Enphase launches microgrid-forming microinverter line

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Enphase Energy has announced the North American launch of the Enphase Energy System with IQ8 solar microinverters.

Enphase IQ8+ Image: Enphase

The IQ8 microinverter line represents a technological advancement for the company’s microinverter technology, as each is capable of forming a microgrid during a power outage using only sunlight, providing backup power without a battery.

The IQ8product line includes five models of software-defined microinverters: IQ8, IQ8+, IQ8M, IQ8A and IQ8H, with peak output AC power of 245VA, 300VA, 330VA, 366VA and 384VA, respectively.

With the IQ8’s microgrid-forming capability, Enphase has expanded the number of possible configurations of the Enphase Energy System from three to four:

  1. Solar Only, a grid-tied, standard solar installation where excess energy can be sold back to the utility
  2. Sunlight Backup, a grid-agnostic systems capable of providing limited backup with no additional battery needed
  3. Home Essentials Backup, a grid-agnostic system with a small battery, providing more comprehensive outage backup for refrigerators and other essential appliances
  4. Full Energy Independence a grid-agnostic system with a large battery, capable of islanding the home for extended periods of time and continuing operation of appliances, including non-essentials

“Many homeowners often assume their solar systems will function if the sun is shining, even during a power outage,” said Badri Kothandaraman, president and CEO of Enphase. “This has unfortunately not been true until today. Now, with IQ8, homeowners can realize the true promise of solar — to make and use their own power.”

The last three configurations all require an Enphase System Controller, called Enpower smart switch, to island the home during an outage. For homeowners seeking to retrofit a battery to their home solar system, IQ8 eases the commitment, allowing for any size Enphase battery to be paired with a solar system.

IQ8 pilot installations began in Q3 with select installer partners. Distributor and installer partners in North America can pre-order IQ8 starting today, with production shipments expected in December.

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