Enphase Microinverters: An Independent Review by Solar Choice

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Note: Solar Choice is not a solar installer and has no financial or other incentives to promote any product brand over another.

Overview of Enphase Energy – Company History

Founded in March 2006 by Raghu Belur and Martin Fornage, Enphase Energy made a pioneering move in California, United States, by becoming the first microinverter manufacturer globally. Their innovation journey began in June 2008 with the introduction of the world’s first microinverter system. Fast forward to the end of 2022, and Enphase’s impressive track record includes shipping over 42 million inverters and deploying more than 2 million Enphase systems worldwide, according to their website.

Expanding its global footprint, Enphase entered the Australian market in 2012 and celebrated its NASDAQ launch the same year. Innovation is at the heart of Enphase’s ethos, a commitment reflected in the opening of a new research and development facility in New Zealand in 2016. This focus on innovation has borne fruit, with Enphase securing 365 patents globally by the end of 2022.

June 2018 marked a significant milestone for Enphase with the announcement of their seventh-generation microinverter technology, the Enphase IQ Micro Inverter System. The latest advancement in their technology suite is the IQ 8 series, which started shipping in North America in 2021.

Enphase’s micro inverters, renowned for their design in the USA, are manufactured across various global locations, including China, India, Mexico, and Romania. The Australian operations of Enphase are headquartered in Melbourne, Victoria, further solidifying their presence in the global renewable energy sector.

A Brief Rundown on Solar Inverters

A solar system’s inverter is the point at which the DC electricity produced by solar panels is turned into grid-compatible AC electricity. There are four types of solar inverters, these being string inverters, hybrid inverters, microinverters, and power optimisers.

How Do Microinverters Work?

Conventional systems have only 1 centralised inverter for the entire solar panel array, microinverter systems couple a microinverter with each solar panel. Systems that use microinverters have a number of potential advantages over conventional systems in terms of system design flexibility, ease of installation, installation costs, and system power yields. Accordingly, such systems are growing in popularity, numbers, and affordability.

Some of the general advantages of a microinverter system over a conventional system include:

-Greater system power yields, especially in cases of partial shading of the solar panel array compared to conventional systems that have ‘strings’ of solar panels

Enphase Partial Shading

The microinverter advantage in partially shaded conditions. (Image via Enphase Energy.)

-Remove potentially more dangerous outgoing high-voltage DC electricity associated with conventional solar photovoltaic (PV) systems

-Individual solar panel power production can be monitored in detail–greater peace of mind for system owners and greater ease in troubleshooting in the event of a problem

Microinverters can also be integrated into solar panels themselves instead of attached to mounting (a “detached” arrangement). Installation of systems that are comprised of these “AC solar modules” are considerably more straight-forward than the panel + microinverter set-up.

What is PV Evolution Labs Top Performer?

PV Evolution Labs (PVEL) with support from DNV GL has been independently testing Solar Panel reliability since 2014, and for the first time in 2019 have tested solar inverters. It is a voluntary test which manufacturers have to pay to be a part of.  The solar panel testing is considered internationally as an excellent indication of solar panel quality. It’s expected that the inverter testing will have the same recognition. To read the full PVEL scorecard click here.

Enphase did not rank in any of these tests.

Enphase Inverters – Points of Difference

Enphase stands out in the solar energy market as a leading and highly respected manufacturer, especially renowned for their micro inverters. Their reputation for premium quality places them at the top of the inverter industry. What sets Enphase micro inverters apart are several distinctive features:

  1. Compatibility with Various Solar Panels: Enphase micro inverters boast remarkable versatility. They are designed to work seamlessly with a wide array of solar panel brands and models. This compatibility ensures that solar system designers have the flexibility to pair Enphase micro inverters with almost any solar panel on the market, optimizing system design and efficiency.
  2. Advanced Monitoring Capabilities: One of the most significant advantages of Enphase micro inverters is their enhanced monitoring solution. Unlike traditional systems that only monitor the overall output, Enphase systems allow for the monitoring of individual solar panels. This granular level of detail aids in quickly identifying and addressing any faults, ensuring optimal performance and longevity of the solar system.
  3. Extended Warranty with IQ8: The introduction of Enphase’s IQ8 product marks a significant leap in their commitment to quality and reliability. The IQ8 comes with an industry-leading standard warranty of 15 years in Australia, which is extendable up to 25 years for an additional cost. This extended warranty reflects Enphase’s confidence in the enhanced quality and durability of their latest generation model.

