One of the nagging concerns in the solar industry is what to do about those aging legacy systems? As systems age there can be reliability issues and finding compatible parts can be a real issue in a fast moving technology environment like solar power. Given all of that, we are pleased to announce the Enphase Update Program for Enphase Early Adopters. There is a lot to this program, including three distinct upgrade paths, so let's break it down step-by-step...
Who is Eligible?
This program is dedicated to the earliest adopters of Enphase microinverters, specifically the M175, D380, M190, and M210 models. (Of the eligible microinverter models, Run on Sun only ever installed the M210.) System owners that have M215's, M250's, or S280 microinverters are not eligible for this program.
|The Enphase M210 qualifies for the upgrade...
|While the subsequent generation M215 does not.
What are My Options?
There are three upgrade paths with varying benefits, costs, and timing, however, all three offer full 25-year product warranties and a two year service agreement. The three options are: Microinverter Upgrade, Full-System Upgrade, and Next-Generation Upgrade - let's take them one at a time.
The most cost-effective option is the Microinverter Upgrade because it takes advantage of your existing solar panels that are likely still in good shape. This upgrade provides all of the following:
- New Enphase IQ7-PD - the latest generation microinverter, powered down to be compatible with existing, earlier generation systems.
- New interconnection cable
- New IQ Envoy with both production and consumption energy measuring devices* (CTs).
Legacy owners can purchase this equipment directly from Enphase for just $67.50/panel - a really great price. Removal and re-installation labor will vary widely based on various factors including the difficulty of the roof, the quality of the original installation, and whatever upgrades need to be done, probably on the order of $150/panel.
*Note that not all systems will be able to do consumption monitoring depending on the existing service panel configuration.
When microinverters like the M210 were being installed, available panel wattage was much lower than today, but with the advent of electric vehicles, homeowners are in need of more energy than ever. The Full-System Upgrade provides a way to gain from today's higher power modules, but in a cost-effective manner.
Enphase Energized Solaria PowerXT-AC Modules
This upgrade path involves the Enphase Energized Solaria PowerXT-AC Module, which has an Enphase IQ7+ microinverter integrated onto the Solaria module. (You can see an image of the Solaria modules on the left.)
The module has a power production of 295 Watts, substantially greater than what was available for legacy modules. The cost to the homeowner for this upgrade path is $469/panel, which includes the AC module, cabling, and the Envoy for monitoring.
Labor costs for this upgrade path are likely to be substantially higher, in part due to the need for new racking (the module dimensions are somewhat unusual - 63.8" x 43.9" - which could necessitate a racking change), changes in the sizing of the branch circuits, and the need to pull permits for the new system. Those factors are mitigated somewhat by the upgrade cost most likely qualifying for the federal 30% tax credit since it is an all new system, as opposed to the Microinverter Upgrade, that won't.
Finally, the last upgrade option is to wait for the rollout of the Enphase IQ8 microinverter system. (You can read about what the IQ8 technology will provide here.) Unfortunately, there is no pricing information available yet for that upgrade path, and its availability is not until sometime in 2019 - probably the second quarter at the earliest.
What Happens if I do Nothing?
If your system is working fine, you don't really have a need to do anything. However, these earlier microinverters came with a 15-year warranty, which means that more than half of that warranty period has expired. Moreover, particularly compared to the M190's, the newest Enphase microinverters have significantly greater reliability (Enphase claims by an order of magnitude), so you would be upgrading to a more reliable product and extending your warranty protection by 25 years.
We will post again when we have more information regarding the Next-Generation, IQ8 upgrade. In the meantime, if you have questions about upgrading, please give us a call.