The Solar Power Expert Blog

Enphase Energy Grid Tie Micro Inverter

by Chris - July 13th, 2011.
Filed under: Equipment. Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , .

Enphase Energy makes a range of micro grid-tie inverters and energy management products for consumer solar products. This article introduces their products lines, how they work together, and how they help people adopt the advantages of solar energy.

Enphase Micro Inverter

Enphase is best known for their flagship grid tie inverter products: the Enphase M190, M210, D380, and recently the M215. The M-series micro inverters for solar panel are rated at 190 watt, 210 watt, and 215 watt output, respectively. They are also optimized to work with solar panels composed of a specific number of solar cells. For this reason, they are often pre-paired with compatible solar panels in as a grid tie inverter kit.

The D380 contains two M190 micro grid-tie inverters in a single package for handling larger arrays of panels. The M215 is the newest micro inverter product from Enphase Energy. It is being touted as the most efficient micro inverter at 96% efficiency.

Where to Purchase an Enphase Micro Inverter

M190-72-240-S12 – $195.00

M210-84-208-S12 MC4 – $220.00
Retail Price: $230.00
You Save: $10.00

Enphase Micro-Inverter D380 – $360.00
Retail Price: $370.00
You Save: $10.00

Micro Inverters for Solar Panels

As mentioned above, Enphase Energy micro inverters for solar panels are often paired with solar panels in a complete grid tie inverter kit, ready for installation on the home. All the pairing and engineering for these kits are done ahead of time, requiring only installation by the home owner or a licensed contractor. Due to the efficient cost structure, segregation of responsibilities, and straightforward installation, these grid tie solar systems are increasing in popularity among home owners.

Where to Purchase Enphase Grid Tie Kits

900W Residential Grid Tie System, 4-225W Trina Modules Enphase M190 Inverters
Retail Price: $4,052.00
You Save: $10.00

675W Residential Grid Tie System, 3-225W Trina Modules Enphase M190 inverters – $3,249.50
Retail Price: $3,259.50
You Save: $10.00

Enphase 175 Watt Grid Tie Solar Electric System – $1,813.50
Retail Price: $1,823.50
You Save: $10.00

The Micro Inverter Advantages

There are two benefits that the Enphase micro inverter provides to the consumer:

  1. Integration

    A micro inverter combines the functions of both a charge controller and an inverter into a single package. Traditionally, a charge controller performs the MPPT function of drawing power from a solar panel at its maximum efficiency. An inverter then converts the extracted DC energy into AC electricity. A micro-inverter performs both tasks in one package.

  2. Resolution of Control

    The second big benefit of a using a micro inverter is to break the solar panels down into finer levels of control. Traditionally, several panels would be strung in series to create a high voltage that would then be converted to AC. Because the panels are in series in this design, if one panel is shaded, the rest will suffer. By giving each panel it’s own micro inverter, which allows them to supply power in parallel, one panel will not effect the output of another.

Enphase Enlighten

The Enlighten Enphase product is a web service that interfaces with the Enphase Envoy product. The Envoy is an electronic management unit (EMU) that communicates with Enphase micro inverters and uploads performance data to the Enlighten website.

The Envoy communicates with an Enphase micro inverter over the power lines, similar to X10 technology. This data is then uploaded to the Enphase Enlighten website via Ethernet. All that is required is to connect the Envoy to a router via Ethernet to give it internet access.

Enphase Envoy – Energy Management Unit (EMU) – $345.00
Retail Price: $355.00
You Save: $10.00

Enphase Environ Smart Thermostat

A home’s thermostat is often sighted as a sink for approximately 50% of a home’s energy use. Enphase released the Environ smart thermostat to enable consumers to capture a more complete picture of their energy usage.

The Environ interfaces with the Envoy over a Zigbee wireless connection. The user is then able to use a web page interface to control the Environ and thereby control the thermostat and heat-energy consumption. Energy consumption statistics from the thermostat is then uploaded to the Enphase Enlighten website and energy usage from the thermostat and energy generation from the solar system can be tracked side by side.

Enphase Environ Smart Thermostat EVRN-RT-01 – $379.00
Retail Price: $389.00
You Save: $10.00

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