Enphase’s focus on compatibility, advanced monitoring, and extended warranty offerings position their micro inverters as a premium choice for solar system installations, reflecting their commitment to innovation and customer satisfaction in the renewable energy sector.

Enphase Envoy & Enlighten

Envoy is Enphase’s home energy solution; this is the software that connects the user to their solar system. It provides bi-direction communication between the microinverters and the internet.

Enphase Enlighten enables the user to monitor their system’s health and microinverter performance at an individual solar module level, through a website platform and mobile application.

Enphase Micro Inverter Technologies

Enphase currently has 9 micro inverters approved by the Clean Energy Council in Australia under the name “Enphase Energy Australia Pty Ltd”. This is a requirement to be eligible for the federal STC solar rebate.

Enphase currently only offers their IQ 7 series micro inverters for residential and commercial solutions in the Australian market. However, the IQ 8 series is currently only available in some countries, and it is anticipated that this latest product will soon be introduced to the Australian market.

IQ 7 Series

The Enphase IQ 7 Series is the 7th generation of the product series to be released in the past 10 years. This high-quality range of micro inverters has a low failure rate along with a EU Efficiency of 96.5% which is excellent for a micro inverter solution. 

The Enphase IQ 7 Series Micro Inverters were shown to produce 1% to 3.1% more energy than string inverters in an independent study conducted by PV Evolution Labs.

The IQ 7 series consists of several sub-series, each with slightly different specifications:

  • IQ 7: This is the standard model of the IQ 7 series and can handle solar panels with up to 350 watts of power.
  • IQ 7+ : This sub-series has all the features of the IQ 7 model, but with the ability to handle solar panels with up to 440 watts of power.
  • IQ 7X: This sub-series is designed for high-power solar panels, with a maximum output power of 320 watts and the ability to handle solar panels with up to 460 watts of power.
  • IQ 7A: This sub-series is designed for use in regions with frequent grid instability and can operate in both grid-connected and off-grid modes. It can handle solar panels with up to 425 watts of power.

IQ 8 Series

Enphase 2

The Enphase IQ8 micro inverter series is the latest and most advanced line of micro inverters. Enphase has stepped up the warranty on these micro inverters to 15 years as standard with the optional paid extension to 25 years.

The IQ8AC model has an output rating of either 360W or 380W, meaning they are suited to being paired with solar panels rated from 350W to 505W. This is well-suited for residential solar panels, but some commercial solar panels are now reaching 550W and above.

The IQ8 series is designed to be paired with Enphase’s battery solution and can work in grid-tied and off-grid scenarios, meaning it can now provide back-up power during a blackout. The new models also feature grid-forming capability which is newly emerging and can help restart the grid during a black out. This could mean in the future they may be able to participate in a Virtual Power Plant or scheme which could generate additional savings for system owners.

Enphase Inverter Costs

Indicative pricing

Enphase IQ Series Micros IQ7+ 290VA Microinverter $140 to $160
Enphase IQ Series Micros IQ7 240VA Microinverter$120 to $140

Keep in mind that inverter costs generally only run between 10-20% of your total system, so often it is worth investing in a high-quality inverter given this will have a large impact on the efficiency and performance of your Solar Power project.

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Enphase Microinverter Battery Compatibility

The only significant limitation of Enphase Microinverters is in regard to battery storage. Microinverters aren’t compatible with the majority of solar batteries as they are DC coupled, this is because of microinverters output AC power.

