Inverter manufacturers add in-house batteries for seamless pairings
As demand for residential batteries continues to grow due to government incentives for systems and the need to help the grid during extreme weather, more inverter manufacturers are joining in. Companies such as Enphase, SolarEdge and Tigo Energy have started producing their own home batteries for seamless technology links.
Enphase released its residential Encharge battery in 2020 (now called the IQ battery), but rolled out its advanced hybrid microinverter in 2021. even without storage. But when combined with the company’s battery, the microinverter is even more powerful.
“The Ensemble system is so compelling because it is an all-in-one solar + storage system from one company, which means perfect compatibility of components, a single point of contact for service and support, and a management platform that controls the entire system,” said Michael Pane, owner at Synergy Solar, in a press release.
Enphase’s AC-coupled battery solution uses lithium iron phosphate (LFP) chemistry and comes in 10.1 kWh and 3.4 kWh capacities. There are no size restrictions when pairing these batteries with IQ8 microinverters, so full-home backup is an option for those willing to spend the cash.
In the field of string inverters, SolarEdge released its first residential battery solution in the fall of 2021. The DC-coupled lithium-ion SolarEdge Energy Bank provides 9.7 kWh of backup power and can be connected in parallel for up to nine batteries in total. At the same time, the company released its new Energy Hub inverter models that can wirelessly connect to SolarEdge batteries and other smart energy devices, such as the SolarEdge Home EV Charger.
The new battery and inverter line is part of SolarEdge’s complete residential solution called SolarEdge Home, which is controlled from the mySolarEdge mobile app.
“The need for reliable backup power for the home has never been greater,” said Peter Mathews, general manager of SolarEdge, North America, in a press release. “We have developed an integrated solar and battery solution that allows for easier and faster installation time and allows homeowners to power more of their daily lives with clean, renewable energy.”
Tigo also recently entered the hybrid inverter + storage space after focusing solely on MLPE since its inception in 2007. The company’s new Energy Intelligence (EI) inverter and battery product lines are designed by Tigo, but manufactured by unnamed partners.
Tigo’s LFP EI Battery systems are rated at 9.9 kWh per enclosure and can be scaled up to 40 kWh, with four enclosures per inverter. The system is managed via the Tigo EI mobile app that diagnoses problems and enables remote software upgrades.
“With the addition of the battery and inverter products, we now offer a comprehensive solar and storage system that retains the flexibility and choice our customers have come to expect from Tigo,” said Zvi Alon, CEO of Tigo Energy, in a press release.
It’s not easy to add a brand new product to a manufacturer’s range. Other major residential inverter manufacturers, such as SMA, Fronius and CPS America, still focus on making inverters and certifying their compatibility with third-party battery manufacturers. But if the vertical integration trend continues, that could change in the near future.