Our take on the Enphase AC Battery

11 October 2015 by
Our take on the Enphase AC Battery
AC Solar Warehouse Pty Ltd, Rob Birchall

The Enphase AC Battery – ready to take off in Australia in 2016

The Enphase AC Battery was launched at the All Energy conference in Melbourne and we believe the design is perfect for Australian homes.

The Enphase AC Battery is part of the Enphase Home Energy Solution, a highly adaptable energy management platform that integrates solar generation with energy storage, management and control.

The AC battery is a small, modular unit that incorporates a lithium ion phosphate battery, a battery management system, and a state-of-the-art bi-directional microinverter. The internal microinverter is ideally matched to the battery to enable seamless charging and discharging directly from the household 240V AC supply.

At the heart of the Enphase Home Energy Solution is the new Envoy S, which measures the home’s energy usage and solar generation and directs excess solar energy into the battery for use at night.

This ground-breaking system is designed to calculate and display the balance between solar generation and energy consumption in an installation – so the energy storage components can be confidently and ideally sized to suit the home’s specific needs. The unique modular approach of the Enphase AC Battery enables the optimum amount of storage to be installed. Ongoing monitoring of the system enables the continuing optimisation of the system should energy consumption or generation patterns change over time.

For example, if a 5kW solar system is installed on a house where much of the energy generated during the day is used there may only be a small amount of excess solar available to charge the battery for use at night.   In this situation one or two Enphase AC Batteries may be all that is required to optimise the system. It would not be sensible or cost effective to install a large expensive battery in this situation. If daytime energy usage reduced for some reason in the future, one or more AC Batteries could be easily added to ensure energy is not wasted or exported to the grid for little return.

The Enphase AC Battery is small, wall mounted and very quick and easy to install. It is wired directly into the existing switchboard using standard AC cabling. There is no external DC wiring and hence no dangerous high DC voltages which can be the cause of fire or shock – so it is a much safer system than DC energy storage options.

The Enphase AC battery is part of a fully integrated energy management system, meaning that there is no need to match a hybrid inverter with it from another manufacturer as is required in many DC battery storage systems. If any warranty issues arise these can be addressed with a single supplier as opposed to having to potentially deal with multiple equipment manufacturers. This is particularly important when dealing with battery warranty claims because battery manufacturers often point the finger of blame at the device controlling the charging and discharging of the battery.

The Enphase AC battery can also be fitted to existing AC or DC solar systems (any solar system). This avoids the need to upgrade an existing solar system with a new inverter capable of charging batteries in order to implement energy storage.

Compared to other forms of battery technology the performance of the Enphase AC battery is very impressive.   The AC battery is designed to discharge to 95% depth of discharge which is a huge leap forward from lead acid and other battery technologies whose life would be drastically shortened if used to this depth of discharge. The high allowable depth of discharge is one of the key reasons why the Enphase AC Battery is so compact in size compared to other technologies.

The Enphase AC Battery has a warranty of 10 years and 7,300 cycles. That’s 2 cycles every day for 10 years. By comparison the typical warranty on a high quality car battery is just 2 years.

Often battery prices are compared on the basis of dollars per unit of capacity (kWh). This is a valid method of comparison only if apples are being compared with apples. A DC battery price usually only includes the cost of the battery, and sometimes the battery management system (BMS). The Enphase AC Battery includes the BMS as well as a hybrid inverter and the interface with the integrated energy management system. Once these additional costs, and the ease of installation (it couldn’t be easier), performance and safety considerations are taken into consideration, the price indicated for the Enphase AC Battery represents excellent value for money.

So in summary, we believe the Enphase AC Battery will be hugely successful in the Australian marketplace when it is released in 2016 due to the following factors:

–   Flexible, modular and easy to install
–   Superior battery performance (and therefore economics) guaranteed by a single system manufacturer
–   Low entry cost – enabling high quality energy storage to be installed starting from the lowest cost.
–   Unmatched monitoring and integration with the Enphase solar generation and home energy management platform

Links to a great video on the Enphase Home Energy Solution and more technical information on the Enphase AC battery can be found here

If you would like to take advantage of this opportunity and be the first to offer the Enphase AC battery to your customers contact Australia’s largest Enphase Energy distributor, AC Solar Warehouse, and ask to be placed on our Enphase AC Battery mailing list. We will keep you up to date with the latest information on the Enphase Home Energy Solution and advise you as soon as we are able to commence accepting pre-orders for the Enphase AC Battery.

If you are a home or business owner interested in purchasing an Enphase Energy AC solar system or Enphase AC Battery we can put you in touch with a local, trained and qualified installer. Click here

AC Solar Warehouse   1300 55 44 67