However, Enphase Microinverters are able to be utilised with the popular AC batteries, the Tesla Powerwall 2, and the sonnenBatterie hybrid 9.53. Enphase also offers a CEC approved battery, the AC Battery is unique in the Australian market in that it is very small and completely modular: A single unit (weighing 23kg) stores 1.2kWh of usable energy.

The AC Battery is definitely a battery for grid-connected solar systems: it is not capable of providing backup power in the event of a blackout and is not appropriate for off-grid solar systems.

Enphase’s Warranty Offer for Australian Customers

In Australia, all CEC approved IQ 7 series Enphase micro inverters come with a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty, which is longer than most inverters on the market. Customers have the option of purchasing an extendable warranty of up to 15, 20, or 25 years. The new IQ 8 series comes with a standard 15-year warranty that can also be extended to 20 or 25 years. 

Enphase also has an office in 88 Market Street, South Melbourne with local support staff, which can be helpful in the event that a customer needs to make a warranty claim or receive technical support. 

In the case of product failure, customers can also reach out to Enphase’s customer support via the contact details provided on their website or simply below:

https://enphase.com/en-au/support   +61 1800 006 374 (Australia)We consider this to be one of the best inverter warranties available on the Australian market.

Click for more details about Australian Enphase’s Warranty Documentation.

Enphase MicroInverters Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Individual panel level monitoring and fault detection
  • Improves systems resilience to shading and can improve system performance by 1-3.1% according to PV Evolution Labs
  • Australian office in Melbourne with local support staff

Cons

  • One of the most expensive inverter solutions on the market
  • Not ability to connect to a DC battery without an additional inverter

Enphase Microinverter Specifications

 Enphase IQ 7A Enphase IQ 7+Enphase IQ 7X
Peak Output Power 366VA295VA320VA
Maximum Continuous Output Current349VA290VA315VA
Maximum DC Voltage58V60V79.5V
EU Weighted Inverter Efficiency96.5%96.5%96.5%
Dimensions with Safety Switch/Connection Unit212 x 175 x 30.2 mm212 x 175 x 30.2 mm212 x 175 x 30.2 mm
Weight1.08kg1.08kg1.08kg
Warranty10 years10 years10 years
Operational Temperature Range-40°C to 60°C -40°C to 65°C -40°C to 60°C
Made inNorth America/AsiaNorth America/AsiaNorth America/Asia

So, Should I Buy Enphase Micro Inverters?

If you have shading impacts on your roof, then the additional cost of Enphase micro inverters compared to standard string inverters will likely pay for itself in the first couple of years. In these circumstances we would definitely recommend Enphase or a power optimised solution like SolarEdge.

Additionally if you are willing to pay a bit more to get a premium solution then Enphase is also a great option as one of the highest quality and most reliable solutions on the market. The micro inverters will offer a slight performance improvement and are also backed by a very comprehensive warranty policy which is supported by their Australian office.

One consideration is Enphase’s compatibility with batteries. Enphase micro inverters can’t be connected to most DC batteries without the installation of an additional inverter. Enphase do sell their own batteries but installing Enphase may limit your options if you are saving the battery purchase til later down the track.

Example of an Enphase Commercial Solar Project

Enphase Energy played a crucial role in a notable commercial solar project at the Richmond Football Club’s headquarters, the ME Bank Centre, located in Melbourne. Metro Solar, a prominent solar solutions provider, undertook this ambitious project, installing a substantial 100kW solar system. The choice of technology was pivotal for the success of this installation:

