Even though microinverters are a very different concept from string inverter technology, many consumers will still compare the Enphase iQ7 microinverter against a string inverter in their buying decision. Therefore, the question must be asked, how does the Enphase iQ7 range compare?
.Make and model: Enphase iQ7 & iQ7+.
Variants: 240 | 290 W
Once viewed as the pioneering solar technology pushing innovative boundaries, Enphase is often renowned as an overall product of refinement. A decade after Enphase’s original product release, the Enphase iQ7 range, should be considered the most refined Enphase model yet. But is it?
The 7th Generation device could almost be considered characteristically similar to the iQ6 range however there are notable differences. Furthermore, is it worth waiting for the highly anticipated Enphase iQ8 range of micro inverter technology?
Without a doubt the more innovative of all the inverter technologies, Enphase release a new design at an average rate of 1.4-years between models as the Enphase iQ7 range is a 7th generation product within 10 years.
Internal temperature is maintained using a solid state fanless design achieving an exceptional IP 67 weather rating. With such innovation no major international awards can be noted for the product alone.
Enphase iQ7 and iQ7+ is battery compatible only via an AC coupling connection method. For ease of integration, the Enphase AC battery provides a seamless one brand solution when an Envoy S Metered communications gateway has been installed. 3rd party AC coupled battery devices are also compatible with integration though would require a separate communications gateway and monitoring system, such as Tesla Powerwall 2.
AC Coupled battery compatibility.
EuPD Research’s Top PV Brand 2019.
Features of iQ7 and iQ7+ relate more directly to the system as a whole which includes such components as the Envoy S Metered communications gateway, essential to the function of the microinverter system.
Not explicitly built for displaying local production information, as the data is intended to be viewed through the Enphase MyEnlighten portal, the Envoy S Metered gateway presents an LED only local interface.
With a limited local display, ensuring ease and access to such data is vital then, and that is where the Enphase iQ7 system (through the Envoy S Metered) thrives with the essential communication forms of WiFi, Ethernet, or mobile network (optional extra).
Maximum Power Point Tracking is achieved on a module-level scale. Through such, the Enphase iQ7 facilitates mandatory module-level optimisation where shade losses affect the shaded panels only and not a whole string. If required, Rapid Shut Down technology is integrated within each iQ7 device.
Outstanding in the features department, remote end-user support facilitates the ability to adjust system operational parameters. All in all a very feature rich inverter technology as standard.
MPPTs - n/a.
LED local interface (internet required).
WiFi & Ethernet (plus 4G optional).
Manufacturer supplied module-level optimisation.
Manufacturer supplied module-level rapid shutdown.
Manufacturer supplied expanded monitoring.
Mandatory optimisation shadow management.
Remote access operational parameter adjustments (max).
Searching for the pinnacle in various performance specifications? Enphase iQ7 inverter technology is almost that.
The iQ7 registers outstanding for different temperature extremes operating from -40oC through to +65oC. Unattained by certification is the internal temperature departing point of the iQ7. However, an official Enphase document identifies no performance loss up to 80oC internal.
Weight concerns are minimal at 1kg per device and noise emission is obsolete.
97% Weighted efficiency.
Min temperature range -40°C (-40°F).
Max temperature range +65°C (140°F).
Temperature derating +65°C (140°F).*
Weight 1 kg (2.2lbs) per unit.
Noise emission - n/a.
*Recorded only, certified temperature derating point not available.
Warranty conditions vary between the regions. Locations such as the US enjoy an outstanding 25-year part and service warranty as standard. Potentially more enduring environments such as Australia are limited to a 10-year parts and service warranty.
To assure such warranty conditions are met an authorised Enphase installer network does exist, unfortunately, there are no added end-user benefits such as an extended warranty.
IMPORTANT: Enphase iQ7 is more than the iQ7 micro inverter alone, it is a system deconstructed to a modular-level, therefore the manufacturers guarantee is not the same amongst all components. Consumers should consider the warranty periods of all Enphase components to determine product suitability.
10-yr (or 25) parts warranty.*
10-yr (or 25) service warranty.*
2-yr (or 5) Envoy warranty.*
Authorised installer network with NO additional end-user benefits.
*Warranty varies in selected regions
One of the better manufacturer produced monitoring platforms. Although, energy enthusiasts could be disappointed if viewing through the free end-user portal, Enphase MyEnlighten.
Has the potential to be so much more and probably is the software the more inqusative would expect when using the paid subscription, EnergyManager portal.
iOS & Android app.
Alerts & fault diagnosis.
Module-level monitoring (kWh).
One of the most versatile solar technologies for any given installation, the Enphase IQ7 solar inverter package offers far more than basic DC to AC conversion. It is an entire energy production and management solution built with end-user experience in mind. A result ensuring full control over your energy production investment and in turn greater chance of consistent bill reduction.
Should you wait for the Enphase iQ8 to be released? Short answer, no. The anticipation surrounding the iQ8 range is largely due to added products which have been announced compatible with iQ7 such as the Enphase Enpower smart switch and new Encharge batteries.
As the Enphase iQ range are now solid state units, expect the main difference between iQ7 and iQ8 largely around input parameters to accomodate varying module sizes on a reshaping market. A result likely to benefit system designers more over end-users.
*AVG references industry average specifications.
How was the score for the Enphase iQ7 solar inverter calculated? By using the Solar Review Inverter Assessment Criteria V2.4 >
This article was originally published January 1, 2019.
To reflect evolving criteria this content has been updated over time.
- May 30, 2020
- Enphase iQ7 datasheet
- Enphase iQ7+ datasheet
How does the current range of Enphase solar inverters compare against other Enphase products? Discover now > (coming soon)