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? 

Contents.

.Make and model:  Enphase iQ7 & iQ7+.

Variants:  240 | 290 W

  Design, Performance.

  Affordability.

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?

Design.

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.

Enphase Microinverter IQ-7+

iQ7

Design; SUPERIOR
  • AC Coupled battery compatibility.
  • Released 2018.
  • Fanless.
  • EuPD Research’s Top PV Brand 2019.
  • CE certified.
  • Innovative.
  • IP 67.

Features.

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.

Enphase Microinverter IQ-7+

iQ7

Features; OUTSTANDING
  • 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).

Performance.

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.

Enphase Microinverter IQ-7+

iQ7

Performance; ELITE
  • 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.

Guarantee.

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.

iQ7

Guarantee; ELITE
  • 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

Software.

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. 

iQ7

Software; SUPERIOR
  • Enphase Enlighten.
  • iOS & Android app.
  • Alerts & fault diagnosis.
  • Module-level monitoring (kWh).
  • Consumption monitoring.

OVERALL.

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.

iQ7

Overall; ELITE
  • Design 4.2
  • Features 4.8
  • Performance 4.7
  • Guarantee 4.5
  • Software 4.0

Comparison.

*AVG references industry average specifications.

Outstanding
[ 4.8 - 5 ] The pinnacle of certified specification.
Elite
[ 4.3 - 4.7 ] A rare calibre of technology produced by the industry elite.
Superior
[ 3.8 - 4.2 ] Specifications which are exceedingly superior to that of the industry average.
Very Good
[ 3.3 - 3.7 ] Advanced technology against the industry average.
Good
[ 2.8 - 3.2 ] Better than the industry average is that of which strives a portion better.
Average
[ 2.3 - 2.7 ] A score within this bracket is considered the industry average specification.
Ordinary
[ 1.8 - 2.2 ] Considered below the industry mainstream average.
Poor
[ 1.3 - 1.7 ] There's better, there's also worse.
Inferior
[ 0.8 - 1.2 ] Far below the modern industry average.
Awful
[ 0.3 - 0.7 ] Possesses specifications which are absent or unverified by a certified testing institute.
Avoid
[ 0 - 0.2 ] Unlikely for technology manufactured in the modern era.
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Insight.

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.

Revision dates:

  • 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)

25 COMMENTS

  1. I would like to be able to see what each solar panel puts out but sunpro says they don’t do that. And they charge too much for the app . on line. Even though the salesman said I wood be able to do that

    • The best you’re going to get for free is via the mobile application available on both Apple & Android. View: Enlighten APP > ARRAY > DAY, MONTH, YEAR or LIFETIME data available in kWh values only. Unfortunately, the desktop MyEnlighten portal doesn’t seem to have this feature. Further advanced insight can only be achieved through purchasing the Enlighten Manager subscription.

  2. Approximately 15 months ago I had a 5.4Kw Enphase system installed. I am now increasing with a new additional system of 4.6Kw, a total of 10Kw. When I purchased my original system, I was advised that this system is the best micro invertor Enphase system available. Now, I am told that my original micro Enphase system is obsolete and I need to upgrade to the new micro invertors at a premium cost. Your claimed performance of the new micro invertors up to +65c is in my mind pointless as my new panels, Qcell quantum, have a reduction in performance with any temperature above 25c. As I am using a different supplier to install my additional Enphase system, what interface issues will I experience in interfacing with my original system? How can I have access to observe the individual performance of each solar panels with these two separate systems?

    • As one of Enphase’s key selling points is that the system is beautifully modular, you shouldn’t have to upgrade the existing systems Enphase micro-inverters, which at a guess given the timeframe of installation would be an Enphase S series micro (5th Generation)? Depending on which Envoy gateway you have, maybe this might need upgrading to the Envoy-S Metered version? You shouldn’t have too many interface issues if you have the correct gateway. You can view total kWHs in the basic Enphase MyEnlighten (mobile) software. However, if you wish to view peak power and other advanced fetures you will need to purchase the software upgrade to Enphase Enlighten Manager.

      Requesting addition community insight on multiple Enphase product pairings?

  3. I can not obtain service from All American Solar to get my wifi system working. It worked at the start but then has not worked since August of 2018. Can anyone assist me in correcting this issue?

    • Press and hold the WPS button on the wireless router for a few seconds. On most routers, a WPS indicator begins flashing. If you are not using the Installer Toolkit mobile app, initiate a WPS connection by pressing and holding the Envoy-S AP Mode button for 5 seconds. The Network Communications LED begins flashing green. Within three minutes the Network Communications LED lights solid green, indicating a successful connection to Enlighten. If the Network Communications LED remains off or lights solid amber, see Troubleshooting.

  4. If you are located in a remote area WITHOUT INTERNET SERVICE You will not be able to Set Up and Configure the Enohase IQ-7 Microinverters AND Envoy S.

    NO WHERE IN ANY ENPHASE INSTALLATION MANUAL DOES IT STATE THAT INTERNET SERVICE IS REQUIRED TO INSTALL AND SET UP THE SYSTEM.

    We called the Enphase Tech Support and they;

    1) Have ZERO Technical Knowledge in PV Systems and only read through a Script;

    2) Cannot send you PRECONFIGURED IQ-7 COMPONENTS for Remote Locations that have no Internet Service;

    3) YOU CANNOT SETUP THE IQ MICROINVERTERS WITH THE ENVOY S. The Envoy S is required to update its Software via the INTERNET;

    4). NO WHERE IN THE ENPHASE INSTALLATION MANUALS DOES IT STATE THE MANDATORY REQUIREMENTS TO HAVE EITHER AN ANDROID OR IPHONE TO DOWNLOAD THE INSTALLER TOOLKIT. Repeated requests for the Installer Toolkit Software for. Laptop or Tablet was IGNORED BY ENPHASE.

