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Product Review: Enphase Battery Storage System

by Barry Cinnamon (June 14, 2017) www.greentechmedia.com

Product Review: Enphase Battery Storage System

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, homeowners 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 includes a 1.2-kilowatt-hour lithium-iron-phosphate battery and a 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-tied 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.

Conclusion

Enphase has a comparatively good track record for releasing stable, well-engineered and well-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.

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Solar & Storage Could Save Thousands For Multifamily Affordable Rental Housing

by Joshua S. Hill (May24, 2016) planetsave.com

Rental Solar 03

A new report shows how the combination of solar and storage could save residents of multifamily affordable rental housing thousands on electricity bills.

DSC_0916According to the authors of Closing the California Clean Energy Divide, which explores how battery storage technology combined with residential solar PV could provide greater control to system owners, “significant electric bill savings” could be in the offing to both property owners and residents of multifamily affordable rental housing in California. The authors also highlighted the increased potential in light of the recently enacted Assembly Bill 693, which established California’s Multifamily Affordable Housing Solar Roofs Program, including provision of up to $1 billion in cap-and-trade funding over 10 years to create incentives for installing solar PV.

The report, authored by the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE), California Housing Partnership, and the Clean Energy Group, reached several conclusions:

  • Adding battery storage to an affordable rental housing solar installation in California can eliminate demand charges for building electricity loads, resulting in a net electricity bill of essentially zero
  • Adding battery storage to California affordable rental housing can almost double the building electricity bill savings achieved over the savings realized through solar alone
  • Adding battery storage can achieve incremental utility bill savings similar to solar for about a third of the cost of the solar system for owners of affordable rental housing properties in California
  • Solar+storage projects result in a significantly shorter payback period than stand-alone solar projects

Specifically, the report found that affordable multifamily housing property owners in two specific territories — Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electriccould increase savings by nearly 100% simply by adding storage to solar installations.

“Our analysis, which is based on data from real buildings, shows that adding battery storage to a solar PV system installed on an affordable housing property in Southern California could increase the annual savings on a property owner’s electricity bill to 99 percent, which is nearly double the savings of what a solar-alone system can provide,” said Seth Mullendore, a program manager at Clean Energy Group.

“California has invested heavily to ensure qualified low-income properties have had equal access to our growing solar market,” added Sachu Constantine, CSE director of policy. “But recent changes to the critical underlying rates and tariffs may compromise the value proposition of solar for affordable housing residents and owners unless we find a way to include the combination of energy storage and solar in the Solar Roofs program.”

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