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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.

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.

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.

Nano chip with Mega capabilities

Enphase introduced a number of revolutionary features with its newest release. One of them is a proprietary 55 nm chip. It allows the microinverter to react with record-breaking speed when the loads shift or when other grid events occur. Among other things, this eliminates battery sizing restrictions, giving the homeowners more freedom in this respect.

The device also runs on more advanced software. Aside from the standard set of features for the IQ microinverters, such as module-level monitoring, Enphase made the new generation configurable to support the widest range of grid profiles. The updates have been also made easier: all the latest grid requirements will be passed to your device remotely and automatically.

Monitor your system with Enphase Enlighten App (Android, iOS)
The process of physical installation hasn’t yet been automated, but it’s getting there. Simple cabling involving just two wires together with plug and play MC4 connectors will save you a lot of time, while almost eliminating the risk of mistake. The new features haven’t made the device any heavier: it is as lightweight and compact as ever.

The IQ8 also beats most traditional inverters when it comes to reliability and durability. Having conducted more than 1,000,000 hours of testing, Enphase now offers warranties of up to 25 years, while the average number for conventional inverters is 10 years. The IQ8 is listed by UL as Rapid Shutdown Equipment and complies with various other safety standards.The new microinverter is a Class II (double-insulated) device.

25 years of seamless work guaranteed

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:
Illustrations – Marina Fionova

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