An Enphase Ensemble Installation

svetz

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Holy smokes! This thread has had over 2000 views and this is the first time I've even posted Alton's secret recipe for twice baked brownies.
k%2FEdit%2F12-02-2020-Altons-Brownie-Trick%2Fb34fpsgimaezh8v
 

svetz

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Found a customer Q&A from Enphase on Encharge on facebook... was forced to create a facebook account to see it so here's a synopsis so you won't have to. Most of the question were interesting:

Q: Can I plug my EV into it to get more battery power (~8:15)
A: Future use-case, but sounded positive, (not enphase, but one commenter wrote he saw bidirectional EV chargers at the January CES show)

Q: Which component is the brain that sets the IQ8 output frequency (~13:00)
A: Politically unclear answer (no brain, all components synchronized?)

Q: Will it run my AC (~17:00)
A: Depends on what you have installed, but for $200 to $300 the installer (didn’t sound Enphase specific) could install a soft-start system to make it easier

Q: What's the warranty (19:30)
A: 4k cycles or 10 years

Q: Does the smart switch have customer accessible dry contacts that flip when the grid goes out? (~20:00)
A: Yes, but software isn’t ready yet (control for the magic inverter?)

Q: Is there anything in the smart switch other than the ATS and neutral-forming transformer?
A: Yes...but not enabled and unclear what's in there. Curiously they said it’s not really an ATS in there… it’s just an on/off not a transfer. About 20:20

Q: Can a generator be used to charge the battery in the case of bad weather after a storm? (22:17)
A: Not yet, will only be compatible with a list of generators

Q: Can you start with a 3kWh Encharge and scale up later? (23:45)
A: Recommended 13 kWh min (that's probably more due to the inverter size than kWh).

Q: Will non-inverter generators be supported (28:23)
A: Yes, sounded like they would support older models too.

Q: Is there a minimum PV size? (30:29)
A: No, PV isn't even required for Encharge.

Q: What is the regulation holdup on the IQ8 on the roof? (32:14)
A: Enphase is just focused currently on getting the Encharge launched

Q: is the amperage for a tesla battery system the same as the available amperage from an Enphase battery? (34:00)
A: Scalable to large sizes. Safer as it's cobalt free.

Q: Does the system work with batteries from other manufactures or it has to be all from Enphase? (39:39, answered in comments)
A: Unclear... the response was "Yes, the Enphase microinverters work with any battery system " ... which doesn't say the Encharge will work.
 

svetz

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Q: Is there anything in the smart switch other than the ATS and neutral-forming transformer?
A: Yes...but not enabled and unclear what's in there. Curiously they said it’s not really an ATS in there… it’s just an on/off not a transfer. About 20:20
Yup... switches, but no transfer:
1593696397360.png

1593696539988.png
 

GXMnow

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I have a smaller Enphase system than yours with 16 Silfab 300 watt panels on iq7 inverters.
I am in So Cal about 30 miles north of Los Angeles, and my peak power generated so far was in late May when I topped 31 KWHs for a few days.
My output has dipped a bit to 27 to 28 KWHs a day since then. I think most of the drop is due to temperature. In may, we were just in the 80's during the day, now we hit about 100 around solar noon. In May I was seeing a little inverter clipping, where my system maxed out at all 16 inverters making the rated 240 watts for 3,840 watts for about an hour at solar noon. My peak yesterday was 3,660 watts. My panels do get a bit dusty pretty fast. I have used a shop vac to clean off my 8 panels on the lower roof 3 times so far. When I do it, I only see about a 6% increase in output. I have never cleaned the upper roof yet, just the rare so cal rain rinse in a full year. The worst panel on the upper roof produced 1.78 KWH yesterday, the clean panel on the lower roof produced 1.85 KWH. That is not even a 4% difference. When I cleaned the lower roof panels, I did just half of them and waited 2 days to do the other half, just out of curiosity, to see what panels right next to each other would do. The best, freshly cleaned panel did 1.85 and the worst dirty panel near it did 1.75 . That is only a 6% difference from the lowest to highest producing panel in the same array. All of the panels on the upper roof, which can theoretically get a tiny bit more sun due to minor morning shading, fell between those 2 numbers. I am actually quite amazed how well all 16 panels match up. I am just about to hit a full year of operation and I am very happy with the system.

I am very interested in reading out the raw data from the Envoy. I can get most of the json data, but when I try to read the inverters page, it is asking for a username and password. You (svetz) mentioned it was "envoy" and the last 6 digits of the serial number. I have not been able to make that work.

