Author Archives: Sara Matasci

Storage-ready solar Q&A: Enphase

Designing a “storage-ready” solar panel system is the first step to ensuring that you’re set up for success when you decide to move forward with a solar battery for your home or business. EnergySage spoke with Matt Allan, Product Marketing Manager at Enphase for his perspective on storage-ready solar.

What is the value proposition for a “storage-ready” solar product for residential customers?

While ‘storage-ready’ solar products might be interesting, residential solar customers are encouraged to select home energy solutions that provide an integrated system. Such a system will combine solar energy production, consumption monitoring, and storage out of the box, even if storage is added later. As with many consumer electronics and devices, solar consumers should select home energy systems that are built for plug-and-play simplicity; adding storage to a solar system should be as simple and flexible as possible. So yes, ‘storage-ready’ is generally good, but ‘built for native integration’ is better.

Who should consider installing a storage-ready solar option now?

The US market for solar + storage is varied and dynamic. Fifty states each have different utility districts (some have several), and each district has nuanced and different approaches to energy production and the integration of distributed energy resources.

In Hawaii, for example, the local utility has introduced a zero-export rate scheme, which makes solar + storage significantly more attractive for new solar systems. In many US states, utilities are adjusting the value of net metering for consumers. Solar consumers are well-advised by working with a solar professional to understand the mix of solar and storage that is right for them, given their economic goals and the status quo dictated by the local utility.

What criteria do you recommend shoppers look for when considering their storage-ready options?

System sizing for rooftop solar is relatively simple. The main question involved is, how much energy does the homeowner want to produce? To optimize sizing for a system with solar generation and energy storage, especially where the homeowner will pay time-of-use rates for electricity, installers must address energy pricing variables. It’s not enough to simply match storage system size with the size of the rooftop solar system. From a system choice perspective, the following are important criteria:

  • All components of the solar + storage system should work together seamlessly
  • All components of the solar + storage system must be able to be monitored and managed from a single, integrated control system.
  • The control system must include native consumption monitoring
  • Since every house is different, storage systems must be flexible enough to right-size the storage capacity. When homeowners avoid the one-size-fits-all fallacy of storage devices, they avoid over-purchasing storage.
  • Use systems and devices that are smart grid ready, or ones that can be easily upgraded for advanced functionality

How is Enphase’s storage-ready offering different from other options on the market?

The Enphase Storage System is built around a modular architecture, delivering smaller blocks of storage so our customers always get a competitive price of installation. Storage is truly a ‘one size fits none’ product category. Starting with 1.2 kilowatt-hours of capacity, you can take the first step to improve home energy management now and easily expand the system later as your family grows or you add an electric vehicle.

The Enphase Storage System is designed around smart about electricity usage. The system supports time-of-use utility pricing and energy self-consumption right out of the gate. It can also deliver added value through electricity rate arbitrage—storing up energy when rates are low and discharging when rates are high—and grid services that qualify for compensation, such as frequency regulation.

Safety was a primary consideration in the design of the Enphase Storage System. That’s why we selected battery cells that meet the highest global safety standards, cells that minimize risk of thermal runway and do not catch fire even if punctured by a needle, crushed, or overcharged. Like the Enphase Microinverter System, the storage system also does not expose consumers and their families to high-voltage DC power.

The Enphase Storage System is a fully integrated solution that can deliver faster installation, easier commissioning, and a more satisfying user experience. The Enphase Storage System follows a three-step installation process, one that enabled a NABCEP certified installer to complete a 4.8 kWh project in 1 hour and 40 minutes. There is no separate inverter purchase required, and the Enphase AC Batteries integrates seamlessly with the communications gateway, the Envoy, used for the PV system. The Enlighten platform provides extensive visibility and control so users can monitor performance and interact with a wide range of smart appliances, including those already on the market and those that have yet to arrive.

What types of storage options (e.g. battery systems) are compatible with your offering?

The Enphase Home Energy solution is natively (plug-and-play) compatible with Enphase AC Batteries. The Enphase AC Battery product is compatible with any PV system.





Don



Storage-ready solar Q&A: SolarEdge

Designing a “storage-ready” solar panel system is the first step to ensuring that you’re set up for success when you decide to move forward with a solar battery for your home or business. EnergySage spoke with Lior Handelsman, VP of Marketing & Product Strategy and Founder of SolarEdge, for his perspective on storage-ready solar.

What is the value proposition for a “storage-ready” solar product for residential customers?

Installing storage-ready solar helps homeowners be ready for the future. As the cost of batteries decreases, storage is continuing to become a more feasible solution to increase self-consumption and provide back-up energy. When homeowners have a storage-ready system, they can, in the future, easily increase their self-consumption and gain energy independence.

Who should consider installing a storage ready solar option now?

Anyone installing residential PV should ensure that their system is storage-ready, especially since there is no added cost. This will allow them to easily upgrade their systems. Homeowners who should already install PV+ storage are those in areas where there is no feed-in tariff or those who want increased energy independence, irrelevant of incentive structures.

What criteria do you recommend shoppers look for when considering their storage ready options?

