Want to bring all the benefits of energy storage to your customers? Then we have some great news. The Enphase Storage System is now available from Enphase Authorized Distributors throughout the US.

Fully integrated with the Enphase Home Energy Solution, our energy storage technology offers the simplest and most cost-effective way to take full control of the energy homeowners produce and consume at home. How simple? One person can install and commission the entire system in two hours or less. How cost effective? The system ships in modular 1.2 kilowatt-hour units so homeowners purchase only the storage they need.

Many homeowners in California, Hawaii, and around the country are switching over to time-of-use utility tariffs that make energy storage a valuable home upgrade. Time-of-use tariffs apply different prices for electricity at different times. Customers in your area might have a high daytime rate when demand for electricity is high and a lower nighttime rate when system-wide consumption has gone down. Rates might also vary seasonally based on energy usage patterns in a particular community.

As an Enphase installer, you input data about local utility rates when commissioning the smart Enphase Storage System so the system maximizes the value of stored energy for your customers right from the start.

Enphase was first to market with a residential energy storage solution that holds UL certification for 2017 National Electrical Code standards. Like all Enphase technology, the storage system achieves industry-leading performance and safety.

Ready to get started? Contact your distributor to order the Enphase Storage System today. And check out the ‘Selling Enphase Storage’ webinar for great tips and information to making your Enphase storage business a success.

If you’re a homeowner, find a nearby installer using the Enphase Installer Network.

Finally, if you already have a few Enphase Storage System installs under your belt, now is a great time to share pictures of those installs with Enphase on social media. You can already see pictures and videos of recently completed installations of the Enphase Storage System on our Facebook page.

Thanks to a recent Enphase Envoy software update, you can now use MyEnlighten to configure your Enphase storage system to behave differently depending on your utility rate structure. This can further enhance the performance and economics of your storage system.

If your home is on a Single Rate tariff, you pay the same rate for electricity at all times of the day. If your batteries are configured for this kind of tariff, they will discharge whenever your home’s energy usage exceeds the amount of solar electricity produced on your roof, regardless of time of day.

If your home is on a Time of Use tariff, the rate you pay for electricity depends on the time of day. The rate is lowest during the 'off-peak' times of day, and there are one or more 'peak' periods when the rate is higher. If your batteries are configured for this kind of tariff, the Envoy controls their charge and discharge behavior to ensure that stored energy is saved for use when electricity cost is highest.

The rates in MyEnlighten can be further customized by weekend or weekday, in the event that you're paying less for electricty on Saturdays and Sundays. You can even indicate if the rate is different from season to season, such as a higher cost for electricity in the summer months than in the winter months. 

Once you’ve configured your storage system, MyEnlighten will display the rate structure in the daily energy graph on the overview screen, like in the picture below. Click on the $ icon in the upper right-hand corner of the graph to hide or display your utility rates.

Your solar installer can configure the Enphase Storage System at the time of installation using the Enphase Installer Toolkit. If you have questions about the setup or operation of your system, please contact your installer. 

Note: The information in this blog post is also available in the MyEnlighten help center

When Enphase set out to develop the IQ System, the sixth-generation microinverter system, we accepted a challenge to not only streamline the product for better performance within the smallest package yet but also to streamline the installation process for a quicker and more effective install. For a true measure of the intelligence built into the system, watch an install in action and note some of the ways we are revolutionizing the rooftop electrical install.

The IQ System saves time before you even reach the job site, simplifying inventory management, packing more lightweight microinverters per box to reduce trips up the ladder, and bundling cables so they can be easily slung over the shoulder. It helps that the two-wire Q Cable uses half the conductors and weighs 50 percent less than its predecessor, the trunk cable.

As the IQ System rolls out to distributors in the US and Canada, we credit the installers who have helped install over 13 million microinverters so far, providing critical feedback that Enphase has implemented in the latest evolution of the Enphase technology platform. None of this would be possible without you. Here are some of the ways IQ will improve your installation process.

IQ reduces electrical component parts count

One of the challenges of conventional solar installations is efficiently managing inventory of junction boxes, watertight compression fittings, and off-the-shelf conduit and conductors needed to link up sections of a rooftop array. Any shortage of small electrical components adds significant time to the job as crew members restock at the hardware store or back at the warehouse.