My current project is adding a hybrid inverter with a battery bank to do "Time of Use" shifting and also give me some backup power when they start doing the "safety power cuts" during wildfire season. I looked into the Enphase Encharge, but just could not justify the cost to power ratio. Especially with how much the certified installers charge around here. I had an installer do the initial install and I have the PTO to back feed up to 20 amps. I have only had 2 power failures since the system went in, and neither lasted over a few hours, but the new ToU rates are bad. I really want to move about 10 KWH of power from around solar noon to run my house from 4PM to 9PM when they kick the rate to $0.40 per KWH while they only pay me about $0.04 per KWH for overproduction. So shifting 10 KWH per day at $0.36 difference works out to saving me up to $3.60 a day. That does not sound like a lot, but if I produce enough to that that for 200 days, that is still over $700 a year. Just by shifting the power I produce so I can use it myself. On most days, I have been pushing over 8 KWHs back to So Cal Edison between 8 am and 3 pm. On these hot summer days, with my A/C running, I end up pulling 6.7 KWH in the 4PM to 9PM peak rate window as the solar production falls off. On another crazy hot day, where A/C even ran earlier in the day, I still managed to push out 6.5 KWH from 8 am to 1 pm and pulled 11.23 KWH in the peak rate 4 to 9 window. If I just go "Zero Export" and shift the 6.5 KWH, that one day would still save $2.34 not too bad. I do MUCH better in the colder months when I don't have to run the A/C.

Now I just need to bite the bullet and order the hybrid inverter. I am a bit torn between the Outback Skybox and the Schneider XW-Pro. Both have been shown to work well with the Enphase iQ micros. I already have a 16 KWH battery bank ready to go.
 

svetz

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... I only see about a 6% increase in output [from clean panels]
Thanks for sharing that data! I've been eye-balling one of those second story brush/squeegee things as a way to get to my hard to reach panels. I'm more of a cheapskate, I start getting alerts to clean around 4% loss or ~2 kWh/d... at 13 cents per kWh, that's 26 cents a day! 😜
(Fortunately I only have to do that (so far) in Spring at the end of pollen/dry season - I've found cleaning my panels is a good way to make it rain, same as washing the car).

I think as we have microinverters the dirt probably doesn't impact as much as it might on a string system where the lowest panel pulls everything down.
...it is asking for a username and password. You (svetz) mentioned it was "envoy" and the last 6 digits of the serial number. I have not been able to make that work.
Try "installer" as the username, same password.

...My current project is adding a hybrid inverter with a battery bank
The Tesla Powerwall had an attractive price too, ultimately I didn't go that route just because I got a good deal and the battery chemistry wasn't LiFePO4. I just have a "starter" system though, I'd like to find some way to extend it. There's a thread on that topic here: Incrementally Adding AC Batteries.


The Encharge batteries are finally shipping and being installed! Shouldn't be much longer now!
 
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svetz

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Inverter outage?

A couple of weeks ago I start getting email alerts like the one to the right from the monitoring system.

Usually a cloud will blot out a bunch, but it's rare to get alerts since the panel has to be getting less than ideal power for a while. So I open their Web app & look, results in the 3rd column.

At first, I'm thinking bird. After a few hours I'm thinking great, bird left a dead fish.
So I go up to check ... all is fine.
Subject: Inverter(s) not close to maximum power

West: 1219xxxxxxx : 11 (5% of 232)
1595690257604.png

Basically the email meant the panel is producing 11 watts, but 232 watts was the expected output based on the current solar irradiance. The others are producing at expected power (it's after solar noon, I look at the history and see this one stopped around 9 and some of the others were actually producing over the rating at solar noon). I check the panel status registers in the Envoy, no errors reported from the panel (at least none I know about).

This is an opportunity to see about the vaunted warranty!

So I call my installer and leave a voice mail. Don't hear back in a couple of hours so I use their trouble ticketing system. There's something about the 11 watts that rings a bell... but I can't put my finger on it. Might have been a lotto number I thought I should play or be the standby wattage for SolarEdge optimizers and not have anything to do with this.

Next day, the inverter is outputting at full power - no problems. So I call my installer and this time talk to someone. Yep, they see it...they'll keep an eye on it. Huh? I figured they had done something to reset it. Just because he didn't know doesn't mean it didn't happen. But, it could also have reset itself overnight, or Enphase monitors them and they might have done it. Anyway, it's been a couple of weeks and still no problems.
 
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GXMnow

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So this is what I am getting.

When I enter this address


I get this reply from the envoy

{
"wattHoursToday": 8138,
"wattHoursSevenDays": 194241,
"wattHoursLifetime": 7104912,
"wattsNow": 3230
}

When I enter this one


I get a dialog box asking for username and password. I tried installer / envoyxxxxxx using my serial number, and several other combinations, but it just keeps coming back asking for the usernam and password again. Then I click cancel and I get this reply

{
"status": 401,
"error": "",
"info": "Authentication required",
"moreInfo": ""
}

Do I need to append the user and password into the initial request command?

I will try sending an e-mail to my original installer, and see if he changed it and hopefully give me the password.

