Tag: "Enphase Ensemble"

12/01/20

  12:56:00 am, by Sophia   , 863 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Residential Solar

Installing Solar in a Time of Lockdowns

Editor’s Note: As Los Angeles County sees new COVID-19 cases spiking to over 5,000 per day, we wanted to update our followers and potential clients on how things are shaking out.  We just learned that the wife of one of our roofers is ill with the disease and he is in quarantine. Needless to say, we are hoping for her full and swift recovery.  So while this is anything but business as usual, we are still here and working, albeit moving slower than we would like.  We asked Sophia to remind you of just how we work and let you know that we are looking forward to hearing from you soon!  Take it away, Sophia!

Sophia MazurekRun on Sun is Very Much Open!

Despite the COVID-19 restrictions, we are still safely operating here at Run on Sun! The great thing about installing solar is that it requires little close-client contact! When we receive new inquiries, we are able to complete the entire solar install process from site evaluation to final inspection at a distance, and of course, masked. We prioritize your safety and our safety over everything.

Since we are still open and currently working on projects, we want to give you a little insight on the Run on Sun process!   

Since 2006, we have been installing quality solar and storage systems. We pride ourselves on being 100% up-front with our potential clients. As we all know, solar can be quite the investment! It is important for us to make sure each system is going to have economic benefits and will be valuable to the home. These benefits can greatly vary based on location, roof factors, and shading. We want to assure that you are not going to be putting in more money than you are getting out. Your solar system should eventually result in an investment income. In other words, going solar with us will greatly reduce or eliminate your electric bills and will have an economic return! Unfortunately, there are always going to be some houses that will not reap the benefits of solar.

Oscar the RoS drone!A site evaluation with Run on Sun is an easy, stress-free process! First, we will collect your energy usage history to determine your potential system size. We will then come to your property with our drone (we call him Oscar!) and capture aerial images, which will give us detailed monthly solar-resource data from your roof. (We aim for an average annual sun exposure of 80% or more to go forward with a project.) After we have gathered all necessary data, we use a sophisticated software service called Scanifly to create a precise 3D model of your home with solar included. A comprehensive proposal of the system, quote, and savings will be sent to you free of charge!

Run Down of Our Selected Products

Here at Run on Sun–we value quality and have carefully chosen our products from extensive research and testing. Our go-to panel manufacturer for each system is made by LG (you know, the Life is Good folks!).  LG’s  durable and reliable panels have been giving us the most efficient results for years. We trust LG to provide us with reasonable prices, amazing quality, and impeccable aesthetics. In addition, each panel has a 25-year warranty so there are zero financial penalties if anything were to malfunction!

We also use all Enphase products, including the IQ7+ microinverter and the Envoy monitoring device, which allows us and our clients to view system production. We are also now installing the Ensemble Energy Storage System, that can be a terrific addition, particularly for clients in the SCE service area. We have been partners with Enphase since 2009 - we installed system ID 1,470!  They are re-imagining the solar industry by making the process easier, faster, and by far–more reliable. Each microinverter comes with a 25-year warranty and allows for complete customer inclusion by making their monitoring system comprehensive and mobile-friendly.

Why go with Run on Sun?

The solar market is competitive and there are a lot of installers out there! Here at Run on Sun, Founder & CEO Jim Jenal is NABCEP certified, and we are constantly updating our knowledge as the solar world continues to evolve. The way we view solar is a little different from other companies. We recognize how big of an investment going solar can be. However, it is one of the best things you can do for yourself and for the world. We want to make sure our customers understand every single aspect of the process and are getting all questions answered thoroughly. For us, it’s not about selling a system. It’s about making sure solar is going to be beneficial for you. Run on Sun is always 100% transparent with each client. If we run the numbers and there is little economic advantage–we will highlight that from the start. Our motive to install solar stems from our passion for the planet and for the people. We put in the necessary time and effort to ensure the highest quality of system is achieved, and we go the extra lengths to help our customers in any way possible.

So–what are you waiting for? Get a free solar quote now! We would love to hear from you.

Go Solar Now!
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09/30/20

  01:09:00 am, by Sophia   , 323 words  
Categories: Energy Storage

Power Start - Giving Storage Systems a Boost

Ensemble lab

Enphase Ensemble Lab in Petaluma

When you are turning on your AC or other large household appliances, you probably don’t think about how much current these systems require to start-up. Yet many appliances are going to be pulling anywhere from 2 to 2.5 times their regular running current to complete the start-up process. This large change in amperage is what we call a “surge current”.

“Surge current refers to a short-term spike in power demand from a particular appliance to get it started…” For example, when your car battery dies– you have to jump it using another cars battery. “Something similar happens for high load appliances in your home when they are turned on,” suggests Enphase.

