Microgrid-forming PV microinverter from Enphase


U.S.-based micro-inverter manufacturer Enphase Energy has launched what it claims to be the world's first microgrid-forming micro-inverter.

Dubbed IQ8, the 97%-efficient device is said to be the most powerful microinverter developed by the company to date and is capable of forming a microgrid during a power outage by relying exclusively on PV power and, simultaneously, to provide backup power without the need for battery storage.

“Since the company’s inception, we invested in custom application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) chips for our microinverters, and today we see the payoff with a software-defined microinverter smart enough to form a microgrid, unlocking value for homeowners,” said Enphase CEO, Badri Kothandaraman.

The micro-inverter is available in four versions: the “Solar Only” product, which a standard grid-tied system with no battery included; the “Sunlight Backup” device with no battery but with a grid-agnostic configuration; the “Home Essentials Backup” solution with the same grid-agnostic configuration of the second product and a small battery; and the “Full Energy Independence” with a large battery and the grid-agnostic approach.

“For homeowners who want a battery, there are no sizing restrictions on pairing an Enphase battery with the solar system,” the manufacturer said in a statement. “And all configurations can be customized for homeowners with the help of Enphase installer partners.”

All three devices with the so-called grid-agnostic configuration must be equipped with an Enphase System Controller to isolate the home during a blackout.

“The IQ8 family includes five types of software-defined microinverters, IQ8, IQ8+, IQ8M, IQ8A and IQ8H, with peak output AC power of 245VA, 300VA, 330VA, 366VA and 384VA, respectively,” the company specified. “The multiple types of IQ8 enable seamless pairing with a full range of solar modules, even up to 540W DC.”

The manufacturer added it will ship the first products in North America in December.

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