These are the key tips:

  1. The battery’s capacity needs to meet energy demands
  2. The battery’s charging and discharge rate needs to meets demand
  3. The battery should have a high-power rating
  4. The battery and inverter should have flexible installation, warranted for both indoor and outdoor installation
  5. Both the battery and inverter should have long-term warranties with wide warranty coverage
  6. For backup power, the inverter and battery work in backup mode
  7. Select a DC-coupled battery system so there is minimal energy loss and to increase the amount of energy that can potentially be routed to the battery
  8. The inverter is just as important as the battery, since it is the energy manager. Make sure to select a high-quality inverter.

How is SolarEdge’s storage-ready offering different from other options on the market?

Solar energy is created in DC and energy is stored in DC, while the home uses energy in AC. Most PV + storage inverter solutions, convert PV energy from DC to AC and then back to DC again for storage purposes. On the other hand, SolarEdge designed its inverter to work with batteries versus against them, like many typical solutions. This means that the energy flows directly from the PV to the battery without these unnecessary conversions. And since each conversion leads to energy losses, this set up provides more energy for the homeowner.

SolarEdge offers a simple user experience. Homeowners can have full visibility into their PV production, storage status, consumption, and self-consumption via one monitoring app.

As part of SolarEdge’s standard PV solution, its DC optimized inverter also allows for further energy production and enhanced safety. The power optimizers that are attached to each module to manage and monitor energy production, means that more energy is produced from the PV system, which in turn makes more energy available for battery storage. This same module-level management enables power optimizers to reduce the DC voltage to a safe voltage in PV wires whenever AC power is off. Called SafeDC™, this technology meets the strictest safety standards.

What types of storage options (e.g. battery systems) are compatible with your offering?

Currently, SolarEdge’s StorEdge solution is compatible with LG Chem’s new high voltage RESU10H and RESU7H batteries.





Don



Solar panel battery banks: use solar and batteries to power your home without the grid

solar panel battery banks

Home energy storage has featured frequently in the news over the past few months thanks to new battery products from companies like Tesla, LG and Mercedes-Benz. These products are popular for a reason: when you pair solar panels with a battery bank at your home or business, you can actually operate independently from the electric grid. However, not all solar batteries are created equal. Here’s the rundown on what it actually takes to use a solar panel battery bank to go off the grid.

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What is a “storage-ready” solar installation? Four leading inverter manufacturers share their thoughts

storage ready solar

Solar plus storage is a rapidly advancing technology that makes it possible to both generate and store solar energy onsite for backup power. Solar batteries can also help homeowners and businesses maximize solar energy use onsite. The cost of installing a battery is high today, but prices are falling rapidly. As a result, many property owners are installing a solar panel system now and planning to add energy storage later on.

How can you ensure that you’re set up for success when you decide to move forward with a solar battery for your home or business? Designing a “storage-ready” solar panel system is the first step. EnergySage interviewed four solar inverter manufacturers to offer more insight into the concept of “storage-ready” solar. The highlights and key takeaways from each manufacturer are below, and links to each company’s full range of responses on storage-ready solar are at the bottom of this article.

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Comcast & Solar: Sunrun Partnership Explained

comcast sunrun partnership explained by EnergySage

As the cost of solar continues to fall and the financial and environmental benefits of solar PV grow, more organizations are collaborating to provide reasonably priced solar options to homeowners. For example, National Grid recently announced that it is partnering with EnergySage to offer a solar marketplace option to its Rhode Island customers. Recently, Comcast also announced a partnership: the cable company will offer a discounted solar option to its customers through an exclusive partnership with Sunrun. Find out more about what the Comcast solar offer means for you.

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Solaria solar panels: the complete review

solaria solar panel review

Solaria is one of the rising stars of the solar panel industry. The company was established in the early 2000s and produces its high-efficiency all-black solar panels in the United States and South Korea. Thanks to their reasonable price tag, high efficiency and strong warranties, Solaria solar panels are gaining popularity shoppers comparing solar quotes on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace.

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Silfab solar panels: the complete review

silfab solar panel review

Silfab is a Canada-based solar photovoltaics (PV) manufacturer offering monocrystalline and bifacial solar panels to customers throughout the world. The company was founded in 2010 and is one of the few major solar panel brands to manufacture its products in North America. Silfab is the sixth most popular brand in offers to homeowners and businesses shopping for solar on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace.  Continue reading

SunTegra solar shingles: a solar roof tile option for your home

suntegra solar shingles

Homeowners across the country have their eye on Elon Musk’s Tesla solar roof, a much-heralded innovation for the solar energy industry. However, there are already roof-integrated solar panels available on the market, also known as solar shingles. SunTegra is one of two major companies producing and installing solar shingles in the United States.

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Solar and time-of-use electricity rates: what you need to know

solar panels tou net metering 2.0 california

California’s new net metering policy, commonly referred to as net metering (NEM) 2.0, brought some big changes to the Golden State’s solar market in 2017. NEM 2.0 is now active for customers of all three investor-owned utilities in California: Pacific Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Southern California Edison.

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Hyundai solar panels: the complete review

hyundai solar panel review

Hyundai is one of the most recognizable names in the solar industry. The company started its solar business in 2005, and its solar panels are produced by a separate branch of the company that owns Hyundai Motors. Like some other leading solar brands (such as LG), their panels are manufactured in South Korea, but their products are generally considered to be an “economy” option for homeowners looking for a low-cost solar installation.

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