Ok, bear with me; I am about to get technical and nerdy for a minute. I am using an Enphase integrated system, which connects not only the different components of my system to each other but also me as the homeowner. The Enphase microinverter converts DC power to AC power, then controls that power, stores it, measures production and consumption, and reports back on grid and battery activity. This is the cool part: through the Enphase app on my phone, iPad, or computer, I can access and assess the health of my system — and monitor my energy interdependence. I’ll be going into the details in a later blog post, but for now, the Enphase energy system, considered the best in the industry, has been a great source of information and
Enphase offers four energy configurations
- Solar only
- Sunlight Backup
- Home Essentials Backup
- Full Energy Independence
I am installing the Home Essentials backup; 85% of our clients chose this option. It is the best entry point for a homeowner who wants energy security and full energy management. Call our team to find out which configuration is best for you.
What often surprises most clients is the number of components that need to be installed and where they need to be installed. I, too, was astonished to realize that in addition to the solar panels and inverters that are installed on the roof, my system would also include:
- Enphase IQ Load Center
- Enphase IQ system controller
- Enphase IQ Battery
- Backup Loads Panel
- Utility disconnect
- Battery disconnect
- System disconnect
- Rapid Shutdown Switch
All of these components take up serious real estate. Generally, all the Enphase components and the backup loads panels can be installed in the home, typically in the basement. The wall space needed to accommodate these components is roughly the same as the space needed to store that unused elliptical machine, tubs full of Christmas decorations, and ten large boxes marked “Tag Sale Stuff” — about half the basement wall. The disconnects and rapid shutdown switch need to be installed on the exterior wall within sight of the utility meter. All the components except the backup loads panel will be installed on the exterior of my house. (more on this in a later post)
Jeff and Farlin will need to wire all of these devices so they are interactive with each other, my home, and the electrical grid. If the grid goes down, they have to ensure that the battery, controller, and backup load center continue to power the essential circuits in my home.
Mounting, wiring, and connecting all the components took three days. Yes — Jeff had to put another hole in my foundation. Unlike the sewer, water, cable, utility, dryer, and furnace holes in the foundation, this hole was just large enough to snake the electrical wires for the system from the outside to the backup loads panel. Thanks to Jeff’s attention to detail (he would say OCD), all of the components, connections, and devices were installed straight, plumb, and secure. He even installed the disconnects in line by size; when he was done, they resembled Matryoshka dolls.