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The Enphase Ensemble Storage System is Coming — and Run on Sun has it!

Run on Sun is proud to be one of the first solar installation companies in the U.S. to offer the Ensemble Energy Storage System from Enphase Energy!

Many of our clients have been clamoring for a storage solution, especially our SCE clients who are suffering through frequent outages, seemingly at the worst possible time. Even when you have a solar power system, when the grid goes down, your solar power system goes down as well! Talk about adding insult to injury.

But adding storage, particularly the smart storage solution that we are now offering, is a game changer, as this video from Enphase makes clear…

As you can see, Ensemble allows you to continue to enjoy the benefit of your existing (or new) solar power system, regardless of what the grid - or SCE - does!

In addition, for clients on Time-of-Use rates, adding Ensemble allows you to shift your energy usage, storing up energy during the middle of the day, and using it during the peak evening hours, maximizing your return on investment!

Learn more about the details in the sections below…

The Genius of IQ8

At the heart of the Ensemble System is the revolutionary IQ8 microinverter, the first truly grid-agnostic inverter on the market. What do we mean by "grid agnostic"? Simply that the IQ8 can work connected to the grid, or independent of the grid when the grid fails. This microgrid capability is what allows your solar power system to keep functioning even during a blackout, whether intended or accidental.

The Ensemble system incorporates the IQ8 microinverter to provide you with a complete system from a single manufacturer to help you keep the lights on when those around you are sitting in the dark.

The Encharge Storage Device

The Encharge storage device comes in two sizes that can be combined together to provide as much storage as needed: a 3 kWh device (called Encharge 3) and a 10 kWh device (called Encharge 10). Both of these devices contain IQ8 microinverters inside (four in the Encharge 3 and twelve in the Encharge 10) that both serve to charge the battery, and then convert the power from the battery to power your loads (lights, refrigerator, A/C) when needed.

Both units come with a ten-year warranty.

Simply Safer

The battery chemistry used in both of the Encharge devices is Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) which is inherently safer than competitors' Lithium Ion batteries. In addition, the Encharge battery system is AC coupled, meaning that there are no high voltage DC outputs.

Encharge 3

Here is the datasheet for the Encharge 3. The Encharge 3 has a 3.36 kWh battery and a continuous output power rating of 1.28 kW, and a peak output power of 1.92 kW (for 10 seconds) to allow for the starting power demands of home appliances.

The Encharge 3 weighs 116 pounds and is 14.45" wide, 26.14" tall, and 12.56" deep. It can be mounted indoors or out (NEMA 3R rated), but you will want to keep it out of direct sunlight. The unit operates with natural convection, no fans needed.

Encharge 10

Here is the datasheet for the Encharge 10. The Encharge 10 is actually three Encharge 3 units combined with a common cover. Encharge 10 has a 10.5 kWh battery (10.08 kWh usable), with a 3.84 kW continuous output power and a peak power output of 5.7 kW (for 10 seconds).

The Encharge 10 measures 42.13" wide, 26.14" tall, and 12.56" deep. With cover and mounting bracket it weighs 346 pounds.

The Enpower Smart Switch

The Enpower Smart Switch monitors the grid and in the event of an outage, automatically isolates your home from the grid and allows the Ensemble system to create its microgrid so that the critical loads in your home keep on working!

Here is the Enpower datasheet. The Enpower Smart Switch is rated at 200 amps, and has interconnection capabilities for up to 80 amps of PV (i.e., 52 Enphase IQ7+ microinverters), 80 amps of storage, up to 200 amps for critical loads, and a future capability for a generator connection.

The Enpower is 19.7" wide, 36" tall, and 9.7" deep. It weighs 82 pounds and is also rated for indoor or outdoor mounting.

Ensemble Use Cases

The Ensemble System is flexible enough to support a number of different use cases including Whole-Home Backup, Partial-Home Backup, and Time-of-Use Arbitrage. You can configure the system to meet your needs!

Whole-Home Backup

In the whole-home backup scenario, the Enpower Smart Switch is placed between the utility meter and the main load distribution panel, as shown here:


As you can see in the diagram, the Enpower Smart Switch is located between the meter socket and the main load panel. In this use case, it is expected that the Ensemble system will be sized large enough to power potentially the entire main load panel and thus, all of the loads in the home.

The PV array connects via the IQ combiner (which also houses the Envoy for monitoring the system), which then connects to the Enpower Smart Switch, as do the Encharge battery units.

There are a couple of considerations here.

First, at least in the Run on Sun service area, it is rare to see the meter located apart from the main load panel. Here in southern California, almost all of our service installations make use of so-called "all-in-one" panels where the meter socket and the load panel are in the same physical unit. To do a whole-home backup, that service panel would need to be replaced.

In addition, this is a costly way to go, and frankly, not really needed. A more practical approach is to just backup your most critical loads, which brings us to the partial-home backup use case.

Partial-Home Backup

In a partial-home backup, some of the loads are connected to a separate "backup" sub-panel, and those are the loads powered by the Ensemble system, as shown here:


Under this use case, the existing service panel can remain, but the circuits that need to be supported during an outage (e.g., refrigerator, lights, maybe a smaller A/C unit) are re-routed to the backup sup-panel. That sub-panel is then connected to Enpower.

This will be the more economical approach to having power during a grid failure.

In either case, the size of the Ensemble system must be selected based on the actual loads to be powered, and how long each day they need to operate.

At Run on Sun we have been trained by the experts at Enphase to make sure that the backup system we install will meet your needs, without breaking your budget!

Time-of-Use Arbitrage

Time-of-Use arbitrage is a fancy way of saying that a storage system allows you to take advantage of TOU rates (such as those used by Southern California Edison) to maximize the return on your investment. Here's how it works: in a PV system without storage, when you produce more energy than the loads at your home need, you export that energy onto the grid. Under TOU rates the value of that exported energy is dependent upon when it is exported. Typically, a PV system will be exporting to the grid in the middle of the day, and under the more recent TOU rates, the value of that energy is relatively low. However, when you come home in the evening, and start turning on appliances and the A/C, you are paying for energy from the grid at the much higher on-peak rate.

Specifically, during the summer with SCE's TOU-D-4 rate, the on-peak rate is 40¢/kWh, whereas the middle of the day, off-peak rate is 22¢/kWh, nearly a 2:1 ratio!

But add storage to the equation and instead of exporting energy to the grid in the middle of the day, you use it to charge your Encharge batteries. Then when you come home, instead of purchasing energy from the grid, you draw it from your stored energy in the Encharge batteries, thereby increasing the value of the energy produced by your PV system.

So while grid outages are relatively rare, with TOU arbitrage, your Ensemble system is saving you more money, every day!