With the recent fires and grid blackouts– Californians are coming to grips with the pressing need for solar energy backed by smart storage. The current storage systems on the market have struggled to keep up with surge current loads. This makes it nearly impossible for homes to be independent from the grid. Your system may be able to keep your appliances running, but what happens when they stop? 

According to Enphase, “This inability to handle power-hungry appliances has been a challenge for battery storage systems for years… until now.” 

Into that void now comes the new Power Start™ by Enphase. This technology is designed to help reliably start every appliance in your home during a blackout. Power Start’s unique algorithm detects when a large appliance is trying to start back up and automatically disperses the same amount energy over a fraction of a second. 

This technology can be added onto the Encharge 10 battery systems, which have a continuous power rating of 3.84kWs and a surge power rating of 5.76kWs for 10 seconds.

You can click this link to find common surge current demands within different appliances.

The new Power Start by Enphase is a necessary and vital addition to battery storage systems. This technology will improve reliability and independence from the grid.

08/20/20

  01:44:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 761 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Climate Change, Residential Solar, Energy Storage

Behind the Meter to the Rescue!

It’s hot here in California, fry an egg on the sidewalk style hot, and the grid is feeling the heat.  The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) - the entity responsible for managing the grid - has issued warnings about possible outages, and even our local utility, Pasadena Water & Power, sent out emails to customers warning that cutoffs might be necessary.  The extreme conditions have prompted some extreme reactions, blaming the State’s shift to more and more renewables as the cause of the problem.  But overlooked in all of this is the contribution of local solar power systems, “behind the meter,” that have greatly improved the present situation, and with more aggressive utilization of storage, could do even more.  Here’s our take…

Blame Game

Let’s start by looking at what is causing the present problem. As we all know too well, we are in the middle of a pandemic and conditions in California have been depressingly awful, with a 7-day moving average of new cases at nearly 9,000.  As a result, a lot more people than usual are working from home, driving up electricity loads as we struggle to remain sane, and if possible, cool.  That’s been tough, as the entire state is in the grip of a week-long heat wave, with temperatures soaring above 100 degrees, and in some places, above 110!  All of that has created record demands for electricity and the grid has struggled to meet that need, with spot prices hitting all-time highs.

For those opposed to California’s efforts to “green the grid,” this provides an opportunity to go on offense. Cue Republican Assemblymember, and Vice-Chair of the Committee on Utilities and Energy, Jim Patterson:

You can’t run a 21st century economy that’s the fifth largest on the planet with wind and solar. I have been warning over and over again that the policies coming out of the democrat-controlled legislature and Governors’ office are creating the conditions for blackouts and brownouts and here we are seeing the evidence.

Wow, just how wrong can you be?  Let’s be clear: no 21st-century economy is going to survive the century if we don’t figure out how to do so with solar, wind and other, non-fossil fuel based sources of electricity.  And despite the predictable piling on from climate change deniers, there are multiple paths ahead for getting to an all-green electric grid.

Behind the Meter to the Rescue!

All of the stories about the blackouts, however, ignore the contribution - both present and future - of behind the meter resources, that is, local, rooftop solar.  Our friends over at CALSSA sent out the following graph that helps to make those contributions concrete:

Behind the meter solar and storage contributions to the grid

There’s a lot going on here so let’s break it down.  The brown curve is the actual reported demand data from CAISO on August 14th.  But without the contributions from the million plus behind-the-meter solar installations the actual load would have been significantly greater, as shown by the yellow line.  That is capacity the ratepayers of California did not have to purchase, but still benefited from its production.  Moreover, as the yellow line shows, the peak demand is actually at 3 p.m., but thanks to behind-the-meter installations, the peak on the grid is both lower, and later, a fact not often explained to the public.

The vertical lines mark the period last Friday that was subject to rolling blackouts - from roughly 7 to 10 p.m.  As the merger of the yellow and brown lines around that time indicate, solar production is no longer a factor.  But there is still a role to play as storage begins to be deployed with ever greater frequency.  CALSSA’s policy director, Brad Heavner (who created this illustration), notes:

If California builds 3 GW of additional energy storage systems at customer locations that can be dispatched during grid shortages, it would further trim evening peak needs. This is shown in the figure as the dotted blue line. CALSSA estimates the state can achieve this level of build-out within the next five years with state policies.

This is certainly doable, but it will take ongoing financial support, and preferably a more transparent rebate program than the present, byzantine SGIP program.

Ironically, the utilities are pushing their customers into purchasing more storage, as the public’s patience with grid outages - whether from rolling blackouts, or utility initiated public safety power shutoffs - is at an all-time low. As sophisticated products like the Enphase Energy Ensemble Storage system become available, more and more solar consumers will become storage consumers as well.  Once again, the ratepaying public will benefit from those investments, and hopefully all of us will be able to keep our cool!