  1. Enphase M215 Microinverters: The use of Enphase M215 Microinverters was a strategic decision. These microinverters are known for their efficiency and reliability, crucial for a project of this scale. Their ability to optimize the performance of each solar module individually contributed significantly to the system’s overall efficiency.
  2. Yingli 250W Solar Modules: The system incorporated Yingli 250W Solar Modules, which are known for their high quality and performance. The combination of these modules with Enphase’s microinverters ensured a powerful and efficient solar setup.
  3. Maximized Energy Harvest: Metro Solar, leveraging Enphase’s technology, designed the system specifically to capture maximum solar harvest. This was particularly important for the facility, which has a large baseload, predominantly consumed during daylight hours.
  4. Increased Performance and Savings: The Enphase microinverters enabled the system to generate additional power during low-light conditions, such as early mornings and dusk. This extended generation time significantly increased overall savings for the Richmond Football Club, demonstrating the effectiveness of Enphase’s technology in optimizing solar energy utilization.

This project is a testament to how Enphase’s microinverter technology can enhance the performance and financial benefits of solar installations, especially in commercial settings with significant energy requirements.

Richmond Football Club Enphase Inverters

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Jeff Sykes

Reviews from Australians who have installed Enphase Inverters

Rated 4.91 from 44 reviews
16th February 2024
ACT - 2913
10kW system
5.00

Microinverter technology chosen to mitigate uneven light / charge concerns. Initial issue connecting to the management software was rectified next business day and has not given any problems since. App is excellent for monitoring output real time and longitudinally and helps guide responsible energy use.

15th February 2024
NSW - 2566
10-15kW system
5.00

6th February 2024
NSW - 2540
5kW system
4.00

Happy until this point now that I have a fault and are having trouble finding a repairer

2nd February 2024
NSW - 2303
6kW system
5.00

App is fantastic - easy to use , nots of info, easy to read and understand

21st January 2024
QLD - 4074
5kW system
5.00

The inverters are still performing well, the Enphase app is still better than others I have seen.

20th January 2024
NSW - 2114
6kW system
5.00

I love the Enphase app where I can see how each individual panel or the whole array are performing, and can see imports and exports of electricity and the charge level of my battery.

15th January 2024
NSW - 2753
9kW system
5.00

Extremely pleased with the performance of the 22 x Enphase IQ8AC microinverters, which form a good photovoltaic package with the Trina solar panels.

8th January 2024
Rob
QLD - 4122
10-15kW system
5.00

28th December 2023
Scott
NSW - 2323
8kW system
5.00

Seems to be still good after 2 1/2 years

12th December 2023
Colin
VIC - 3122
5kW system
5.00

Micro inverters installed enabling future increases in capacity if needed

2nd December 2023
Richard
ACT - 2603
5kW system
5.00

2nd December 2023
Mark
VIC - 3193
5kW system
5.00

1st December 2023
Pradyumn
WA - 6060
7kW system
5.00

Amazing I only wish I had installed batteries I don't think I would have paid more than $10 in electrical bills since installation but Enphase did not have their batteries rolled out yet.

14th November 2023
Peter
VIC - 3931
6kW system
5.00

As having Enphase before I have found their product to be very reliable and great warranty backup.

5th October 2023
Jim
NSW - 2280
7kW system
5.00

Our purchase of this brand was influenced by discussion with three different solar sales teams.

7th September 2023
Olivier
ACT - 2611
8kW system
5.00

Enphase are one of the best micro-inverters on the market. They have been working perfectly and I love the Enlighten Manager access I have (can see very detailed data from each panel). The phone app is also great. Only complaint is my older generation Enphase Envoy gateway doesn't support "live data". Newer models do support this feature. I get around this by pointing my web browser at the local IP of the Envoy and get the live data from there.

24th July 2023
Matthew
NSW - 2120
5kW system
5.00

Really great. Nice data -- by panel -- allows me to really see how my system is performing.

