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IQ makes solar installations smarter

Mar 20, 2017

IQ makes solar installations smarter

When Enphase set out to develop the IQ System, the sixth-generation microinverter system, we accepted a challenge to not only streamline the product for better performance within the smallest package yet but also to streamline the installation process for a quicker and more effective install. For a true measure of the intelligence built into the system, watch an install in action and note some of the ways we are revolutionizing the rooftop electrical install.

The IQ System saves time before you even reach the job site, simplifying inventory management, packing more lightweight microinverters per box to reduce trips up the ladder, and bundling cables so they can be easily slung over the shoulder. It helps that the two-wire Q Cable uses half the conductors and weighs 50 percent less than its predecessor, the trunk cable.

As the IQ System rolls out to distributors in the US and Canada, we credit the installers who have helped install over 13 million microinverters so far, providing critical feedback that Enphase has implemented in the latest evolution of the Enphase technology platform. None of this would be possible without you. Here are some of the ways IQ will improve your installation process.

IQ improves design flexibility

One of the inherent limitations of string inverter systems is the need to always complete a loop in the electrical design. With these DC power systems, there’s no opportunity to branch off to islanded arrays on complex rooftops or in response to on-the-fly design changes.

The field-wireable connectors in the IQ System allow for safe and simple connections from any open connector and the ability to center feed any section of cable up to a 20-amp limit allowing the system to be built as a tree with branches rather than a constricted linear design. The lighter two-wire Q Cable also makes it easier to handle wire management, whether that means fastening cable to rails or to the module frame using standard clips in a rail-less mounting system. To streamline the installation process even further, eliminating field wiring of the microinverter to the module, look for the introduction of  Enphase Energized AC Modules from multiple partners at your distributor this summer.

IQ enables faster commissioning

A new generation of Line to Line power line communications made it possible to remove the neutral conductor from the Enphase cabling system and results in new Envoys and Combiners for the IQ System. This, along with new embedded software, results in a notable improvement in microinverter detection during commissioning. Because the neutral line shares a circuit with other electrical devices in the house, devices that carry a lot of noise on the line, detection could take as long as 15-20 minutes. During beta testing, the IQ Envoy detected a full set of 20 microinverters in less than 5 minutes. Detection might not always be so fast, but we expect the new communications to cut the time in half.

All the process improvements in the IQ System build upon an industry-leading home energy solution that comes with built-in compliance for 2014 and 2017 NEC rapid shutdown requirements and advanced grid functionality that will be needed as utilities move to new standards this year. As grid conditions change, Enphase’s ability to report on each microinverter’s performance and remotely push firmware updates to the field will prevent the need for costly, time-consuming, and unnecessary truck rolls.

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