If there is one thing solar is not, it’s not boring. With day to day market fluctuations, technology shifts and policy changes, the landscape in which we operate is constantly changing. For the average sales consultant it can be a lot to keep up with, which is why I jumped at the chance to ride with one of our install crews on a recent installation. This was not your typical roof mounted PV module install. For this project we were going to install a new battery technology, the first of its kind in South Carolina. It’s early morning, and we are off toward Charleston, SC.
Solar panels make electricity from sunlight and you can use that to power your home. In order to use your solar power for supplemental home power when the sun is not out, you need to store the energy produced during the day. This can be easily accomplished with battery technology that is integrated into the home and designed to discharge your stored energy when you need it most. Depending on your utility, the best time to use your stored energy may be in the evening, overnight or first thing in the morning and the discharge schedule is customized for your needs.
The first thing I notice out of the box is that the unit is compact, self contained and sturdy. We are mounting two of these Enphase Energy 1.2kW battery units in the garage, connecting them to the home via a subpanel. Each unit is supplied a mounting bracket that is mounted to the wall and the battery hangs on the bracket and secured with fasteners. Once the battery brackets are mounted properly the wiring and conduit begins.
The wiring consisted of a short run of conduit connecting the batteries to each other and to the subpanel as well as low voltage CT wires installed in a shallow trench running to the home. We paid a lot of attention to detail with the wiring and hanging of the units making sure it was going to look good while it performed even better. These low voltage units are designed to be safe, easy to use and powerful. Our install moved along, taking into consideration all the variables, it went smoothly and quickly. Before I could wipe the sweat off my brow from digging the CT trench, the other crew members were packing up and eating a slice of pizza (Thanks Mr. Kirby!).
The final piece is the Enphase Envoy unit (shown below the grey electric panel) which allows you to see in real time how your panels, inverters and now batteries are performing. It has big time brains acting as the battery charge controller, monitoring reporting device and discharge scheduler. This is one of our customer’s favorite features allowing them to keep tabs on performance on any computer, tablet or smartphone. So yes, there is an app for that, too!
Four months after the install, our client is very happy with the results. I called to check in on him before publishing this and he is looking forward to telling more of his neighbors about the addition to this solar power.
“I’m thoroughly pleased. My batteries are charged by noon and discharge at night to run my fridge, lights, TV and outlets. The average bill is about 40 dollars and when the person comes out to read the meter, he shakes his head! I could not be happier with the entire system.” — Mr. Kirby
This was a fun trip for me and the best way to learn about the products we sell to our customers. It is important to be able to answer questions about our products and services confidently and correctly. This year we will see an increase in our ability to provide battery solutions for a large variety of situation and in all territories in the Carolinas. We look forward to 2018 and answering the call of the customer who decides to integrate batteries into their home power systems.
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