The solar industry has known for some time that U.S. microinverter specialist Enphase Energy would launch its AC battery in Australia and New Zealand, and this week the firm began shipping the first units to customers in both countries.
With high levels of residential PV penetration combined with falling FIT rates for rooftop solar, Australia was identified as an ideal launch market for the Enphase AC battery, which uses Japanese firm ELIIYs lithium-iron phosphate cells and utilizes the Enphase power conversion and smart home energy management system.
Enphase already has around 10% market share in Australia, and sees expansion there as a strategic priority, encapsulating New Zealand as part of that approach. Indeed, such has been the demand from both countries for the product, Enphase has revised upwards its production plans based on volume projections from distributors.
The company now expects to ship 70,000 batteries in the two countries over the next 12 months.
Weighing a mere 18kg, each 1.2 kWh AC battery unit is easy to install and can be right-sized to ensure each system matches the unique energy needs of every household. The battery is a key component in the Enphase Home Energy Solution, which is an integrated architecture combining solar panels, the battery, Enphase microinverters and a cloud-based control software system.
While currently the AC battery is being sold primarily as a residential storage addition, commercial customers can also be served by the system by coupling a number of units together to meet their own, usually much higher, storage needs.
The software platform controls energy use, enabling customers particularly those in the low-FIT landscape of Australia to more efficiently and cost-effectively consume their energy, taking advantage of self-consumption and time-of-use tariff management opportunities.
According to Enphase Asia-Pacific MD Nathan Dunn, installer feedback Down Under has been positive. Installers are telling us the system offers the simplest installation on the market, and their customers are just as excited, with many paying for the system without even seeing it, Dunn explained.
Earlier this year Enphase opened a $4.4 million R&D facility in Christchurch, New Zealand, in an effort to support the firms internationalization and drive innovation and synergies between home storage and power conversion technologies.