Investing in solar energy is a big decision for homeowners considering the cost and time spent on setup and installation. Typical solar energy systems are grid-tied where you power some of your home devices and appliances using solar energy while energy from the grid powers the rest of the home. Without investing in battery storage for your solar system, it is not possible for your appliances/devices to be powered when there are power outages.
Enphase sunlight backup is a new system on the block that can help in such cases. Its advanced IQ8 microinverters and smart systems can help you run the essential loads in your home during the day when there is sunlight available to produce power.
Enphase system is a great option that gives you the advantages of a system with storage without the same cost. Here in this blog, we will discuss how the Enphase energy system works and how it gives you backup power during the day without batteries. Read on!
What is Enphase Made Up Of?
Let’s get a bit technical to understand how the sunlight backup system works. The system needs some essential parts to work seamlessly. Here’s what you need
- Solar panels mounted on the roof or in any other arrangement
- Enphase app to get the system functioning
- IQ8 Microinverters
- IQ combiner 4/4C
- System shutdown switch
- IQ System controller 2
- IQ load controllers
In addition to these, you can also have IQ batteries in case you want to operate the system in other configurations other than sunlight backup. We will explain this in detail in the upcoming sections for further clarity. Let’s look at some of these components in detail.
These microinverters essentially do the job of converting the DC current generated by the solar panels to AC current. IQ8 microinverters are grid-forming meaning that they do not need the grid’s AC waveform to act as a guide. These microinverters can thus operate both on-grid and off-grid, allowing the system to switch seamlessly between solar and grid power during grid outages.
Microinverters, unlike string inverters, work at an individual panel level. This is helpful when you have a faulty solar panel. Microinverter technology allows for other panels to work independently without using the damaged one while using string inverters would have meant that the whole system shuts down. Using proprietary Burst Mode™ technology, IQ8 series microinverters can work even in low light conditions to extract more power and keep the system powered.
IQ Combiner 4/4C
IQ combiner is the device that aggregates all the microinverter circuits and it also keeps track of the amount of energy being produced and consumed using the Enphase sunlight backup system. It also comes integrated with the IQ gateway which is how you monitor and control the entire system using the Enphase app. The combiner comes with an LTE-M1 modem. You can also opt for a separate modem if you are so inclined.
IQ System Controller 2
The system controller is what helps the whole backup system work seamlessly with the grid. It connects the various modules including the Enphase IQ8 microinverters, battery systems if you have any, generators, and grid power. It can switch seamlessly from grid power to solar backup in case there is a grid outage.
It also helps with islanding, where you are ensuring that the solar power system is not sending energy into the grid in case of grid failure ensuring the safety of maintenance workers who are probably going to be working on the grid. The system controller can support a solar-only configuration and also can support battery storage as well as external generators in case you are using them.
IQ Load Controllers and Essential Loads Panel
These are the system components responsible for managing essential load circuits in the system and helping it work seamlessly. A home essentials backup should only include minimal loads. The backup loads cannot exceed 30% of the overall output of the system and the load controllers help manage this by shedding excess loads in case of grid failure.
Each IQ load controller provides backup to 2 essential load circuits and the overall system can handle 2 load controllers. This allows you to get essential load solutions for 4 important circuits in your home depending on your needs. You can control these loads using the app.
The Enphase app is the critical interface that lets you control the system from your phone. You can set the system up, monitor the system, and control it using the app. Since the system comes with wi-fi connectivity, you can control the various functionalities and keep track of how much power is being produced by the system. It also allows you to do circuit-level control by choosing what loads to allow and which ones to be switched off depending on the power availability.
How Does the Enphase Sunlight Backup System Help?
Overall, the system is designed to help you have a solar-powered home. Enphase system can work in 4 different modes and all these modes give you different functionalities.
- Solar-only mode- the traditional system which is grid-tied. You will not have any backup power in case there is an outage in the grid.
- Sunlight backup – This is the most interesting configuration where it switches seamlessly from grid power to solar power during the day when the sun is shining. The components we discussed provide backup power to essential load circuits that you choose when grid power fails. Depending on the irradiance, the power generated varies and the system moderates the loads automatically.
- Home essentials backup– In this configuration, you need to add Enphase IQ batteries for storage. During outages and when solar power is not available, the system switches to battery backup to run essential appliances and devices at home. You would need a 3/3T battery to work in this configuration
- Full energy independence – This is the mode where you can run your entire home on solar power. As you can imagine, you would need powerful batteries with larger storage capacities for this to work. You’ll need Enphase 10/10T batteries to set your home up in this configuration.
Out of all the configurations, the sunlight backup mode is which gives you the best results if you want a solar energy system without batteries. If you are living in an area with ample sunlight during the day, and you have frequent power outages, the sunlight backup can power essential appliances and devices in your home.
You are saving costs by relying on solar power whenever available and it also gives you backup power when the grid is offline. You get the functionalities that a solar power system with battery storage gives without having to invest in batteries which can turn out to be a big cost. Over time, you can upgrade the system to include storage batteries and generators if you are planning to.
The Enphase Sunlight backup system is a breakthrough innovation in the space of solar power. Solar power is an area where technology is advancing fast and this is one of the most advanced systems out there today.
How much does a solar battery backup system cost? this is something we get asked a lot. By eliminating the need for battery storage and providing the same function, The Enphase sunlight backup system brings down the cost of solar power installation considerably. System designers have the flexibility to set various essential home circuits as you wish to make sure that the most important appliances/devices never go off.
For homeowners planning to switch to solar energy, the sunlight backup system is a cheaper and more powerful alternative to get started without having to spend a lot on battery storage and installation costs.
Thinking about going solar? Enlightened solar is the go-to service provider for residents in California. With hundreds of successful installations, we have deep expertise in helping you select and set up the right solar power system, including the Enphase sunlight backup. Talk to us today to get a quote.