Enphase AC battery: the complete review
Last updated 3/6/2018
Enphase Energy is a California-based solar equipment manufacturer best known for making microinverters. Now, the company has introduced a home energy storage solution, which includes a solar battery paired with an Enphase microinverter.
But how does the Enphase AC Battery measure up against other home energy storage options? Read on to learn more about the Enphase Storage System's technology, cost, and warranty coverage.
What is the Enphase Storage System?
The Enphase AC battery system pairs with a solar panel installation to store energy at home, manage your energy costs, and provide backup power. It offers 1.2 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy storage, and you can install it with a new solar panel system or add it to an existing solar panel system with Enphase microinverters.
How does the Enphase AC Battery work?
The Enphase home battery is an ideal pairing for solar panel systems, especially if your utility has reduced or no net metering, time-of-use rates, or demand charges. Installing a solar storage solution like the Enphase battery allows you to store solar power at home for you to use later when electricity is more expensive.
As with other energy storage products, the Enphase AC battery is sized for day-to-day use at your home, and is usually installed alongside a home solar panel system. You can store your solar energy at home in the Enphase battery pack instead of sending it back into the electric grid. Later, you can use the electricity stored in your Enphase home battery instead of having to buy it from your utility.
How is the Enphase Storage System different from other home batteries?
The Enphase Storage System is smaller than other home batteries like the Tesla Powerwall and Sonnen eco. It isn’t designed to take you off the grid or provide backup power. Instead, it can be used to increase your “self-consumption” of solar energy throughout the day, which can reduce your electric bills if your utility has time-of-use (TOU) rates or demand charges.
Places with time-of-use (TOU) electricity rates, such as California, have electricity prices that vary throughout the day. When your electricity rates are higher (typically in the mid-to-late afternoon), you can use the energy stored in your battery instead of buying from the utility.
Utilities in Arizona and Massachusetts are starting to roll out demand charges for homeowners. Demand charges are higher if you draw a lot of electricity from the grid at once. If you have an Enphase battery to store energy on-site, you can reduce the amount of energy you need from the grid, which can save you money.
Installing a solar-plus-storage system at your home is a great way to take control of your electricity bill, but it doesn’t mean that you’re completely disconnected from your utility. Going "off the grid" with solar and batteries is actually a more expensive and complicated proposition than you might think, and the Enphase home battery can’t store enough energy to power your home for days on end.
What warranties come with the Enphase battery system, and how long does the battery last?
The Enphase AC Battery system comes with a 10-year warranty. If the battery packs malfunction during that time, the product is eligible for replacement under Enphase’s battery warranty.
Enphase’s lithium ion battery technology is similar to other rechargeable batteries both large and small: as time goes on, the battery loses some of its ability to hold a charge. Think of how the battery life of a brand-new smartphone compares to one that is a few years old. As you continually charge and drain your phone’s battery, it starts to lose some of its ability to hold a charge.
The life of your Enphase will deteriorate in the same way. That isn’t an indicator of a product flaw – all batteries lose some of their ability to hold a charge over time, whether it’s an electric vehicle battery, a home energy battery, or a rechargeable AA battery.
In addition to the 10-year replacement warranty, Enphase also guarantees that your battery will maintain at least 80 percent of its capacity at the end of 10 years.
How much does the Enphase AC battery cost?
The installed cost for the Enphase battery depends on the specifics of your home, as well as your location, taxes, and available incentives. Because it’s smaller than other home batteries, it’s also much less expensive to install. A typical Enphase AC battery costs between $2,500 and $3,500.
If you want to install the Enphase battery as part of a solar-plus-storage system, battery costs are just one part of the equation. An average 5 kilowatt (kW) solar energy system costs anywhere from $8,500 to $16,000 depending on where you live and the type of equipment you choose. That may sound like a lot of money, but installing a solar-plus-storage system can be a worthwhile investment.
Solar battery economics depend on a few different factors. Whether or not Enphase’s home storage solution makes sense for you is determined by the way that your electric utility structures its rates, the size of your solar system, how much you value backup power, and your reasons for installing a solar battery.
In some cases, depending on where you live, you may have access to financial incentives that can reduce your home energy storage installation costs. If you live in California, you could get a cash rebate worth up to $400 per kWh to cover a portion of your home battery costs through the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). (You can find the most current SGIP incentives at the Center for Sustainable Energy website.)
Other states (such as Massachusetts) are in the early stages of evaluating potential energy storage incentives as well. Most recently, Maryland established a solar battery tax credit worth up to $5,000 ($75,000 for commercial projects).
Home energy storage is a relatively new product area, and the cost of installing a battery can be high for some homeowners. If you’re thinking about going solar but don’t want to invest in a battery just yet, you can ask your solar installer to design a "storage ready" solar system with an inverter that is intended to be used with a battery. That way, if you decide to install one down the line, you won’t have to overhaul your system.
Where to buy the Enphase AC Battery
Enphase has an installer network that spans the United States. Whether you want to install an Enphase AC battery or other home battery pack, you will need to work through a certified installer. Adding energy storage technology to your home is a complicated process that requires electrical expertise, certifications, and knowledge of the best practices required to install a solar-plus-storage system correctly.
A qualified EnergySage-approved company can give you the best recommendation about the Enphase home battery and other energy storage options available to homeowners today. If you are interested in receiving competing installation quotes for solar and energy storage options from local installers near you, simply join the EnergySage Solar Marketplace today and indicate what products you’re interested in your profile’s preferences section.