Enphase Solar Inverter Review
In my opinion, the most significant disadvantage of microinverters is the chance that they will start to break down one by one – and each replacement requires climbing on the roof and messing with the installation. Enphase convinces, like no other company, that there is nothing to be afraid of.
If you care about safety, reliability, and peace of mind and can afford to spend more on installation, consider Enphase. If you also have a complicated roof, small and with shading elements, Enphase is something created for your needs.
What is Enphase?
Enphase is an American company that produces microinverters and everything related to them. They cooperate with LG, SunPower, and other demanding customers. Over 34,000,000 microinverters of this brand have been sold in almost 1.5 million homes. They have 300 patents and have been on the market since 2006—pioneers and leaders in microinverter development.
Microinverters are truly reliable when they operate for many years without failure. Factory Warranty: Enphase offers the best warranty for microinverters and optimizers. It lasts 25 years, during which time you will receive a new, compatible device in case of failure. To make it even better, for the first 2 years, the warranty also covers installation and shipping costs.
Is two years of complete protection a lot or a little? We think it’s enough. You must know that electronic equipment most often breaks down right at the beginning of use due to manufacturing errors, or after the warranty, due to wear. That’s why the first two years of use are critical and a two-year warranty without any stress is an excellent offer.
Let us add that the industry standard is a 12-year warranty only at the cost of the equipment. Enphase goes far beyond the standard.
1. IQ Envoy module warranty – IQ Envoy, used to monitor installations, has a 5-year warranty (shipping and installation costs are also reimbursed for two years). 5 years is much less than 25, so the cost of replacing this element must be included in the Enphase installation cost estimate. This is a required part of the installation.
Premium ceiling series inverters can also operate for 25 years but require proper servicing and associated costs.
2. Emergency replacement – On the other hand, the problem with microinverters is that to replace them, you have to climb onto the roof and dismantle part of the installation. However, Enphase does everything it can to make this process easier. With their system, you can remotely determine which device has a problem and what has failed – the microinverter or the module. Microinverters are never repaired, only replaced with new ones. The visit, therefore, comes down to one service visit.
Impact on the reliability of photovoltaic modules
Microinverters reduce the voltage and current that flows through individual cells. This means that even shaded cells do not suffer from high temperatures or are disconnected by shunt diodes, translating into a longer service life in these challenging conditions.
Under normal conditions, however, the benefits of better protection of the modules must be added to the risk of failure of the microinverter itself.
The question remains: if you have shade, should you invest in Enphase or other microinverters? Well, module brands that offer a 25-year warranty on the performance of their modules only work with Enphase. These are, among others:
SunPower AC modules
LG AC modules
“AC modules” are modules with a built-in microinverter. There are many indications that Enphase is the most reliable microinverter in the world. They also affect the reliability of photovoltaic modules.
Efficiency is the efficiency of inverters in converting direct current into alternating current. As you can see, Enphase achieves the highest efficiency among microinverters. It is also visible that Enphase does not produce microwaves with higher power for 2 or 4 modules.
They adhere to the principle of one module, one microinverter – without compromise. This fact additionally increases the efficiency of the entire installation, which requires additional discussion.
Optimization at the module level
In standard solar panel installations, photovoltaic modules interact, and each module acts as the weakest module. It sounds terrible, but in reality, it is not that bad because shunt diodes turn off those modules that work much worse than others. However, they cannot prevent a slightly weaker or shaded module from negatively affecting others.
Microinverters, on the other hand, do this perfectly. According to NREL design guidelines, optimization of each microinverter module:
1. They eliminate module mismatch losses – which increases profits by approximately 2% in the first year, with the mismatch increasing in subsequent years.
2. It reduces the losses related to shading by approximately 30% – and here, the profits depend on the amount of shading. For a standard installation, one without a daily source of shade, efficiency increases by 1% per year.
3. It can reduce troubleshooting losses
Total independence – with micro inverters, you can install six modules in 3 directions without any losses. This is impossible with series inverters and not always possible with optimizers. If you have a complicated, small roof, microinverters are for you.
A reliable manufacturer will honor its warranty obligations if its products stop working for any reason. It should also provide good customer service.
1. Company size and history: Enphase has been on the market since 2006, and its products are known on all major photovoltaic markets.
2. Financial stability – Enphase achieves excellent financial results even though the pandemic has not changed. Most of the competition is far below.
Enphase microinverters are very good and relatively expensive. So it can be considered a profitable choice. If you are wondering whether it is worth investing in microinverters at all, ask yourself two questions:
Or regular shade in the place of future installation?
Am I willing to pay more for greater installation security?
If you answer a resounding yes to any of these questions, then microinverters are a cost-effective solution for you.
When deciding whether to invest in Enphase or competitor microwaves, ask yourself:
Do I want a better solution in 15 years or 25 years?
If you want a better solution over 25 years, Enphase is your option.
A photovoltaic installation may pose a fire hazard in two ways: it may cause ignition, and if the cause of ignition is something else, it may intensify the fire and make firefighting more difficult.
How does Enphase protect against ignition of the installation? Generally, a properly installed photovoltaic installation will not burst into flame on its own, and even if it did, there is a good chance that the flame will be extinguished.
However, Enphase microinverters further reduce this risk because each module operates separately, so much lower low voltage current flows through the cells. The energy produced by the entire installation does not reach the house in a direct current stream but in alternating current, which is much less prone to sparking.
How Enphase protects against the spread of fire and facilitates firefighting – if the fire brigade or you disconnect your house from the electricity, the photovoltaic installation will stop working. Disconnected photovoltaic modules will not fuel the fire or prevent the fire brigade from flooding the house with liters of water.
Enphase microinverters – individual series
There are many varieties of Enphase microwaves. Here, we will look at the most common ones.
1. Enphase IQ7, IQ7+, IQ7X and IQ7A
Optimization at the module level. European efficiency is 96.5%. Monitoring. High safety – protects against the spread of fire. The IQ7+, IQ7X, and IQ7A varieties differ in the module’s power to which they can be connected.
2. Enphase IQ8
It differs from IQ7 in that it can operate in off-grid mode.
In the distributed Enphase system, Envoy is the element that connects the entire installation at one point. It manages communication and monitoring, analyzes production, enables remote improvement, and sends software updates to microinverters. And now the sad news – its warranty is only five years.