Enphase battery: everything you need to know

Updated

Digital rendering of an Enphase Encharge storage system
Enphase batteries use the company’s signature IQ microinverter technology, and are a great way to keep the power flowing when the grid is down. Image source: Enphase

Enphase Energy is a huge name in solar, and is best-known for their industry-leading microinverters that allow solar systems to produce more energy than they could with traditional string inverters. 

Now, Enphase has expanded their product offerings to include solar batteries. They currently offer four battery models - the IQ Battery 3, 3T, 10, and 10T, all of which utilize Enphase’s popular microinverter technology.

In addition to batteries, Enphase has also created an entire energy storage ecosystem, aptly named the Enphase Energy System, that easily connects solar, storage, and even gas-powered generators, that allows homeowners to monitor every facet of their energy usage. 

Let’s take a closer look at how this all works, and if the Enphase IQ battery system is right for you.

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    What is the Enphase IQ battery and how does it work?

    The Enphase IQ battery is designed to work with grid-tied solar panel systems to provide homeowners with access to reliable backup power. 

    Just like with any solar battery, your solar panels will send excess energy they produce during the day to the Enphase IQ battery, which will then store the energy to be used later on when the solar panels aren’t producing enough electricity to run your home or when the power goes out.

    The following video gives an overview of how solar panels and batteries work together to power your home: 

    Enphase’s IQ batteries are AC-coupled. An AC-coupled battery is manufactured with a built-in inverter, making it easy to pair with existing solar panel systems. There are tons of AC-coupled batteries on the market (like the Tesla Powerwall) but what makes the Enphase IQ batteries unique is that they use microinverter technology

    It’s not clear how much of a benefit it is to use microinverters over more traditional battery inverters.

    Enphase also uses lithium iron phosphate battery modules, which makes them safer and longer-lasting than cobalt-based lithium-ion batteries

    Can you use the Enphase IQ battery with a gas-powered generator?

    Yes, Enphase has designed their IQ batteries to connect easily with gas-powered generators. 

    Don’t get us wrong, solar batteries are a great source of backup energy for when there’s a power outage. You could also utilize a solar generator. But, sometimes you just want the added security of a gas-powered generator that doesn’t need sunny weather to operate and can be quickly refueled. 

    Despite that, connecting solar systems with generators can be a bit tricky. The good news is, the Enphase storage system makes it easy to connect a gas-powered generator to your home and allows your solar panels, battery, and generator to operate all at the same time. Plus, you can monitor the generator and control how and when you want it to operate by using the Enphase App.

    Enphase batteries are compatible with most of the top generator brands, including Kohler, Generac, and Cummins. This isn’t a feature with most solar batteries today, so if you live somewhere that experiences frequent grid outages and you want to ensure you have the most reliable, uninterrupted power system available, Enphase IQ batteries could be the right solution for you. 

    Find out if solar-plus-battery-storage is worth it where you live

    How much do Enphase batteries cost?

    The Enphase IQ Battery 3 models will cost somewhere around $3,000, and the Enphase IQ Battery 10 Models will cost between $7,000 and $9,000 before installation costs are considered. 

    These prices are pretty standard when it comes to solar batteries. Keep in mind, installation and labor costs could add an additional $1,000 - $2,000 to the price. Actual installation costs will vary depending on your location and the installer you choose. 

    Depending on your energy storage system design, you might need to upgrade your electrical panel or get a backup sub-panel installed, as well. Electrical panel work can add another $1,000 on top of your other costs. 

    How to cut costs on your battery installation

    Although it is a bit pricey, the Enphase IQ does qualify for the 26% federal solar tax credit when it is paired with a solar panel system (whether you purchase your battery and have it installed with your solar system, or add it to an existing solar system). 

    Plus, homeowners in Arizona who are customers of Arizona Public Service can earn an additional $3,750 towards their battery installation costs through the utility’s battery storage program

    Learn more about all of the solar battery tax credits, rebates, and incentives you can qualify for in our in-depth guide.

    What types of Enphase batteries are available?

    Enphase offers four battery models:

    The IQ Battery 3 and 3T have identical operating specifications, but differ in physical size. The same goes for the IQ10 and 10T. 

    Let’s take a closer look at the performance metrics of the IQ batteries and how they stack up to other batteries on the market:

    Enphase IQ battery features
    Feature Enphase IQ battery 3/3T Enphase IQ battery 10/10T
    Usable energy capacity 3.36 kWh 10.08 kWh
    Round-trip efficiency 96% 96%
    Continuous power output 1.92 kW 3.84 kW
    Dimensions 14.45 in x 26.14 in x 12.56 in / 16.9 in x 30.5 in x 7.4 in 42.13 in x 26.14 in x 12.56 in / 50.5 in x 30.5 in x 7.4 in
    Weight 114.6 lbs / 107.6 lbs 341 lbs / 316.5 lbs

    Enphase IQ Battery 3/3T 

    Enphase IQ Battery 3/3T Image source: Enphase

    The Enphase IQ Battery 3 models are the smallest batteries offered by Enphase, in terms of both physical size and how much energy they can store. The 3T is slightly thinner and weighs about 7 pounds less than the IQ 3. 

