May 03, 2022

How to make a home solar system "smart".

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When you think of a solar powered home, you will naturally think of solar panels sitting on a roof. That is certainly accurate for the majority of residential solar systems, but there is much more to a home solar system than would normally meet the eye.

It actually takes a few more components than solar panels themselves to create a smart home solar system. In this article, we take a look at both traditional solar panel systems, as well as a more modern, smart system and what it provides to homeowners.

Traditional solar powered system

A traditional home solar system consists of a few core components that are necessary to provide basic functionality. Here’s how it works:

  1. The sun shines on a solar panel and the energy is absorbed by cells, creating an electric charge.

  2. Solar panels output send “direct current” to an inverter that changes the power to “alternating current” to match the electricity in our homes.

  3. This renewable electricity is fed into the home’s circuit breaker panel to power our appliances.

Without additional components or smart hardware, this traditional solar system will still provide electricity and satisfy basic needs. It can even make sense in certain situations, such as camping, for which simple solar panel kits might be a good fit. However, it will lack the smart features, such as monitoring, performance tracking, and remote controllability that most homeowners expect.

Smarter home solar

Beyond solar panels and an inverter, it takes a few more components to leave the traditional approach behind for a safer, more resilient, and engaging solar powered home.

First and foremost, you can use microinverters. Enphase Microinverters are located under each solar panel. They send safe, low-voltage current from the roof to your home. Plus, Enphase Energy Systems include built-in Rapid Shutdown so that, in the event of an emergency, your solar power can be turned off virtually instantly and easily, keeping utility workers and first responders safe.

Then, you will want a communication device to send all the important details from your solar energy system to the cloud to monitor your system over time. The Enphase IQ Gateway serves this purpose as a communication device that delivers solar production and energy consumption data to the Enphase Cloud and the Enphase App. It can even allow your installer to provide remote maintenance and management.

For installers, it’s easier than ever to integrate this smart technology into new systems. The Enphase IQ Combiner consolidates equipment into a single enclosure and streamlines PV and storage installations by providing a consistent, prewired solution for residential solar. It all means that solar can be smart, and easy to install.

A true home energy solution

So, what makes a home solar system smart? Beyond the most basic task of providing clean, renewable electricity, a smart solar system will provide the homeowner with real-time performance monitoring, data visualizations, and even some control over how the system is working.

Mobile app

The ability to monitor and track a solar panel system should be paramount for homeowners. For example, the Enphase App allows you to know how much power you’re making, using, and saving both in real-time, and as it fluctuates over time. You can even share your progress with family and friends.

Software updates

Just like your smartphone, a smart home solar system should always have access to the latest software and features. Enphase Energy Systems are actually smart enough to update themselves automatically over your home’s internet connection.

Outage-ready

Until recently, battery backup was just a dream for homeowners. Now, it’s in reach and your solar energy system can work seamlessly with battery backup. With an Enphase solar system with battery, you can keep your power flowing even when the grid has a bad day by combining Enphase microinverters with the Enphase IQ Battery.

Panel-level resiliency

With a traditional string inverter system, if one panel goes down, the whole system can go down with it. With an Enphase Energy System, every solar panel is equipped with its own microinverter, so if one panel slips into the shade or experiences a rare glitch, the other panels keep generating power.

Future-oriented technology

A smart solar system should be able to adapt and grow over time. That’s why Enphase Energy Systems are built on a distributed architecture platform. This modular microinverter design means you can quickly and easily expand your system as your needs grow.

Designed to work together

Simply put, a smart home solar system is one that goes above and beyond simply delivering renewable energy. It takes care of itself, and you in the process. The Enphase Energy System brings solar, batteries, and software together in one complete package so now you can make, use, save, and sell your own power—all through a smart mobile app.

Looking to save on your monthly utility bills? What about keeping the lights on during a power outage? Or maybe you want to reduce your carbon footprint? If you are considering going solar, Enphase can help you think through your home energy goals and connect you to a certified installer to help you design a system to your exact specifications.

Questions? Contact us. We'll help you build your system, today.
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