Enphase Enters Solar Space With A Battery Storage And Energy Management System

The Enphase AC battery and energy management system will optimise residential and commercial solar power consumption.
Published: Fri 24 Oct 2014

Micro inverter innovator Enphase Energy has announced its entrance in the commercial and home energy storage market - the Enphase AC Battery is an advanced energy storage solution with a modular, plug-and-play storage device that integrates with the Enphase Energy Management System.

Based on a distributed architecture, the AC Battery is a safe, reliable and easy-to-install storage solution, designed for residential and commercial applications. According to Enphase, it only takes one person to hang the 16-inch-wide battery on the wall of a garage. The modular battery enables system owners with the ability to store solar energy for night-time or future use. This aim is to optimise solar power consumption and improve owners’ energy independence.

Each 40-pound AC Battery will provide 1.2kWh of energy storage and 275W/550W power-output and additional modules can be easily added.

“It provides benefits for the system owner, while also helping with grid stability,” said Raghu Belur, co-founder and vice president of products and strategic initiatives at Enphase. ” We are bringing the same technological innovation to storage that we brought to solar, by pairing our innovative distributed architecture with the best-in-class battery chemistry in the industry.”

Innovative storage solution

Japanese battery manufacturer ELIIY Power, backed by Daiwa House (a large Japananese homebuilder), has been selected as the chemistry provider for Enphase AC Battery. “The combination of our leading battery technology with Enphase’s leading power electronics creates a truly innovative storage solution,” said Hiroichi Yoshida, president of ELIIY Power.

According to Belur, Enphase chose ELIIY Power's lithium-iron-phosphate battery, a chemistry known for its safe operation which is also used by battery vendor A123. Paul Nahi, Enphase’s CEO, says that ELIIY is "extremely cost-competitive.” And Belur noted that “with all due respect”, he is very surprised by the high prices being quoted for batteries from companies like Tesla or SolarCity.

Partnership with Japanese company ELIIY Power may give Enphase access to the Japanese solar PV market. [Engerati – Japan Introduces Energy Storage Subsidy] and [Engerati- Off-Grid Trend is Growing in Japan.]

Other elements of the complete Enphase Energy Management System include Enphase micro-inverters. A major advantage of micro-inverters is that the failure of a single unit means only the output of the module it is associated with is lost rather than the entire string. The microinverter also allows for panel level monitoring.

Monitoring and controlling the battery

The Enphase Envoy is also part of the complete Enphase energy storage system. It’s a communications gateway that provides network access to the solar array; enabling comprehensive monitoring and management of an Enphase system.

The battery can also be monitored and controlled via the Enphase Enlighten software interface. For solar installers, Enlighten Manager streamlines operations and maintenance processes of an entire system. For solar power system owners, MyEnlighten displays energy production, system health and environmental benefits.

As part of the AC Battery rollout, Enphase has engaged several installation companies for pilot projects, including Lennar Homes, Hawaii Energy Connection and Vivint Solar in the U.S.; Pretty Green Energy, CJ Electric and Domuneo in Europe; and Metro Solar in Australia.

Residential rate structures do not make it easy for energy storage to be economically viable currently in the US. As a result, Enphase will be looking at international markets such as Australia to begin developing the business.

The complete Enphase Energy Management System, including the Enphase AC Battery, will be available in the second half of 2015.