Enphase Enpower 240 Volt Smart Switch
The Enphase IQ System Controller 2 connects the home to grid power, the IQ Battery system, and solar PV. It provides microgrid interconnection device (MID) functionality by automatically detecting and seamlessly transitioning the home energy system from grid power to backup power in the event of a grid failure. It consolidates interconnection equipment into a single enclosure and streamlines grid independent capabilities of PV and storage installations by providing a consistent, pre-wired solution for residential applications.
- Nominal voltage / range (L-L) 240 VAC / 100 – 310 VAC
- Nominal frequency / range 60 Hz / 56 – 63 Hz
- Maximum continuous current rating: 160A
- Maximum output overcurrent protection device: 200A
- Maximum input overcurrent protection device: 200A
- Maximum overcurrent protection device rating for storage branch circuit: 80A
- Maximum overcurrent protection device rating for PV combiner branch circuit: 80A
- Neutral Forming Transformer (NFT)
- Breaker rating (pre-installed): 40A between L1 and Neutral; 40A between L2 and Neutral
- Continuous rated power: 3600VA
- Maximum continuous unbalance current: 30A @ 120V
- Peak rated power: 8800VA for 30 seconds
- Peak unbalanced current: 80A @ 120V for 30 seconds
- Environmental rating: Outdoor, NEMA type 3R, polycarbonate construction
- Dimensions (WxHxD): 19.7 in x 36 in x 9.7 in (50cm x 91.6cm x 24.6cm)
- Weight: 87 lbs.
- Cooling: Natural convection, plus heat shield
- Altitude To 8200 feet
Warranty: 10 years
Types of Solar Inverters
SolarEdge vs Enphase: An In-Depth Comparison
The battle of the inverter titans: these two companies leverage competing technologies and have cultivated a kind of rivalry, SolarEdge vs Enphase, for home- and business owners looking to go solar. SolarEdge and Enphase are the two biggest companies in the solar inverter space. Together they have 95% of the global inverter market share, with Enphase holding 48% and SolarEdge 40% of the U.S. market alone. Our solar experts analyzed both companies’ products to help consumers understand the differences between the two and identify which is right for them.
In order to identify the better inverter type, we must first understand the technology surrounding inverters. We must also look at how it comes into play within the context of a solar array.
Types of Solar Inverters
The main function of inverters is to convert the direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC), in order to have usable electricity. Without an inverter to convert current, a solar system would serve practically no purpose at all. As a result, regardless of whether you prefer SolarEdge vs Enphase, they play a vital role in the functionality of a home solar system. While you may find competing information regarding different brands, before deciding which you should choose, you first need to understand the 3 different types of inverters:
- String Inverters (Centralized)
- Power Optimizer System (String inverters + Power optimizers)
Microinverters and power optimizers are often collectively referred to as Module-Level Power Electronics (MLPEs).
Traditionally, consumers prefer string inverters due to their cost effectiveness and general efficiency for bigger systems. However, Power Optimizer Systems and Microinverters have gained immense popularity in the market. This comes as a direct result of technological advancements which have brought the price significantly lower and the overall module-level capabilities. String inverters have a notorious reputation for their inflexibility and lack of monitoring capabilities; whereas, MLPEs boast much more sophistication.
With that being said, consumers must keep in mind that both SolarEdge and Enphase inverters are MLPEs. SolarEdge inverters leverage Power Optimizer System technology while Enphase uses Microinverter technology.
SolarEdge vs Enphase: Battery Backup Options
Adding backup battery storage solutions has proven itself as one of the biggest, newest trends in the solar market. Unused solar power is stored in a battery and used when needed during a power outage or when solar production is insufficient to meet the household energy demand. When there is a power outage, a combination of solar and battery is used to power important loads such as the refrigerator, TV, lights and AC outlets, day or night
SolarEdge vs Enphase: Efficiency
One of the key metrics for any solar system is efficiency. This refers to the amount of light that is converted into electricity. With higher efficiency, you can generate more electricity with fewer solar panels. While consumers see solar panel efficiency featured prominently by manufacturers, inverter efficiency arguably plays just as big of a role. Inverter efficiency refers to the amount of electricity lost during the DC-to-AC conversion.
The majority of solar inverters that you will find on the market these days have an efficiency better than 95%. Some boast efficiency ratings even as high as 99%. This means that the inverter only loses 1% of incoming electricity during the conversion to AC. While inverter efficiency across the board is relatively high, when looking at SolarEdge vs Enphase, consumers will still find a notable difference.
The SolarEdge system has two components: the central inverter, which lists 99% efficiency, and the power optimizer, which lists 99.5% efficiency. This puts the overall efficiency at 99.25%. The Enphase IQ 7 series only converts at 97% efficiency. However, a direct comparison is still difficult considering the different technologies.
Even though SolarEdge’s power optimizers do help the system perform better in partial shade, microinverters are still a superior system when it comes to handling shade and complicated rooftop layouts. Because of this, the overall system efficiency of a microinverter-based system will still usually be a little better than one based on power optimizers. At the same time, Enphase microinverters are notorious for overheating (as you install them on the roof), which can drastically reduce efficiency and life expectancy.
All in all, both brands have their pros and cons; however, SolarEdge easily beats out Enphase in efficiency.
Overall Evaluation of SolarEdge vs Enphase
If you have a complex, residential solar installation with partial shading, solar panels mounted on multiple roof segments, or the desire for panel-level monitoring, then both Enphase and SolarEdge inverters offer great solutions to make sure that you get the maximum electricity out of your solar energy system.
In addition, if you think you might want to expand your system in the future—such as to supply electricity for an electric car—then Enphase microinverters offer better expansion flexibility than either power optimizer or string inverter-based systems.
However, if inverter technology warranties find themselves at the top of your priority list, SolarEdge has the edge up when compared to Enphase.
So which should you choose?
While it’s likely that Enphase will cost you slightly more up front, they offer a state-of-the-art solution. This comes mostly as a result of their microinverter technology. However, SolarEdge will allow you the ability to save more, and they really are the tried and true option.
Also, while Enphase may offer a more sophisticated product, they have their limitations. SolarEdge’s real uniqueness comes from its offering of a full suite of products. SolarEdge offers consumers integrated options like electric vehicle charging, consumption monitoring, and more! This is a genuinely substantial offering when comparing SolarEdge vs Enphase, as most homeowners want to expand their solar system beyond just having panels. If you want a full suite of energy efficient products and you want them to work perfectly in sync, SolarEdge definitely has a leg up.
We cannot argue that there is a reason why these two companies hold almost equal amounts of the market share. They both offer high-level monitoring capabilities and flexibility when it comes to complex installations. However, they also both have their own very distinct sets of pros and cons.
At the end of the day, whether you choose SolarEdge vs Enphase should come as a direct result of an in-depth analysis of your project and energy needs. Each solar installation and design will provide unique insights as to the needs. And, as a result, this will allow you to make the best choice for you. No one can provide an honest, objective, generalized ranking between the two, as they offer completely different technologies and capabilities. That being said, making the switch to solar should come down to value proposition and savings. Work with an experienced solar company, like Solar Techs, to see which option will help you optimize your savings!