Enphase’s IQ8 Sunlight Backup Microinverters promise backup power without solar batteries. The concept is new to the solar industry and can be difficult to get your head around.
In this blog, we’ll explain what Enphase IQ8 Sunlight Backup Microinverters are and the difference between using a regular solar battery backup.
What are Enphase IQ8 Sunlight Backup Microinverters?
A microinverter is a component that safely converts solar energy into electrical power. But what makes the IQ8s so special?
Enphase’s IQ8 Microinverters are unique because they can provide your home with essential electricity when the grid is down, even without solar batteries installed.
Put simply, the microinverters process solar panel output on your property. There’s no need to send the energy to the utility grid for DC to AC conversion.
There are clear limitations, however. Back-up power is only available when the sun is out – which is where the name ‘Sunlight Backup’ comes from. So if the grid is down in a storm, with big dark clouds, or it’s night, you won’t get any power.
But as you don’t need to spend a cent on solar batteries, the Enphase IQ8 Sunlight Back-Up Microinverters are appealing for many new solar homeowners.
How to Have IQ8’s Provide Power in a Grid Failure
So how do you benefit from the IQ8’s Sunlight Backup ability?
You need to install the ‘Smart Switch’ and necessary backup loads infrastructure. Components, wiring and installation costs are valued at around an additional $4,000-$5,000. But that’s before the Federal Solar Tax Credits which can significantly reduce your costs.
These installations will ensure your microinverters provide power in the event of a grid dropout.
What Loads Can Be Powered with Enphase ‘Sunlight Backup’?
Only essential electrical loads can be powered with Enphase Sunlight Backup Microinverters. Enphase says using them to power the entire home will result in a poor experience and is not supported by Enphase.
- Backup loads should not exceed 30% of the total rated AC output power of the IQ8s on your roof.
- For example: A system with 24 IQ8s = 5.7 kW AC. So the backup load should not exceed 1.7 kW AC – 30% of 5.7 kW AC.
- Electric car chargers, refrigerators and a few small loads are fine.
Why Use Encharge Batteries to Fill Gaps in Daylight
So what do you do if you want more than the ‘Sunlight Backup? After all, grid outages usually occur during storms – when there is little to no sunlight.
That’s where Encharge batteries come in. Solar batteries can fill in the gaps, so you have sufficient power even in disaster scenarios.
Imagine a big storm arrives. There are deep, dark clouds above. Then the grid fails. Thanks to your Encharge batteries, you can still watch movies, make calls, cook and much more. Without the batteries, you’d very quickly lose power.
What is a Battery Backup?
Backup batteries can be hooked up to solar panel systems to provide homes with electricity when the grid is down. Solar battery storage and backup inverters are required.
The required battery capacity will vary depending on the electrical demands. Some people will go all-out to ensure full-electrical backup; other people will reduce costs by focusing on backup for essential electrical outputs only – such as appliances, lighting, phones and wifi.
What’s in an Enphase IQ8 Sunlight Backup System?
The IQ8 Sunlight Backup Systems consisted of IQ8 Series Microinverters, IQ System Controller 2, IQ Combiner 4C, 2x IQ Load Controller and other components.
- IQ8 Series Microinverters: Enphase’s most powerful, software-defined series of microinverters. Powered by a proprietary smart chip that makes on and off-grid switching smooth.
- IQ Combiner 4/4C: Aggregates the solar microinverters circuits.
- IQ Gateway: On-site intelligence and cloud connections, allowing you to monitor the system on the Enphase App.
- IQ System Controller 2: Automatically detects grid power outages for a seamless transition to backup power.
- IQ Load Controller: Circuit-level control for 2x240V loads or 4x120V loads. So you can switch between powering common household needs or more powerful demands such as vehicle chargers and electric dryers.
- Enphase System Shutdown Switch: Shutdown switches are a must-have for IQ8s. They allow you to turn off the system, connect your home to the utility grid and disable backup capabilities.
How Fast Does an Enphase Sunlight Backup Power On?
After a system shutdown, Enphase’s IQ8 Microinverter Sunlight Backup system takes the following durations to provide power:
- System restart with highest priority loads powered on: 00:00:52 to 00:01:57.
- Refrigerator powered on: 00:01:14 to 00:02:19
- Kitchen lights powered on: 00:01:36 to 00:02:41
- Microwave powered on: 00:01:58 to 00:03:03
Other Benefits of Using Enphase IQ8 Microinverters
- Shade-Tolerant and Failure-Resistant: With independent control and monitoring, the system is more resilient to failure. When one panel drops out, the rest of the array will keep working at full capacity. Shading impacts are reduced.
- Flexible System Design: No restrictions on layout or string sizing.
- Modular & Expandable: Add more panels and inverters when you’re ready!
- Backup-Ready: Easy to add backup batteries to the system.
- 25-year warranty: Enphase provides a 25-year warranty.
Read Enphase’s own IQ8 guide here.
Install Solar Panels in 2022 to Save Money!
- In 2022, you can reduce solar system installation costs by 26%! That’s thanks to Federal Tax Credits.
- However, these credits will reduce by 4% in 2023! And get lower and lower each year.
- If your installation is valued at $30,000, you could save $7,800 in 2022!
Install IQ8 Sunlight Backup Microinverters in Florida
If you’re interested in installing a solar system or adding EnphaseIQ8 Sunlight Backup Microinverters, then call us today.
Florida Power Services “The Solar Power Company” is the Sunshine’s states leading solar power installer and would love to help you save thousands of dollars in 2022 while installing these new exciting backup microinverters.
With over 20 years of experience, we are regarded as one of the leading locally based solar companies in Florida.