The IQ System replaces numerous electrical balance of system components with the Enphase Q-Aggregator supporting up to three branch circuits and accepting the same plug-and-play connectors that connect to the microinverters, making any connector a place to feed or branch off to another part of the system. Installers also have the option of using standard electrical components to transition branch circuits from the roof to the Enphase IQ Combiner Box with consolidated metering and networking equipment, including a preconfigured IQ Envoy communications gateway, at ground level. The IQ Combiner Box combines up to four electrical enclosures into one, eliminating the need for a separate subpanel, meter enclosure, Envoy enclosure, and AC disconnect, as well as all the hardware to connect these pieces together. (Look for an upcoming blog post about installation options to help you decide when to install with Q-Aggregator and when to use the IQ Combiner Box.)

IQ improves design flexibility

One of the inherent limitations of string inverter systems is the need to always complete a loop in the electrical design. With these DC power systems, there’s no opportunity to branch off to islanded arrays on complex rooftops or in response to on-the-fly design changes.

The field-wireable connectors in the IQ System allow for safe and simple connections from any open connector and the ability to center feed any section of cable up to a 20-amp limit allowing the system to be built as a tree with branches rather than a constricted linear design. The lighter two-wire Q Cable also makes it easier to handle wire management, whether that means fastening cable to rails or to the module frame using standard clips in a rail-less mounting system. To streamline the installation process even further, eliminating field wiring of the microinverter to the module, look for the introduction of  Enphase Energized AC Modules from multiple partners at your distributor this summer.

IQ enables faster commissioning

A new generation of Line to Line power line communications made it possible to remove the neutral conductor from the Enphase cabling system and results in new Envoys and Combiners for the IQ System. This, along with new embedded software, results in a notable improvement in microinverter detection during commissioning. Because the neutral line shares a circuit with other electrical devices in the house, devices that carry a lot of noise on the line, detection could take as long as 15-20 minutes. During beta testing, the IQ Envoy detected a full set of 20 microinverters in less than 5 minutes. Detection might not always be so fast, but we expect the new communications to cut the time in half.

All the process improvements in the IQ System build upon an industry-leading home energy solution that comes with built-in compliance for 2014 and 2017 NEC rapid shutdown requirements and advanced grid functionality that will be needed as utilities move to new standards this year. As grid conditions change, Enphase’s ability to report on each microinverter’s performance and remotely push firmware updates to the field will prevent the need for costly, time-consuming, and unnecessary truck rolls.

Energy consumption monitoring is not just a great way for homeowners to better understand their energy usage, it’s also a required element for home energy storage systems. For installers who are growing their business by offering their customers the Enphase Home Energy Solution, the Enphase Consumption Monitoring CT (current transformer) is the equipment that performs this important function. This is a new step in the installation process for some of our installer partners, and in this post we’ll answer some of the most common CT-related questions, like: can I install CTs without an electrical retrofit? (Good news, very often you can.) A little time spent building your best practices ahead of time will spare you and your crew from missed opportunities, and save you costly troubleshooting time later. Keep reading to learn how to build the most efficient consumption monitoring CT installation process.

First, let’s make sure everyone knows what CTs are. In a residential setting, CTs are small devices used throughout the electrical system, on distribution lines and at the circuit level, to efficiently measure electrical current. They measure current by wrapping a secondary winding around a live wire, inducing a secondary current that’s proportional to the current on the primary conductor.

In the Enphase Home Energy Solution, CTs perform both consumption monitoring and revenue-grade production monitoring. Current measurements are used to calculate power and energy, and used by the Envoy to control microinverter and storage system operation. Two consumption CTs must be installed alongside the Envoy-S Metered gateway. A production meter is preinstalled in the Enphase AC Combiner Box and is included with all Envoy-S Metered purchases. The Enphase Production Monitoring CT can’t be replaced with an off-the-shelf production CT, since each one is calibrated to and paired with an Envoy right at the factory. This also means that if you ever need to replace an Envoy-S Metered in the future, you’ll have to replace the CT as well.

Below are recommendations that will simplify and streamline the CT installation process. These tips are broken down into three categories: what to do before the install, during the install, and during commissioning with the Enphase Installer Toolkit mobile app. Continue to the bottom of this post for a detailed description of each step.

Before the install

  • Verify that the site can accommodate consumption monitoring
  • Find a location for the AC Combiner Box or the Envoy-S near the main service panel

During the install

  • Be polarity correct
  • Wire CTs into the appropriate terminal inputs on the Envoy and verify measurements with the Installer Toolkit
  • Match voltage and current measurements on the same phase

Please think of these tips as a quick reference guide to complement the Enphase Consumption Monitoring CT installation manuals; they’re not a replacement for the installation manuals. At the bottom of this post you’ll find a few more resources, including production and consumption CT installation videos.

