SPI 2014: Enphase develops next-gen energy storage system with bidirectional microinverter

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Enphase Energy is showcasing its new ‘Energy Management System', at Solar Power International (SPI 2014) in advance of a major product launch in the third quarter of 2015. The energy management system offers the next-generation, smart-grid ready bidirectional microinverter, plug-and-play storage, advanced control capabilities and load management.

Problem

Solar installers and distributors are faced with a rapidly changing energy landscape, which is dominated by static, isolated systems that do not integrate, communicate, scale or adapt quickly to changes in power generation. What is required is a truly seamless integration of solar PV generation, storage, cloud-connected communications and load management on a unified, future-proof platform that would enable installers and distributors to better manage the design, installation and management of PV arrays and expected demand for higher levels of energy storage capability. 

Solution

The Enphase system intelligently integrates the critical technologies needed to solve solar energy challenges at scale: smart grid intelligence, communications, big data analytics and storage. The energy management system offers the next-generation, smart-grid ready bidirectional microinverter, plug-and-play storage, advanced control capabilities and load management. The new system is claimed to have three distinct advantages: it provides a better return on investment for system owners, expands the range of profitable business models for installers, and provides broader insight into and control for utilities. The system provides utilities with a higher level of visibility, insight and control over the energy grid. The smart-grid ready system shares information, and in some cases control functions, with the utilities over the cloud. By making it easier for utilities to integrate and sustain solar energy on an optimised energy grid, Enphase claims its systems help maximise their profits and their infrastructure.

Applications

Integrated PV and battery storage systems for residential and commercial rooftop markets.

Platform

The Enphase Energy Management System is comprised of four main components. Firstly, the fully bidirectional, software-defined ‘S-Series’ microinverter supports reactive power control and other advanced grid functionalities and will be the company’s fifth generation microinverter.

Secondly, the ‘Enphase AC Battery’ is an advanced energy storage solution with a modular, plug-and-play storage device fully integrated into the Enphase Energy Management System. AC Battery is supplied by ELIIY Power from Japan, a leading manufacturer of high-capacity lithium-ion batteries for electricity storage. The technology, based on a distributed architecture, is a safe, reliable and easy-to-install storage solution. 

Thirdly, Enphase’s new Envoy-S expands from energy monitoring into full revenue grade metering of solar production, metering of home consumption, and storage management. Ruggedly constructed and suitable for installation in outdoor enclosures, the Envoy-S offers a full range of networking connectivity options. In addition to Ethernet, integrated Wi-Fi not only allows for easy connection to broadband systems but also functions simultaneously as an access point for integration with Enphase’s mobile application and other home automation solutions. An optional cellular modem completes the package; designed in collaboration with AT&T, the plug-and-play M2M data plan makes networking a snap. 

Fourthly, Enphase’s Enlighten software platform enables customers to monitor system performance from any PC tablet or smartphone. Enlighten also monitors and optimises the use of all energy sources – solar, stored and grid – providing remote visibility and control to every installation. Enlighten alerts system owners to performance issues, proactively supports operations and maintenance activities for installers, and helps utilities optimise and manage the grid, revealing trends and opportunities. 

Availability

The Enphase Energy Management System components will be made available on a rolling basis beginning in the US in the third quarter of 2015.

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