Our Solar Batteries: Enphase vs. Panasonic

Our Solar Batteries: Enphase vs. Panasonic

What do solar panels do after dark? The answer is … not much. But solar batteries are another story.

While solar panels can generate substantial amounts of energy during the day, this all stops once the sun goes down. Solar batteries get around this problem by storing energy that panels produce during the day for use at night. Enphase and Panasonic produce some of the most popular solar batteries on the market. Find out what each one offers and which is the right option for your home or business.

Need help with finding and installing a solar battery?
Contact Bell Solar & Electrical Systems today!

What Exactly Is a Solar Battery and What Does It Do?

Solar batteries are designed to store excess electricity that solar panels produce during the day. Technically, NV Energy is a battery for your solar panels, as it allows you to store energy that your panels produce and draw from it later. However, this still leaves you subject to variable energy prices, which peak right at the end of the day when your panels stop generating. Contrary to popular belief, solar panels can’t provide energy during a power outage.

Most wall-mounted or stand-alone solar batteries store energy on-site in your home. Solar batteries provide a layer of redundancy that makes your home less reliant on utilities. They can help you smooth your energy consumption costs and protect you from future price spikes. During a power outage, they also offer a reserve of energy that your home can draw from without interruption. 

How a Solar Battery Works

To learn how solar batteries work, it helps to understand the entire journey that the energy they store takes. Once sunlight hits a solar array’s photovoltaic panels, it is converted to DC electricity, which is also the type of electricity that batteries store. However, homes run on AC energy, which means that the battery will eventually need to convert the electricity it stores from a DC to an AC current with a device known as an inverter. There are two types of batteries available to address this problem, each of which has advantages and drawbacks. 

AC batteries have a dedicated inverter and can accept either type of electricity while outputting an AC current. They will lose about 5% of the energy they collect to heat with each pass through the inverter but are compatible with any solar system. DC batteries require an external inverter but cost less and are more efficient than AC batteries, since there are fewer uses of the inverter. However, they can’t be retrofitted to older solar systems as easily as AC batteries can.

What to Look for When Shopping for a Solar Battery

There are a lot of solar batteries on the market and not all will fit your individual needs. 

  • Size: Battery sizes vary widely, so select one that can physically fit in your home.
  • Capacity: Solar batteries offer a wide range of capacities, so be sure to know your energy use and purchase one that doesn’t leave you with too much or too little capacity.
  • Battery lifespan: Check the lifespan and the cost of the battery before making a purchase. Depending on your needs and budget, you might choose a solar solution with a shorter or longer lifespan.
  • Warranty: The type of warranty solar battery manufacturers offer varies depending on the material used to make the battery. A lithium-ion battery will have a warranty of 10 years, while a lead acid battery may have a warranty for just a few years.
  • Type of battery: Lithium-ion batteries can last for a decade and require little maintenance. Lead acid batteries need to be vented to release hydrogen gas and may require distilled water each month, but are cheaper than lithium-ion batteries. Newer options such as flow, sodium nickel chloride, or lithium iron batteries are more expensive but can last longer.

Enphase

Enphase is a leading solar solutions provider that has sold about 20 million batteries worldwide. Enphase’s batteries integrate software to optimize performance while making it easy for homeowners to check in on them.

Enphase Enpower™ Smart Switch

Enphase Enpower™

The Enphase Enpower™ Smart Switch connects the home’s solar systems to the grid and facilitates the easy transfer of electricity from one source to another. It can detect grid failures and transition a home to backup power without significant interruption. It also serves as a single point for interconnection equipment, streamlining a home’s solar infrastructure. The unit comes with the following features:

  • 10-year limited warranty
  • Main breaker support (up to 200A)
  • Neutral-forming transformer
  • Split phase 120/240V backup

Enphase Encharge 3™ Battery

Enphase Encharge 3™

The Enphase Encharge 3™ can hold 3.36 kWh of energy in AC coupled storage. It includes backup capacity with a 1.28 kW power rating through four IQ 8X-BAT microinverters. An installer can design the system to match the needs of a homeowner, but it’s better for small to mid-sized homes. Key features include:

  • Ten-year limited warranty
  • Passive cooling
  • Software and firmware upgrades
  • Mobile app for remote monitoring and control
  • Optimization for time of use (TOU)
  • Lithium iron phosphate (LFP) chemistry

Enphase Encharge 10™ Battery

Enphase Encharge 10™

The Enphase Encharge 10™ battery consists of three Encharge 3™ storage units and can hold 10.08 kWh of energy in AC coupled storage. It also has backup capability and includes twelve IQ 8X-BAT microinverters that can provide 3.84 kW of power. It can be quickly configured by an installer to match your needs and is ideal for medium to large homes. Each Enphase Encharge 10™ battery comes with the following:

  • Three Encharge units
  • Ten-year limited warranty
  • Passive cooling
  • Software and firmware upgrades
  • Mobile app for remote monitoring and control
  • Optimization for time of use (TOU)
  • Lithium iron phosphate (LFP) chemistry

Panasonic

Panasonic manufacturers lithium-ion batteries that are used in some of the world’s most advanced electric cars. The company uses this same technology in its solar batteries. Thanks to their compatibility with most generators and solar arrays, Panasonic solar batteries are popular choices for homeowners. 

Panasonic EverVolt™ Battery

EverVolt™

The EverVolt™ is a solar battery that is ideal for residential use. Owners have the option of expanding capacity by buying more modules. This means the EverVolt™ can be used for large and small homes. This battery includes the following features:

  • Can work with new or existing solar arrays
  • Stand-alone option
  • EverVolt mobile app facilitates remote monitoring and management
  • Integrates with most new or existing solar systems and generators
  • Modular design 
  • Storage capacity ranges from 11.4 kWh to 17.1 kWh
  • 10-year warranty on the entire system

Turn to Bell Solar as Your Local Las Vegas Solar Expert

A solar battery can help you get the maximum return on your solar panel investment, but only if it’s installed correctly. Working with an experienced solar contractor can protect your battery from damage and preserve its warranty. As one of the very first contractors in Nevada to hold a photovoltaic license, we know solar. Contact us today if you’re interested in solar batteries or other solar components for your home or business, because you deserve to work with one of the leading solar companies in the Las Vegas area.