Commissioning with Installer Toolkit

  • Use the Installer Toolkit mobile app

We recommend that all installers download the app to their Android or IOS devices and log in to Enlighten Manager before going to the job site.

Before the install

  • Verify that the site can accommodate consumption monitoring

It’s important to make sure that the home where you’re installing the Enphase Home Energy Solution can easily accommodate the split-core consumption CTs before approving consumption monitoring as part of a project. At some sites, the conductors or the bussing between the utility meter and the main breaker of the service panel are not accessible or do not have adequate space to fit the consumption CTs.

One simple solution is to install consumption CTs directly around the load circuit conductors inside the main service panel. If consumption monitoring cannot be readily accommodated, consider potential modifications to the service wiring. These can include offering your customer a service upgrade with equipment that will accommodate the consumption CTs, or moving the electrical service utility meter socket, making room for the consumption CTs.

See the Enphase technical brief, Assessing a site for installation of consumption monitoring, for a Site Assessment Form to guide you through the process.

  • Find a location for the AC Combiner Box or the Envoy-S near the main service panel

To simplify wiring of the consumption CTs, install the AC Combiner Box and the Envoy-S Metered at or near the main service panel.

During the install

Polarity is determined by the direction of the secondary winding. If installed backwards, meter readings that should be positive will instead be negative. CTs are marked with an arrow that must point towards the load. Polarity errors are one of the most common (and easily avoidable) problems with CT installation.

  • Wire CTs correctly and verify measurements

CTs must be fed directly into the Envoy-S Metered with correct CT orientation, and they must be connected to the correct terminals on the Envoy.

The Envoy has three terminal blocks: one for power, one for CTs, and one reserved for other uses, such as turning off systems operating in Zero Export mode. Consumption CTs must not be wired to the terminal block on the right side of the Envoy-S.

The Envoy cannot properly control the AC Battery if current is measured as part of solar photovoltaic (PV) current, or if the battery is not a load measured by the consumption CTs. Make sure the batteries are installed on the load side of the consumption CTs, not the load side of the production CTs. This is especially important when using a subpanel for PV and storage circuits. Finally, make sure that solar passes through the production CTs.

  • Match voltage and current on the same phase

As noted above, consumption CTs will report negative current measurements if installed backwards. They will also report negative measurements (or a zero measurement) if the two consumption CTs are not wired to the correct terminals on the Envoy. The CT that is placed around Line 1 must be wired to Consumption Terminal A in the Envoy, and the CT that is placed around Line 2 must be wired on Consumption Terminal B. For this reason, we recommend marking the physical CT housing and the CT’s sense wire ends with black or red tape. These markings will indicate the appropriate service conductor that each CT measures, avoiding confusion once you’ve pulled wire through the conduit.

Commissioning with Installer Toolkit

  • Use the Installer Toolkit mobile app

With Installer Toolkit, you can quickly and easily confirm that CTs are operating and enable production metering. Remember to enable production metering first, then confirm proper metering while onsite. With the solar energy system turned off, confirm that CTs are operating, and make sure your readings are positive. Then enable consumption metering and turn solar on. Select consumption meter type based on whether CTs are wired on load circuits only or on circuits with load and solar production. After five minutes, load-only readings should be greater than readings with load and solar. Test CTs using a known load source, such as a hair dryer at its highest setting.

Resources

Enphase has many resources available to prepare you and your installation team for success with the Home Energy Solution.

Assessing a site for installation of consumption monitoring technical brief

This 13-page document covers CT installations in Eaton service panels and Eaton solar power centers, as well as other challenging scenarios, such as installations with multiple conductors in a single CT, parallel-connected CTs for 400A service, and crowded service panels.

Production CT installation video

This 5-minute video includes step-by-step instructions for installing a production CT for systems that do not use the AC Combiner Box with a pre-installed production CT, and how to verify installation using Installer Toolkit.

Consumption CT installation video

This 8-minute video includes pictures of consumption CT installations, step-by-step installation instructions, and directions on how to verify installation using Installer Toolkit.

Meter installation checklist

This 2-page document helps assure that metering is always wired and configured correctly. It also includes some helpful troubleshooting steps.