Enphase IQ8 Microinverter
This fall, Enphase Energy released its newest solar technology: the IQ8 microinverter. As described on their website, this new inverter is the “industry’s first grid-forming microinverters with split-phase power conversion capability to convert DC power to AC power efficiently.”
What this product brings to the table is ability to form its own microgrid. This means that when the power goes out, you can still use electricity without using a battery as long as the sun is out. Just last year, events like wildfires in California and winter storms in Texas all caused power outages that left people without electricity. If a natural disaster like one of these were to happen to a home with an IQ8 inverter, the home would be able to convert energy from the sun to electricity to power appliances.
What is a microinverter?
Just as a refresher on what a micro inverter does: microinverters convert AC current to DC current from solar energy. Your home uses this AC current to power things like air conditioning, heat, etc. For a more detailed explanation on how solar works, click here.
Microinverters are located behind each individual solar panel, and thus convert current from each individual model into electricity. They are especially effective for roofs that experience shading and other conditions that affect the output of some of the panels. Since microinverters are mounted behind each individual panel, if half of a roof is covered by shade, the other half of the roof will still produce at full capacity. This increases efficiency.
So, the new IQ 8 technology is simply the next version of a microinverter. It can do all the things that a regular micro inverter can do, but it can also form its own microgrid.
Four Different Options
Now, Enphase offers four different installation options. The first option is a solar-only system. This is a classic grid connected system that has no battery storage. So, it produces energy while the sun is shining, but takes energy from the grid during nighttime and times when the sun is not shining.
The next “level up” is sunlight back-up, which means that the system has no solar battery, but it does have the IQ8 load controller. This load controller is what allows the system to switch to “microgrid” mode during a power outage.
There is also a home essentials backup system, which has all the qualities of the sunlight backup system except it also includes a small battery. This system is ideal for power outages. It not only allows your home to produce electricity with the IQ8 microinverter during an outage, but also allows you to store a small amount of solar energy, good for nighttime.
The most robust system is the system that includes the IQ8 inverter and also a full size battery. This system gives you full energy independence, because your home can produce and store its own energy, even when the grid goes down.
We have already installed an IQ8 microinverter on one of our more recent solar system installations. This new technology is exciting for customers, because it represents a huge step towards energy independence. Homes now truly have the ability to produce their own energy without relying on the grid, even during a power outage. If you want to learn more about getting the IQ8 installed in your home, contact us today!