Microinverter maker and energy management specialist Enphase has started taking orders from installers for its AC battery for home PV systems in Australia and New Zealand, with shipments to start arriving in August 2016.
The company, which along with SolarEdge is one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of module level power electronics into the global PV space, has teased news of the battery’s imminent launch for more than a year, originally announcing it was being readied for market at the US Solar Power International show in October 2014.
Enphase has been keen to point out that the battery can in theory be connected to any brand of PV inverter or panels, though it is designed to be part of Enphase’s Home Energy Solution, which includes monitoring software, a network hub and microinverters. In an interview with Energy-Storage.News's sister site PV Tech in the summer of last year Enphase CEO Paul Nahi said that, especially when coupled with batteries, the ability of solar PV systems to play an active role not only in providing generation and load when it is needed but also to keep grids balanced had been overlooked by many.
In an August 2015 earnings call, Nahi claimed the “unique modularity” of the battery would be a competitive advantage. The devices can be retrofitted to any existing PV system due to their AC-coupling, while they are also available in 1.2kWh units, with homeowners free to add more units as required.
After touting the technology at trade shows during 2015, Enphase has revamped the design from early models shown to press and at trade exhibitions.
Like many of its competitors in the nascent residential energy storage space, Enphase identified the two southern hemisphere countries as holding significant opportunity for the technology in combination with solar. The company even gave an indication of pricing for the AC battery in Australia and New Zealand last year, although it was not clear today from the company’s announcements or its website whether an “introductory price” of AU$1,150/kWh (US$838/kWh) would be kept to.
Company CTO and co-founder Raghu Belur spoke to Energy-Storage.News about the modular battery system’s design process back in March 2015. Among topics covered in an extensive interview, Belur spoke about how the battery fitted into Enphase’s energy management solutions as well as the reasons for going AC-coupled.
The battery has undergone numerous design changes since pictures were first released to press and at trade shows since early 2015. Images: Enphase.
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