6th July 2023
Asim
-
6kW system
5.00

Excellent

1st July 2023
Joseph
NSW - 2097
4kW system
5.00

No comment - seems to perform as expected

29th June 2023
Bernie
-
10-15kW system
5.00

15th June 2023
Mark
QLD - 4881
4kW system
5.00

Good

23rd May 2023
Lee
-
8kW system
5.00

These micro inverters were highly recommended to us by Johna

22nd May 2023
Craig
SA - 5007
8kW system
5.00

Because of the less than ideal orientation of the solar panels I decided to have Enphase micro-inverters installed on each panel so that each panel operated at the optimum output independently of shading etc of other panels in the system unlike systems where panels are installed in a “string”

21st May 2023
John
QLD - 4213
6kW system
5.00

Enphase Micro-Inverters have been flawless so far on each panel.

17th May 2023
David
NSW - 2076
6kW system
5.00

Enphase provide an excellent app to monitor performance. Very impressed.

12th May 2023
Norm
NSW - 2250
4kW system
5.00

26th April 2023
Peter
-
5kW system
5.00

Microinverters seem to be working very well. The information provided for production per panel, total consumption and export are the highlight of this system and are very useful to understand how the system is working and provides valuable data for sizing of a battery addition.

23rd April 2023
Ian
NSW - 2317
5kW system
5.00

Zero problems apart from occasionally losing the WiFi connection, which is easily fixed by either waiting for them to reconnect automatically or manually resetting the system. We got Enphase microinverters partly to minimise shading losses, partly for safety (AC-coupled), partly for redundancy and partly for their monitoring software. They haven't missed a beat in the two years since installation and the software is reliable, easy to use and very helpful in managing power consumption. We also installed a CatchPower Green hot water system power diverter, a low-cost way to increase self-consumption. It has also not missed a beat and after 2 years is halfway to paying for itself. In another two years it starts helping to shorten the payback time on the rest of the system. We hope to get an Enphase battery soon - the new range is due for release in May 2023.

21st April 2023
William
WA - 6149
5kW system
5.00

good so far see how it is in several years

28th March 2023
Nick
NSW - 2577
6kW system
5.00

One micro invertor failure in first 6 months replaced under warranty at no cost. Actually diagnosed from the handy phone app. & replacement completed whilst we were 5,000km away from the house!

15th March 2023
Craig
NSW - 2105
10kW system
5.00

Enjoy the available data provided by the app and also through to the local API to my home automation system. Neat with minimal wiring.

14th March 2023
Steve
QLD - 4020
9kW system
5.00

None

21st February 2023
Alex
VIC - 3186
6kW system
5.00

Used micro inverters and it was great to see the rep from Enphase onsite first day of install

20th December 2022
Brendan
QLD - 4154
10kW system
2.00

Feedback from Sure Solar is that they installed EnPhase inverters that are not compliant with Australian Standards.

8th November 2022
Nigel
SA - 5072
10-15kW system
5.00

This is reason we changed and so far, very happy. Pic of Enphase control box attached.

21st September 2022
David
VIC - 3104
6kW system
5.00

19th August 2022
Keith
QLD - 4209
6kW system
5.00

Micro inverters were best option as half array faces east and half faces west. Took advice from QCS in deciding.

3rd June 2022
Nick
-
6kW system
5.00

LOVE the Enphase monitoring app.

18th May 2022
Geordie
VIC - 3011
5kW system
5.00

Have them on another house Very good

11th February 2022
Rosh
NSW - 2154
6kW system
5.00

17th August 2021
Regina
-
10kW system
5.00

Can't beat the Enphase for quality and safety

10th June 2021
Geoff
QLD - 4075
10-15kW system
5.00

So far so good. Reporting app is pretty good.

1st April 2021
Denis
VIC - 3150
8kW system
5.00

Seem to be working well. Went with microinverters on each panel to optimize system performance.

24th February 2021
Anthony
NSW - 2285
6kW system
5.00

Chose Enphase micro-inverters IQ7A due to roof shading in late afternoon, with Envoy-S metering and monitoring. Allows both consumption and production monitoring. Very happy with performance, with all microinverters producing power from about 20 minutes after sunrise until just before sunset. The first fully sunny day produced 40.2 kWh (in late February 2021).