Enphase Micro Inverters – M250 Review

The Enphase micro inverter… It’s one of the leading micro inverter brands on the market and it’s been around for quite a while now. Enphase have been quite successful in the US, although apparently still haven’t turned a profit! They were one of the fastest growing companies in the US in the tech sector according to this. So, are their products any good? Is it a good idea to get micro inverters in the first place?

enphase micro inverters

Are enphase units any good? You can see how solid the build is here.

Quick Background – Enphase Micro Inverters

Micro inverters are what they sound like. Yep, small inverters. So if you have say, 12 solar panels on the roof. In a “standard” setup, you’d have just 1 “string” inverter. In a micro inverter setup, you have a small inverter that sits under each panel (in this case 12). There are a number of benefits to using micro inverters which we won’t get into too much here.

enphase micro inverters

This is a standard enphase micro inverter (clear shot) M250 – 250W unit.

Enphase Micro Inverters – The Good

Like any micro inverter, enphase energy micro inverters have their pluses:

  1. They produce about 6% more power even if there is no shade at all.
  2. They are the best option if you have shade problems on your roof.
  3. They make panel-level monitoring possible – this is just awesome.

What’s special about enphase micro inverters? Well, here are a few points:

  1. They are solidly built and have thought about pretty well everything
  2. Their marketing is awesome
  3. They are a large, reputable company
enphase envoy micro inverter monitor

This is the enphase envoy – for monitoring each panel in your system. One of the only things by enphase that looks terrible in my opinion.

Enphase Micro Inverters – The Not So Good

Well, there’s always 2 sides to these things right. And enphase is no exception really.

Here’s a few points worth mentioning:

  1. They are expensive!
  2. More parts means more things that could go wrong.
  3. Monitoring via PLC can have issues but this doesn’t seem to be a big problem with enphase unlike some other micro inverter companies.
  4. Their monitoring “envoy” looks horrible
enphase micro inverters monitoring system

Here is what you see when you login to your enphase monitoring portal. You can demo their monitoring system here (it’s awesome).

All up, there are some definite benefits to enphase micro inverters, or any brand for that matter. I mean, 6% extra power production adds at least $2,400 over the next 20 years to your solar savings. A few things to consider though… When SMA bring their micro inverter (in about 2 weeks) to Oz, I’ll be interested to see the price comparison and quality difference.

Enphase Micro Inverter Video (Shows How They Work)

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enphase_Energy
http://enphase.com/au/

 

Summary
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Reviewed Item
Enphase Micro Inverters
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