As residential battery demand continues to grow due to state incentives for systems and the need to aid the grid during extreme weather, more inverter manufacturers are getting in the game. Companies including Enphase, SolarEdge and Tigo Energy have started producing residential batteries of their own for seamless technology pairings.
Enphase released its residential Encharge battery in 2020 (now called the IQ battery), but rolled out its advanced hybrid microinverter in 2021. The company’s grid-forming IQ8 microinverter has been highly anticipated by the industry for its ability to island a home in the daytime even without storage. But paired with the company’s battery, the microinverter is even more powerful.
“The Ensemble system is so compelling because it’s an all-in-one solar + storage system from a single company, which means perfect component compatibility, a single point of contact for service and support, and a management platform that controls the entire system,” said Michael Pane, owner at Synergy Solar, in a press release.
Enphase’s AC-coupled battery solution uses lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) chemistry and comes in 10.1-kWh and 3.4-kWh capacities. There are no sizing restrictions when pairing these batteries with IQ8 microinverters, so full-home backup is a possibility for those willing to spend the money.
In the string inverter arena, SolarEdge released its first residential battery solution in Fall 2021. The DC-coupled lithium-ion SolarEdge Energy Bank provides 9.7 kWh of backup power and can be connected in parallel for up to nine total batteries. The company simultaneously released its new Energy Hub inverter models that can connect wirelessly to SolarEdge batteries and other smart energy devices, such as the SolarEdge Home EV Charger.
The new battery and inverter line are part of SolarEdge’s full residential solution called SolarEdge Home, which is controlled from the mySolarEdge mobile app.
“The need for reliable home backup power has never been greater,” said Peter Mathews, general manager of SolarEdge, North America, in a press release. “We developed an integrated solar and battery solution that allows for simpler and faster installation time and enables homeowners to power more of their everyday lives with clean, renewable energy.”
Tigo also recently entered the hybrid inverter + storage space after focusing solely on MLPE since its formation in 2007. The company’s new Energy Intelligence (EI) Inverter and Battery product lines are designed by Tigo, but manufactured by unnamed partners.
Tigo’s LFP EI Battery systems are rated at 9.9 kWh of energy per enclosure and can scale up to 40 kWh, with four enclosures per inverter. The system is managed through the Tigo EI mobile app that diagnoses issues and allows for remote software upgrades.
“With the addition of the battery and inverter products, we now offer a comprehensive solar + storage system that maintains the flexibility and choice our customers have come to expect from Tigo,” said Zvi Alon, CEO at Tigo Energy, in a press release.
It’s not easy to add an entirely new product to a manufacturer’s lineup. Other major residential inverter makers like SMA, Fronius and CPS America are still focusing on making inverters and certifying their compatibility with outside battery manufacturers. But if the vertical integration trend continues, that may change in the near future.
Mark Wialbut says
The proliferation of these inverter and battery systems is a step towards what’s really needed to be energy independent but they fail to address to largest energy consumption in the typical residence; heat in the form of BTU’s. A typical home’s energy use is ~40% electric (kWh’s) & 60% thermal (BTU’s).
These inverter/battery systems are really standalone components of a residence’s energy infrastructure. They do what they do supplying supplemental and back-up electrical power without regard to anything but the supply and demand.They do not interact with any of the other components of the home’s infrastructure leaving the homeowner to control the demand from the other standalone components like HVAC, DHW, pumps, etc.
A complete residential energy system needs an overarching intelligence that interacts with all the infrastructure components creating, storing and managing both electrical and thermal power throughout the residence. To accomplish this both an electric and a thermal grid are needed.
A thermal grid operates just like an electric grid but uses pipes, pumps, valves and thermal storage rather than wires, switches, and batteries to distribute thermal power. Like batteries store excess electric energy but far less expensive and much longer lived, thermal storage stores BTU’s efficiently for use when needed. A thermal grid distributes those BTU’s to whatever system is calling for heat (or cold). The nexus of a truly complete residential energy system must interact with all the energy infrastructure components both supply and demand, electrical and thermal.
Take a look at Sonnen ecolinx, it can be used in a smart home with the proper communications option.
Enphase and SolarEdge are growing into the smart ESS and overall system integration field. Right now, in the solar PV industry amongst the many different applications from utility scale solar PV farms to residential installations, it seems like over the last three or so years there seems to be a ‘merger’ of the simple grid tied system of 10 years ago and more integration of energy storage in new systems installs. The movement is towards the ability to become aggregate VPP systems with buy/sell energy coming as a signal from the grid itself. These systems have evolved over the years into micro-grids in their own right.
Looking back just a few years, in 2000 a simple solar PV panel string to grid tied house inverter(s) could cost up around $70K for a 9kWp system. Now, even without the ITC of 26% one can get a relatively large solar PV array around 10.5kWp and a smart ESS with something like 30kWh energy storage for around that same $70K today installed, not taking into account one still has a federal tax credit of 26% of the entire system cost off of one’s Federal taxes.
California is pushing the envelope with the IOU electric utilities and their tiered electricity rate programs and TOU rate programs in place. In California the residential electricity rate is an “average” of $0.20/kWh to $0.25/kWh. Many in the U.S. are still bragging about they ‘only’ pay $0.09/kWh today. Well with mandates like decarbonization of the U.S. grid by 2035, there are going to be a (lot) of electricity rate increases across the U.S. from now on. Sooner than later that $0.09/kWh electricity becomes $0.27/kWh as old generation facilities are decommissioned and new generation facilities are constructed. The electric bills of many will rise when the electric utilities start filing electric rate increases from many “stranded assets”. The question is on the individual level, “how much will you tolerate” until you buy your own generation and energy storage system to use in your home?
Now we are seeing more & more regions cutting back on Feed-in-Tariffs and even adding monthly fees for just having Solar Panels, the Death of the Monolithic Grid is coming and being hastened by such Self-Injury.
The people coming and looking for help on how to DIY Solar Systems and even LFP Battery Packs has been escalating exponentially. With the latest “Pile” out of California USA a LOT of Californians have popped up. Something about $8 per kW of Panel fees and FIT being dropped to something like 0.04 Cents per kW sent to grid… Sure fire way to get folks OFF GRID !
The WORLD NEEDS Affordable LiFePO4 Battery Banks for our homes & businesses. LFP IP is up in March this year, global production is queuing up, raw resources have to be obtained and time to put the Fossil Resource Funded Nimby’s off side into their place…
Marco Giorgiano says
Thanks for all your clear informazioni. I live nearby a Solaredge facility in Italy, and i see how it has grown in few time. Then, I bought some stocks with the purpose to mantain long time my position. Nowdays all solar stocks in USA are struggling. Is the lack of BBB approval one of the reasons for It? If yes, Is there any chance to overcome this BBB issue, by other solar incentives?