    IF YOU ARE IN A REMOTE LOCATION AND HAVE NO INTERNET SERVICE THE ENPHASE IQ 7 SYSTEM WON’T WORK AND WILL BE USLESS.

    Note: You also need an Internet Service to Troubleshoot the ENPHASE IQ SYSTEM. Again, without an Internet Connection you will not be able to find or correct any IQ-7/ENVOY S ERRORS OR SET UP ISSUES.

    • This is a very good insight and a very good point which is not part of the current Solar Review Inverter Assesment Criteria (V2.3) in where a cross-section of prospective solar shoppers require such isolation. Remote operational features will be considered and no doubt integrated into V2.4. Thank you for contributing valuable insight and assisting Solar Review to evolve.

    • I have installed several Systems with IQ7,s , and they work right out of the box. Plug and play. The Envoy unit is only neccesary when you want to monitor the production etc. If there is no internet at the site, you shouldn,t bother about an Envoy…

      • Hi, you seem to understand the IQ7 inverter system. I’m a DIY and am installing just 6 panels with IQ7 inverters. The cabling system confuses me as it seems to be a series connection between inverters without two wires going into a junction box to provide the 240-volt power supply to the home panel. What am I missing?

        • The Q-Cable is a pair of 12-gauge wires that tie ALL of your IQ7 microinverters in PARALLEL. The description of the Q-cable is confusing as it says “two wires” when it really is two PAIRS of wires looping in and out of the two-pin connector. There is NO neutral wire necessary. When purchasing the Q-cable you state how many CONNECTORS you require, and you pay based on each connector. The cable comes from the factory on a large reel of 240 connectors each spaced apart for either Landscape or Portrait PV panel configuration. They CUT the cable to include the number of connectors you desire.

    • The envoy-s has a Ethernet connection port, so run any cable to it from any router to give it a local network IP address. Any laptop, tablet or smartphone can connect to this router. Now although the router has no internet connection in any device that can launch a browser you can enter the IP address of the local envoy-s. So go to the device, enter installer mode, set the number of micros, batteries and Q-relays, scan for devices and when all found set the power grid profile for your country, region, system config as you require, let it propagate then slide the commission switch to turn everything on. If your router has wireless connectivity and there is a wireless modem on your region – or a satellite phone, you can see everything on an installer enlighten manager for the site. Enter array and micro details and you have a defined, commissioned system to the best of my knowledge – as a power user with full installer access, but not an installer myself.

  5. I live in California and waiting to get my solar system installed. Going with LG Neon 2 335 watt panels. My installer is installing IQ7 Micro Inverters. What i want to know is, will there be any advantage of installing IQ7+ inverters instead of the IQ7? Please advice. Thank you

    • Potentially not much apart from the fact you could see a few higher numbers in the peak power section of the monitoring platform. At the end of the day you’ll rarely use this function but refer to the Wh/kWh view which is where true performance is determined. Inverter oversizing is a great thing and the manufacturers even endorse it. One of the major reasons many install on the smaller Enphase variant is where network/grid limitations are in place. Such limitations are factored on the AC output of the combined inverter capacity and not the DC input (Array Capacity) which allows for an overall larger system and overall greater kWh. Find out if certain network limitations are at play in the form of max export capacity or feed-In tariff qualification.

    • I would match a 330W panel with a 290W micro IQ7 Plus for maximum economic return by my analysis with 5 years of daily, personal data.

  6. I am being told by different Solar installers that the Enphase reliability in Central Texas is not good and they will not install them. Also I know that Enphase change their warranty to 25yrs but this does not include labor for repair, so this maybe the reason.
    Can you tell me what is the FIT rate on the IQ7 & IQ7+ product. I look at Enphase and they only give MTBF of 300yrs after the infant mortality phase of the bath tub curve, which they state is around 2-3 weeks, but never give FIT rates for either the infant mortality or the bottom of bath tub curve (random failure rate).

    • You can configure your system in that way but you will need to add some equipments to prevent the current of your system to go directly to the grid, I dont remember the names of these extra equipments but surely if you contact enphase they will assist you

  7. Had my Enphase system installed Oct of 2014 17 panels with Enphase Part #800-00221-r1 micro inverters. Sorry, don’t know the model number. These started to fail June of 2018 (2), and 1 each in April, May, June, and July. Vivint Solar owns the system and services when needed. They must be backed up or only come out when a number fail because the service to replace the failed inverters took place Dec.26, 2019. They want me to increase the number of panels for the power usage that I pay the local utility company (PG&E). The new system does not use Enphase or micro inverters any longer. I declined their offer as the contract I have now costs me 15 cents a kW/hour and PG&E average is 25 cents. My question to you is there an Enphase unit that I can upgrade to that will have a greater life expectancy that won’t break the bank if I buy out Vivint?

  8. I feel, Enphase IQ micro-inverter has some problem in MPPT, with small partial shadow within a panel (harf of two top-left cells are shade within 60 cells panel), it can not produce an energy. when generated 150-220W neighbor panel, shade panel just create 15-20W with diffusion light. and, it is same production with full shade panel.

  9. I need to know if the ENVOY is needed for the microinverter to work? I had thought that was not the case, I am doing a small install to start with, 5 panels. So the envoy kills the project right at the start…

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