Smart solar microinverter can form microgrid during a power outage

October 29, 2021 // By Rich Pell
Smart microinverter can form microgrid during a power outage
Energy technology company Enphase Energy has announced what it says is its smartest solar microinverter yet.

The IQ8 software-defined solar microinverter, says the company, is capable of forming a microgrid during a power outage using only sunlight, providing backup power even without a battery.

“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,” says Badri Kothandaraman, president and CEO of Enphase. “Many homeowners often assume their solar systems will function if the sun is shining, even during a power outage. This has unfortunately not been true until today."

"Now, with IQ8," saysKothandaraman, "homeowners can realize the true promise of solar - to make and use their own power. IQ8 solar microinverters can provide Sunlight Backup during an outage, even without a battery.”

The IQ8 system comes in four different configurations: the first is “Solar Only”; the second is “Sunlight Backup” with no battery; the third is “Home Essentials Backup” with a small battery; and the fourth is “Full Energy Independence” with a large battery. While the first configuration is a standard grid-tied system, the remaining configurations are grid-agnostic systems which need an Enphase System Controller (formerly called Enpower smart switch) to island the home during an outage.

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

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 IQ8H microinverter is Enphase’s most powerful microinverter to date and has a California Energy Commission (CEC) efficiency of 97 percent. The multiple types of IQ8 enable seamless pairing with a full range of solar modules, even up to 540W DC.

IQ8 pilot installations began in Q3 with

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