Solar energy with battery backup is increasing in popularity as technology evolves and systems become less expensive and more consumer-friendly. Enphase’s Encharge batteries, part of the Enphase Ensemble system, are a go-to option for consumers who have or are considering Enphase microinverters. The undisputed leader in microinverter technology for solar photovoltaic systems, Enphase dominates the local market.
One of the questions ew often get is:
How Much Space do Enphase Encharge Batteries Require?
Batteries can be very large and heavy. Newer lithium-ion battery chemistry has resulted in batteries that are a fraction the size of traditional lead-acid batteries. Not are they smaller, but they weigh much less, and you need less capacity because you can discharge them deeper than lead-acid batteries. In total, the actual batteries don’t take up much space at all. However, there are other considerations.
Most lithium ion battery systems have several components. When we talk about these “batteries,” what we are often talking about is an assembled unit that has a battery management system and sometimes an inverter. Then there is switchgear and some sort of gateway or transfer switch. There are several components that make up a battery backup system, and the amount of space required increases rapidly. The Enphase battery backup system is comprised of the following:
- Enphase Smart Switch, formerly known as Enpower, which is a microgrid interconnection device. It combines all of the components and serves as a transfer switch to shift from grid to battery backup. There is also an integrated autotransformer, required to provide a neutral for 120/240V split-phase service.
- Encharge Battery. This comes in a 10kWh or 3.4kWh enclosure and isn’t just a battery, but includes Enphase IQ8 microinverters that provide both AC->DC and DC-AC conversion for backing up loads and charging the batteries.
- Combiner Load Center for combining more than 20kWh of battery capacity, which is common in our area.
- Load Management Enclosure, which manages large loads that cannot be backed up while off-grid.
- Enphase Envoy or Enphase Combiner, which is technically required for all grid-interactive solar photovoltaic systems, but also serves important functions for the battery backup controls.
- Various conduits and junction boxes.
In addition to the equipment, space around the batteries and equipment is required for air flow. There are also restrictions on equipment height. We must consider the National Electrical Code for working space around the equipment and flood elevation if you are in a low-lying area.
What are the Dimensions of the Enphase Encharge and Ensemble System
As mentioned above, there is much more to determining the space required than just the dimensions of the equipment. The major components have the following approximate dimensions:
- Smart Switch – 20″W x 36″H x 10″D
- Encharge 10T – 50.5″W x 30.5″H x 7.4″D
- The other components depend on the model required for your installation.
If you could stack these up tightly and pack everything into a corner, that would be great, but it doesn’t work that way, unfortunately. A significant amount of space is needed for other parts and spacing. For example, this system pictured below required approximately 13 feet of wall space adjacent to the existing main distribution panels. This is just about as tight as you can pack it. Note that there is a different battery called the Encharge 10 which has different dimensions from the 10T, but the 10T is mainly in production now and fits better into most garage spaces because it is shallower. Also, the Encharge 10T was only recently approved for installation with this spacing. Previously it required even more space between units.
How Big Are These Batteries?
Well, the numbers don’t lie. The systems take up a lot of space. If you don’t have this kind of space on a contiguous wall, we can get creative and place them outside or around the garage. Stacking can be problematic if there are flood level restrictions. The good news is that they are pretty thin and don’t take up too much depth. That means you probably won’t have a problem opening your car door if you put them on a side wall of a garage. But these are considerations that we need to address.
The batteries weigh a lot, but nothing a stud wall or block wall can’t handle.
All in all, the batteries aren’t too big, but the system as a whole takes up a lot of space. It is important to keep components close, mainly for wireless communications purposes. If you are wondering if they will fit at your home, let us know and we will do a site survey to confirm that we can fit the amount of capacity you need for your home.