Energy Storage

Battery Comparison: Enphase Encharge and SolarEdge + LG Chem

How do we choose which battery to buy for our home solar system? Can we just shop online for the cheapest unit and hook it up? We’ve now seen a decade of major development for home energy storage. Here in California, we’re fortunate to have access to the best in the business, from all over the world. As shipping delays are decreasing, it’s getting easier to procure these devices.

As electricity costs and power outages continue to increase, homeowners need solar and back-up more than ever. Yet pairing a battery with any random system can stall energy output. This is because the batteries are part of an overall system design, and don’t efficiently work with some inverters. When shopping, you probably shouldn’t leave out professional installers and make any impulse-purchases.

But how do technicians decide on the right fit? Given different home sizes and corresponding load demands, there’s a lot of consideration given to current models. Encharge and LG Chem are established batteries engineered for their respective inverters - Enphase and SolarEdge EnergyHub - to create functional storage systems. When buying one of these batteries to set up your power storage system, you would actually be buying an Enphase Encharge or a SolarEdge EnergyHub + LG Chem combination.

SolarUnion engineers have had the chance to evaluate in-depth these configurations on common California residential system sizes. They’ve assessed three key features: power output, storage capacity, and roundtrip efficiency.

After factoring in the need for mixed load demands and an Electric Vehicle (EV) charging station resulting in a typical 7kW residential system size, we’ve been able to give customers significantly greater reliability with the SolarEdge + LG Chem 16H option.

For smaller, fixed load demands, and short duration backup, the Encharge 10 selection works, but the power output of one battery might max out when there is simultaneous use of appliances drawing power demand above 3.84kW AC. Meanwhile, LG Chem 16H or even smaller SolarEdge EnergyBank 10 h (for less load) batteries easily handle mixed draws.

In terms of storage capacity, the LG Chem solution readily accommodates 64 kWh of battery storage, whereas even with 4 Encharge 10 units the storage capacity is only 40 kWh. So, for larger homes needing a robust storage set-up, 2 LG Chem batteries provide more storage, in less space. To reap the same wide capacity with most other models in a large residence, you would need 4-6 individual units, which increases the size of the investment dramatically.

Lastly, as an AC coupled solution, the Encharge battery has inherently inferior roundtrip efficiency compared to SolarEdge's DC coupled architecture. When load cycling for daily use, these kWh losses add up quickly and can negate or reduce the savings from time of use load shifting. All of these options come at a significant investment, so if you want a future proof, flexible solution that works efficiently for extended outages, our experience sends you in the direction of a SolarEdge EnergyHub inverter and a dc coupled battery backup option. Allow us to build a customized solution for you as part of our free, no pressure consultative estimate process.

PARTNERSHIPS FOR RELIABLE POWER-BACK UP

How can new or existing PV investors install an efficient system, if they’ve only planned for general home solar? By teaming with seasoned engineers who actively follow technological advances. SolarUnion’s unique approach for battery storage is to stay current with technology and directly partner with local consumers to provide optimal storage solutions. Like the solar systems we install, the batteries have extended warranties that safeguard reliability and save money. We are not just on the phone with customers. Our thorough, experienced design team works with you to accurately configure your system for present needs and the increased load imposed by new appliances. Accurate load calculation is crucial at a time when EV chargers are routinely installed, as California steadily gives up gas-powered cars. We can also upgrade existing systems to add backup.

In addition to our comprehensive battery solution services and installations, we offer solar readiness audits (including roof inspections), repair and maintenance services, plus electrical panel upgrades. From HOA solar to community solar, we are experts on all types of roofs and experienced in ground-mounted solar panels. Thanks to greater efficiency and lower cost of solar panels versus the price of electricity imposed by utilities, a home system only needs a few more panels to supply designated storage batteries.

ACCESSIBLE BACK-UP BEFORE THE NEXT FIRE SEASON

We strive to make solar equitable for all types of home and small business owners. For those not in a position to fully purchase battery backup before the next power outage, California is ahead of the nation with industry-specific, reliable lenders leading customers to successful outcomes. Service Finance, Mosaic, Energy Loan Network, CaliforniaFirst, and even credit unions such as Provident Credit Union are recent examples. While SolarUnion doesn’t directly represent financial groups, we have been able to effectively team with them and their diverse customers. Such a bridge often enables us to offer customers outstanding $0 down financing options with rates as low as 0.99% to own the system and the federal tax credits and state incentives that come with it.

The tax write-off of 26% of the cost of installing a solar energy system (or battery for earlier placed solar) will begin to drop after 2022, going to 22%, before going away in 2024.

WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY FOR NET ENERGY METERING (NEM2) BENEFITS

The current federal goal for 2035 is to see 40% of electricity generated by solar. At historically low finance costs, you can help the U.S. reach that goal. Moreover, by investing now, you enjoy the existing Net Energy Metering (NEM2.0) benefits, which, like the tax credit, are also projected to decrease after this year. You can sell electricity not used to the utility company, which offsets your monthly utility bill. When NEM2.0 is changed, those who haven’t already installed a system will only receive 50% of current prices paid for energy they supply the grid. Equally distressing are that credits towards winter bills from the existing True-Up arrangements will no longer be available.

By scheduling a 20-minute call with SolarUnion, you can discuss questions and details for building a robust backup system now. Feel free to place yourself directly in our calendar: https://calendly.com/phoneconsultationsolarunion or fill out the form on our website to schedule service, or call SolarUnion directly at (888) 815-6633.