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Inverter with the highest IQ: Enphase IQ8 Review

The long-anticipated microinverter that changes it all – that’s Enphase IQ8. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that Enphase created a wholly different type of inverter. The long-standing division in on-, off-grid and hybrid inverters doesn’t apply here. The IQ8 is a truly universal device that will operate under any conditions and save you during a blackout. Even without a battery. What follows is the Enphase IQ8 review – with technical details, features and more.

Instant shift to off-grid
mode in case of blackout
Advanced software to
support all grid profiles
Compatible with
any battery size

Why is Enphase IQ8 grid-agnostic?

Enphase started talking about the development of the IQ8 as early as in 2017. The company aimed to create a device that would be always on, even without a costly backup battery. The existing microinverters do not function during a power outage, even in the middle of a cloudless day. The systems based on the previous generation flagship device, IQ7, have neither the capability to form a microgrid nor can they supply power without a battery.

Monitor your system remotely

Download Enphase Enlighten App for Android or iOS

Now, the IQ8 won’t hang you out to dry even without a battery. It can work in solar-only mode, with a small backup for essentials or with a very large energy storage system. Here lies another strength of the new product – it doesn’t have any sizing restrictions when it comes to batteries.

25 years of seamless work guaranteed

Enphase Energy IQ8 release date had to be rescheduled. Initially, the company planned to introduce the device in 2019, but the ambitious goal couldn’t be achieved. Meanwhile, the industry continued to be very enthusiastic about the device: various solar installers called it ‘a game changer’ and confirmed high demand among their customers. Small wonder that the Enphase IQ8 release caused so much excitement around the world.

How to choose the right Enphase IQ8 model

Enphase IQ8 specifications vary from model to model. There are five different versions of the IQ8 to fit all possible PV modules. They are listed below from the least to the most powerful:

• IQ8 (245 VA peak output)
• IQ8+ (300 VA peak output)
• IQ8M (330 VA peak output)
• IQ8A (366 VA peak output)
• IQ8H (384 VA peak output)

Aside from the peak output, other technical characteristics, including operating range, input power and even efficiency also vary from version to version. For example, a basic IQ8 will be a nice fit for the 290W REC TwinPeak 2 module, but for a very powerful panel like the 425W Q CELLS you will need an IQ8+ or an IQ8M. All the important differences are summed up in the table below:


Input data (DC)
IQ8-60-2-USIQ8PLUS-72-2-USIQ8M-72-2-USIQ8A-72-2-USIQ8H-240-72-2-US
Commonly used module pairings W
235-350
235-440 
260-460 
295-500 
320-540+
Module compatibility 
60-cell/120 half-cell
60cell/120 half-cell and 72-cell/144 half-cell
60cell/120 half-cell and 72-cell/144 half-cell
60cell/120 half-cell and 72-cell/144 half-cell
60cell/120 half-cell and 72-cell/144 half-cell
MPPT voltage V
27-37 
29-45 
33-45 
36-45
38-45
Operating range V 
25-48 
25-58 
25-58 
25-58 
25-58
Min/max start voltage V
30-48 
30-58 
30-58
30-58 
30-58
Max input DC voltage V 
50
60
60
60
60
Peak output power VA 
245
300 
330 
366
384
Max continuous output power VA 
240 
290 
325 
349
380
Peak efficiency %
97.5
97.6
97.6
97.6
97.6
CEC weighted efficiency %
97
97
97
97.5
97
Max units per 20A (L-L) branch circuit
16
13
11
11
10
Max continuous output current A 
1.0
1.21 
1.35 
1.45 
1.58


Enphase IQ8 use cases →

Illustrations – Marina Fionova

Writing for electronics manufacturers like Bitmain taught Maxim to extract the important details from lengthy equipment documentation. At the same time, it made him aware of the environmental effects, and he put his talents to work for a renewable future.

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