08/14/20

  02:55:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 828 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Residential Solar, Energy Storage, Solar Repairs

Building on a Legacy: Enphase Opens Ensemble to Earlier Generation Micros!

On Tuesday, August 11, 2020, Enphase sent out a notice to its top installers alerting them that starting in December, the Ensemble Storage System would support earlier generation microinverters and not just the IQ series as had been originally announced.  We contacted Enphase to learn more, and here is our report…

Some Background…

Last November we wrote about the coming Ensemble rollout.  In describing how Ensemble could be incorporated with existing systems we wrote:

First, you need to have IQ microinverters.  At least as of the initial rollout of this system, the older microinverters are not supported.  That means that the M and S-series of microinverters have to be replaced to IQ-series microinverters to work with Ensemble.  (I do not know if this will change in the future, but it is the guidance that we are getting at this time.)  It is possible that there will be some sort of replacement program (like Enphase did with the legacy M-190 customers), but I have not gotten any word about such a plan yet.

As we were told by Enphase CEO, Badri Kothandaraman, at SPI last year, it was important for Enphase to focus on a successful launch of Ensemble, and the way to do that was to concentrate on pairing it with the more capable IQ series of microinverters.  It had been disappointing news, but understandable given the challenges of bringing a product as technically sophisticated as Ensemble to market.

So I was more than a bit surprised when I saw the announcement from David Ranhoff, Chief Commercial Officer at Enphase, that Ensemble would be able to support M215 and M250-based systems as of December!  Of course this raised nearly as many questions as it answered, so I reached out to Enphase for more details.  

What We Know Now

I was able to speak with Utsav Ghosh, Senior Product Manager, about the details behind the announcement.

Our first question was: What about the S280’s?  They are more capable than the M-series, so are they included?  Sadly, no, not at this time.  Given that the M215’s and M250’s are the largest segment of the non-IQ installed base, they generated the greatest number of inquiries, and so they got the staffing attention.

I remarked that given the relatively short window between when Ensemble was available for the IQ micros and when it will be available for the M-series, why not just say that they would be supported.  The answer, it seems, is that in refining Ensemble, they realized that it would be easier than previously thought to fold in the M215/250’s.  This, of course, gives me hope that the S280’s won’t be far down the line.  Squeak, squeak!

Enphase M215 microinverter will now work with Ensemble Storage System  Enphase M250 microinverter will now work with Ensemble Storage System 
Enphase M215 Microinverter is Eligible…  As is the M250 to work with the Ensemble Storage System! 
Alas, the S280 is out of the picture, for now! 
Envoy S

Our next question concerned communications - the M-series micros communicate via Power Line Communications (PLC) via the neutral and hot conductors.  The IQ-series does not bring a neutral to the roof, so it communicates PLC from hot to hot.  How does this get resolved?  

Turns out quite easily, assuming you have an Envoy-S, like the one on the right.  So how do the IQ8 microinverters in Ensemble communicate with the Envoy?  As it turns out, the same way that they do in an IQ system - via the add on Comm Kit that adds Zigbee capability to the Envoy-S.  The even better news is that Comm Kit is part of every Ensemble Storage System, so there is no additional cost for M-series systems over IQ systems!  Yay!  (The Envoy-S will need a new software version, but that is a free download.)

Our next concern had to do with speed issues: the M-series micros just aren’t anywhere near as computationally powerful as their IQ cousins.  Would the seamless backup functionality promised with the IQ series still apply?  Yes, we were assured.  Cool!

Which brought us to our final question: What ratio of legacy inverters to IQ8 inverters will be needed to allow the microgrid to operate?  Recall that with the IQ series we are presently being told that the ratio is 1.5:1, that is, an Encharge 10, that has 12 IQ8 micros inside, can support up to 18 IQ 6 or 7 micros on the roof.  (While we are hoping to see some movement on that front, that is the present design guidance.)  So what will the ratio be for the M-series?

Great question - no precise answer as of yet, other than “it will be more restrictive."  There is testing ongoing to establish precisely what those limits are, which is why the availability is being cited for December and not now.  Obviously we will be following this closely and will update you when we know more, watch this space!

I want to thank Utsav Ghosh for being so responsive and generous with his time.

And I especially want to thank Enphase for responding to the cries of their clients in getting this much-needed functionality addressed.  Great job, folks!

Now about those S280’s…

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Jim Jenal is the Founder & CEO of Run on Sun, Pasadena's premier installer and integrator of top-of-the-line solar power installations.
Run on Sun also offers solar consulting services, working with consumers, utilities, and municipalities to help them make solar power affordable and reliable.

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