    However, in terms of actual operating specifications, the Enphase IQ Battery 3 and 3T are identical. Both are able to store 3.36 kWh of usable energy and deliver 1.28 kW of power. This means one Enphase IQ Battery 3 can run your refrigerator, phone charger, a few lights, a WiFi router, a computer, and a TV for about 7 hours during a blackout. 

    Like we said, the Enphase IQ Battery 3 models are small, so if you’re looking to run bigger appliances or you want to cover a majority of your nightly electricity usage, the Enphase IQ 3 isn’t going to cut it. 

    The good news is that the IQ 3 battery is modular (meaning you can install more than one) and they can be paired with the Enphase IQ Battery 10 models, as well. Having the smaller 3.36 kWh option means you can find the energy storage system size that’s right for you, instead of having to purchase one that is too big or too small. 

    Enphase IQ Battery 10/10T 

    Enphase IQ Battery 10/10T Image source: Enphase

    Just like the IQ 3 models, the IQ Battery 10 and 10T models are the same in every way except for the size and warranty. The 10T model is thinner and lighter than the IQ 10. 

    Both IQ Battery 10 models come with 10.08 kWh of usable storage, which is way more than the IQ 3. For reference, the average american home uses about 29 kWh of electricity a day, so the IQ 10 stores about 35% of that. 

    But, for a battery this size, they have a pretty low power output at just 3.84 kW. Most solar batteries of this size have a power output of at least 5 kW. This means if you go with the Enphase IQ, you won’t be able to power as many appliances as other batteries, like the Tesla Powerwall or LG RESU Prime, can.

    On the bright side, the IQ 10 and 10T are modular, just like the IQ 3 batteries. So, if you needed more power or capacity to meet your needs, you could install more than one IQ battery to get the perfect system size. Just keep in mind that this will increase your installation costs. 

    What is Enphase’s IQ battery warranty?

    The Enphase IQ battery warranty states that the battery will operate at at least 70% of its initial capacity after it reaches one of the following conditions:

    • 10 years in age,
    • 4,000 cycles completed, or
    • 2.8 megawatt hours (MWh) of electrical throughput per kWh of rated capacity (which is just a fancy way of saying once 9.8 MWh of electricity has been discharged from the IQ 3 models and 29.4 MWh has been discharged from the IQ 10 models)

    Basically, this means after 10 years, your battery will be able to store at least 70% of the energy it was able to when you first installed it, but it could end up being less than 10 years, depending on how often you charge and discharge the battery. 

    So, which warranty benchmark are you most likely to hit first? If you are completely charging and discharging your battery every single day, you’ll probably reach that throughput measurement first, making your warranty go from 10 years to just about 8 years. 

    If you wanted to make sure that your battery would be warrantied for the full 10 years, you should only use about 80% of the power stored in your IQ battery every day. Your warranty terms can also vary depending on the conditions in which the battery is installed, which you can read in more detail about here

    Although there are some batteries on the market today that have better warranty terms (like the sonnenCore), this is fairly standard for most batteries. And because Enphase is known for being a reliable company with solid customer service, you can trust that they will honor your warranty should you run into any problems. 

    Is the Enphase IQ battery right for you?

    Enphase’s IQ battery models are pretty solid, but there are a few things to keep in mind if you’re considering installing them:

    • 1. The IQ batteries have a lower-than-average power output, so if you want to run power-hungry appliances like an air conditioner, you’ll have to install multiple IQ batteries. Or you could go with a different battery, like the Kohler Power Reserve, that has a higher power output.
    • 2. They’re designed to work with solar systems that have Enphase microinverters, which tend to be more expensive than solar systems that use other types of inverters. So, be prepared to spend more on the installation. 

    That being said, Enphase has a solid battery warranty and they’re one of the most reliable brands in solar. You can expect an IQ Battery to work well, and if there are any issues, you can trust them to honor their warranty. 

    Plus, the fact that the Enphase system can so easily pair with a generator is a huge bonus for homeowners who experience prolonged power outages. This is especially important if you have someone in your household who has critical medical equipment that needs continual power. 

    Not to mention, if you’re an Arizona homeowner looking to install battery storage and you’re a customer of Arizona Public Service, then the Enphase IQ battery is definitely the best battery for you, since it is one of only two batteries that qualify for the utility’s incentive program.  

    Overall, you probably won’t be disappointed with an Enphase energy system - they’re a trusted brand, you can easily customize the system size, they come at a decent price, and the energy system can be easily monitored through Enphase’s user-friendly app. 

    See what local installers are charging for solar-plus-battery storage systems
       

    Key takeaways

    • Enphase Energy has expanded beyond microinverters and now offers four of their own solar battery models, the IQ Battery 3, 3T, 10, and 10T.
    • Depending on the model you chose, the Enphase IQ batteries will cost anywhere between $3,000 and $9,000 before installation costs.
    • The biggest advantage of the Enphase IQ battery is that it can easily pair with a gas-powered generator to provide extra resilience in the event of a power outage.
    • Enphase’s batteries have average overall performance specifications, but fall on the lower end when it comes to power output so they can’t power as many appliances as their competitors.
    • The IQ batteries are modular, meaning you can install more than one in order to get the size and power output that best meets your energy needs.
     - Author of Solar Reviews

    Catherine Lane

    SolarReviews Blog Author

    Catherine is a researcher and content specialist at SolarReviews. She has strong interests in issues related to climate and sustainability which led her to pursue a degree in environmental science at Ramapo College of New Jersey.

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