First Enphase battery storage system installed in Sydney house

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Enphase Energy has installed its first beta battery storage system at a Sydney house, in final phase of testing before mass market rollout.

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Just over six months after the first batch of Tesla Powerwalls went into Australian homes, major Tesla rival, Enphase Energy, has installed its first battery storage beta system at an installer’s house in Sydney, as part of a final phase of testing of the US-made technology before mass market rollout.

The Enphase Storage System, installed at the family home of Solaray Energy director Peter Thorne, includes four 1.2kWh AC batteries, which will store the excess solar energy generated by the house’s existing 5kW rooftop PV system.

Me-and-my-ACBs

“The installation was incredibly easy,” Thorne said in a statement on Thursday. “There were no modifications needed to my existing system as the… batteries are compatible with my existing Enphase-powered solar system, and they look great in my garage.”

enphase-battery-new

Enphase says one of the major benefits of its battery system is that it can be cycled twice a day, which means consumers can also buy and store power from the grid when it is cheapest, to use when the price is high.

“This is a key feature that many households with time-of-use billing will benefit from, and it effectively doubles a battery’s daily capacity,” Enphase said in a statement on Thursday.

Another advantage of the technology, according to Enphase, is that the batteries are AC, making them “inherently safer” than DC batteries, easier to install, and compatible with all existing solar installations.

Also, the small, modular design of the Enphase AC Battery allows households to size the systems accordingly, and to avoid overspending on storage capacity – or to add more capacity, later, if the need arises.

Thorne said the battery system installed at his house had allowed it to run almost entirely off solar power.

“I now see the power grid as nothing more than a backup, and that’s where I think we need to get to as a nation over the coming years,” he said.

“Because my partner and I are both at work during the day, battery storage allows us to catch any excess power we would otherwise be reluctantly giving away to our energy retailer at 5 cents a kWh.

“We would much rather see this power stored in batteries so that we can further reduce our power bills by using it when we come home from work.”

Solaray Energy director Jonathan Fisk the company had seen huge interest in the Enphase battery product, and that “months’ worth of installation slots” had already sold out.

“It is an incredible time for the industry,” Fisk said in a statement. “We are expecting the Enphase Home Energy Solution to be a top seller in Australia throughout 2016 and well into the future.”

Indeed, Enphase, like Tesla, has made Australia the first international market for the rollout of its energy storage products, lured by the attractive combination of high electricity prices and low solar feed-in tariffs.

It’s a strategy that appears to be paying off: In May, Enphase said orders for its battery storage products were running at double the targets, indicating huge interest in the “early adopter” market.

And in June, the company doubled its battery production targets in Australia, in response to the level of demand, from 12,000 and 15,000 units in the next six months and the following six months, to a total of 60,000 units for the 2016/17 financial year. That equates to around 70MWh.

“I believe millions of Australians will look at converting their homes to run off solar power given how easy it is to add batteries,” Thorne said.

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10 Comments
  1. Jennifer Gow 3 years ago

    There is more than a touch of obscure bullshit here. There is no such thing as an AC battery. Batteries store and yield DC power that is usually converted to AC by an inverter, The battery modules may input and output AC but the battery itself is DC. The other curious statement is that AC makes the system safer. This rather reminds me of the debate at the turn of the twentieth century between supports of Edison and Tesla about the relative safety of AC and DC. A number of animals and a few prisoners were electrocuted during this debate. For my part I avoid touching the 400 or so volts DC from my solar panels and the 240 volt mains. Either could kill me. Actually the 400 VDC is somewhat safer because it should have zero potential with respect to earth so I would have to simultaneously touch the + and – conductors which makes it safer than the 240 VAC between the inverter and switchboard which may be connected before the main ELCB on the board.

    • Don McMillan 3 years ago

      Correct. Unfortunately terminologies are abused by the marketing people. I think in this article they are referring to the battery having its own inverter connected to the grid rather than sharing the solar power inverter. Maybe some can confirm.

      • MaxG 3 years ago

        Exactly how it works… you then have two inverters! 🙂

    • MaxG 3 years ago

      Spot on; it is a play with words. The good old Selectronic GO PROs can do AC batteries for decades; except like you said there is no such thing as an AC battery. coming back to the GO PROs, they can work the power in all directions imaginable.

      • Jennifer Gow 3 years ago

        When companies bullshit like this I exclude them from much serious consideration in the near future when I will probably be in the market for battery storage in the face of escalating power prices.

        • Chokyi Nyingpo 3 years ago

          Well said – however, perhaps you should be directing your suggestions to Renew Economy’s reporter for telling us the bullshit. If the editor of the site can’t filter out the wheat form the chaff then it should not be reported.

          • MaxG 3 years ago

            The reporter is only reporting what Enphase said 🙂
            These postings are a means to ‘speak’ to any audience that cares to read about it.

  2. George Michaelson 3 years ago

    Editorial isn’t “whatever they submit we publish” -its the decision to publish or not publish. You chose to publish this statement. You published the quotes verbatim, with no associated observations. What inferences are we meant to draw from a site which doesn’t critically analyse what its publishing?

    Its lovely enphase are testing batteries. A site like this should find a way to put an editorial on it saying something. maybe “yes, there are some pretty bogus quotes in here, but noting that…”

  3. Kenshō 3 years ago

    Very interesting system having an inverter/charger for each battery in one module, hence able to upgrade modules and storage capacity at any time. With features such as this, it appears Enphase will capture a large slice of the market.

  4. Adam 3 years ago

    Given there are no prices here, and Mr. Thorne is a Solaray Energy director, which creates a severe conflict of interest (sorry), this system, at a guess, would be in the vicinity of $8-10K for a 4.8WKh combo. Compared to the new Tesla Powerball 2, that would kick them out of the park somewhat.
    Don’t get me wrong, Enphase are a top-notch brand (my system has their micro-inverters), but they need to do a Tesla, and quick, and halve their price.

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