect utility staff that could be working on power lines. Electricity being back fed into the grid from various grid-connected solar systems can be very dangerous for power line workers.

While anti-islanding provides improved safety for power line workers it means solar systems are unable to supply electricity to the home when there is a loss of supply from the grid or where there is no grid at all.

The S series Enphase microinverters which are currently used in Australia were developed specifically to meet Australia Standards and electricity utility requirements and therefore have anti-islanding capability.

The IQ series of microinverters is an integrated solar, storage and energy management platform that enables self-consumption and delivers on Enphase Energy’s core value proposition of yielding more energy, simplifying design and installation and improving system availability uptime and reliability.

IQ6 and IQ6+ are models currently only supplied in the US.

Enphase Energy developed the IQ7, which is designed as a universal microinverter – suitable for use in all locations globally.  This simplifies manufacturing and significantly reduces costs.

During Enphase Energy’s Q3 2017 earnings call Raghu explained the development of the IQ8 product and its ability to operate without the grid.

“Now let me talk about our next generation IQ8 product expected to be introduced in 2019 based on our always on technology called Ensemble. One of solar’s biggest challenges is that it is grid tied. What this means is that if the grid fails and the sun is still shining, there will be no production out of your solar system.

Most customers are unaware of this limitation with today’s solar technology. So, to address this limitation we have invented a microinverter technology that is completely grid agnostic. This means that even if the grid fails and there is sufficient sunlight, the Enphase system will continue to produce energy and meet the demands of the home or business.

The Enphase microinverter system’s capabilities further enhanced when the Ensemble technology is incorporated into our AC battery storage solution. With IQ8 you can have a system that will continuously produce energy, regardless of the presence or absence of the grid that is solar during the day and storage at night.

That is what we mean by always on and it can address challenges like those experienced in Puerto Rico, other island nations and countries with weak grids. We also believe IQ8 will grow our total addressable market worldwide. For example, there are over 1.2 billion people with limited or no access to energy in regions such as India and Africa.

IQ8 is uniquely positioned to address the energy challenges inherent in these and other regions of the world.”

The development of the IQ series of microinverters is reducing costs while adding functionality and value for customers.

Enphase Ensemble

Ensemble is a suite of products from  Enphase Energy which allow homeowners to have a truly grid agnostic solar system.  This means the solar system can be either connected to the grid, operate when the grid is down or be used for off-grid.

The system is based on new grid forming IQ8 microinverters and can operate independently of the grid, utilising the new Encharge battery, the new Enpower Smart Switch, and the Enlighten Cloud.

Learn more about Enphase Ensemble for Australia and New Zealand  here

Enphase Encharge Battery based on the IQ8

The Enphase Battery comes in two sizes.  The Enphase Encharge 3 which is a 3.36 kWh battery and a Enphase Encharge 10, a 10.08 kWh battery. The Encharge battery’s are AC coupled and can be installed for storing excess solar for when the sun goes down.  To use the battery for backup power an Enphase Enpower smart switch is installed with the battery.  During outages, the Enpower smart switch isolates the solar system from the grid and connects the storage.

Learn more about Enphase Encharge battery for Australia and New Zealand here