The team at Cinnamon Solar and Spice Solar have conducted a series of hands-on reviews of commercially available residential battery storage systems.
Reviews are based on the installation and usage of each system using commercially available products and software, provided by manufacturers. The intent is to provide useful real-world experiences to installers, home owners and manufacturers as behind-the-meter battery storage systems become more popular.
In the first review, we examine Enphase's AC battery.
The Enphase storage system is a modular AC-coupled battery storage system designed for residential customers with and without grid-tied solar power systems. Each modular battery is comprised of a 1.2 kilowatt-hour lithium-iron-phosphate battery and 280-watt inverter in a 55-pound indoor-rated wall mounted enclosure.
The Enphase storage system is ideal for customers who want to store their solar energy or inexpensive grid energy for consumption during peak electric periods. The equipment is relatively inexpensive and easy to install. Since the system is AC coupled, it does not require a PV system to operate, and is compatible with the entire installed base of grid-tie PV systems. Note that the Enphase AC storage system does not provide backup power.
The simplicity and modular nature of the Enphase storage system make it one of the most straightforward systems to design (with the Enphase AC battery sizing tool), install (with the Enphase installer toolkit phone app), operate (with the Enlighten web portal) and maintain.
Enphase is an established solar equipment supplier with a reputation for delivering good product and service quality.
Documentation, training and support
Enphase gets excellent grades when it comes to the design of the storage system. The modular nature of the system is inherently simple. Documentation is straightforward and comprehensive. Enphase provides regular regional training and webinars for their system.
Shipping and transportation
Large battery storage systems have special shipping requirements. The Enphase AC battery is UN 38.3 certified for shipping worldwide. Most common carriers can meet these requirements, including FedEx and UPS. Since the system is modular it can be carried by hand to the installation site.
Operation and maintenance
Once the system was installed and configured, operation is completely automatic. Note that it will be necessary for the customer (or installer) to update electric rates as they change.
Enphase has a comparatively good track record for releasing stable, well-engineered and documented products. We expect that the Enphase storage system will be one of the more reliable and user-friendly battery storage systems on the market. Since the complete system’s initial price point is relatively low and it works with all existing grid tied PV systems, the Enphase AC battery is an excellent entry level battery storage option.
Barry Cinnamon is the CEO of Spice Solar. To access the full review, including installation details, and technical specifications, visit Spice Solar's resource page.