On a good note, I have not had any issues at all with my system in the year it has been up and running now. I did have to cut down a couple palm trees. In winter they were completely shading the lower array. My two arrays are at virtually the same angles, just different height. The lower array has a small amount of shade in the early morning. On a total day of production, my lowest to highest panel are typically within 6% of each other. Yesterday, the panel shaded by the chimney was down a tick more at 8% down from the highest panel. That shaded panel produced 1.67 KWH. The next lowest panel made 1.72 KWH and the highest was 1.81 KWH. That makes the rest of the array within 5%, or +/- 2.5%. That is pretty amazing. So only having the full array production data is not a big problem at this point, I can still see it on the Enlighten app. But it would be nice to see the live production for the panels on a local system and not have to go through the cloud.
 

Ampster

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I bought a used Envoy and had to get the login from the seller. I used that for a while then started support ticket to get the serial number of the Envoy assigned to a new cloud account. It was easy to open a cloud account in my name.
 

GXMnow

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Messages
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I downloaded the Enphase installed toolkit on my phone. Didn't expect to be able to do much, but once it saw there was an envoy on the same local network, I have full access to my system. Turns out my installer never set the proper grid profile. All the iQ7's were set to "IEEE 1547 default 2015". I am in Cali and the local connect agreement requires "Rule21". I was able to select "CA Rule21 201902 vv vw fw" and it took about 3 minutes to update all 16 inverters. Power production never dropped off and all seems the same. My grid here is pretty solid, so the ride through and curtailment should rarely step in, but at least I am actually legal now. And once I am AC coupled, the frequency watt control is also enabled if I go off grid for a power failure. The live data from the Envoy right now is reporting 1.51 kW Active Power, 1.52 kVA Apparent Power, 119.7 Vrms on line 1 and 119.3 Vrms on line 2, both running at 0.99 PF. Peak power today hit 3.50 kW at 1:45 PM. The one odd thing I see is in my lifetime production, the Power Factor looks much further off. It says the system produced 7.20 MWh of Active Power, but the Apparent Power is way up at 8.92 MVAh. That works out to a PF of just 0.807 which is pretty low. I know under the new Rule 21 regulations, the system is supposed to be able to shift the power factor to help the grid support inductive or capacitive loads, but that seems like a huge difference. And my system was not even set to Rule 21 grid profile, so it should have been running close to 1.00 PF all the time. I just checked again, my A/C compressor is running. That would be a fairly large inductive load, and the inverters are still running at 0.99 to 1.00 PF, so it is not my in home load making it shift phase. Odd, I will keep an eye on it.

I still can't get the API to report the individual inverter status on the local network. Maybe it is a version difference, as it looks like everything else is set to defaults, so I doubt he changed the password. The Envoy recieved a remote update from Enphase. It shows Software Version D5.0.49 (77afa8) with a build date of Mar 19, 2020 1:44 AM, and I know my installed has not been here since then.

The total power is more important anyways, and that does work with no password or user name.

Just send this

and get back this just now
{
"wattHoursToday": 26288,
"wattHoursSevenDays": 192464,
"wattHoursLifetime": 7204569,
"wattsNow": 1323
}

Once I add the consumption CT's, I will be able to see exactly how much is going back to the grid in 5 minute increments.

I am trying to read through the programming of the Skybox and the XW-Pro to see which one will do a better job of self consumption in my setup. I want to only charge when I am making more than my home is using, and then run all my load with basically no import or export, until my battery is down to 30% SoC and then go back to running on grid power. Lately with this crazy hot weather, the battery will run down and only give me 3 to 4 hours of no import each night running the A/C compressor during the peak demand time. I could tell it to pull some grid power when the cost is low, but I don't think I will need to. Once the weather tames a bit I will top up the battery pretty quick. If this all works as planned, I may end up adding 4 more solar panels DC coupled to just charge the batteries. They would lay flatter on my garage roof to maximize summer production. My current panels get best production in Spring/Fall.
 

Ampster

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There are three or four good webinars on the Outback Power support site. The Skybox has for modes but as far as I know only Backup uses TOU scheduling. It keeps my battery pretty full even if it has to use the grid in the mornings. In Self Consumption I wasnt getting a full charge every day because my 3.8 kW Solaredge GT inverter is not running through the Skybox yet.
 

L-P-G

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Messages
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So this is what I am getting.

When I enter this address


I get this reply from the envoy

{
"wattHoursToday": 8138,
"wattHoursSevenDays": 194241,
"wattHoursLifetime": 7104912,
"wattsNow": 3230
}

When I enter this one


I get a dialog box asking for username and password. I tried installer / envoyxxxxxx using my serial number, and several other combinations, but it just keeps coming back asking for the usernam and password again. Then I click cancel and I get this reply

{
"status": 401,
"error": "",
"info": "Authentication required",
"moreInfo": ""
}

Do I need to append the user and password into the initial request command?

I will try sending an e-mail to my original installer, and see if he changed it and hopefully give me the password.

On a good note, I have not had any issues at all with my system in the year it has been up and running now. I did have to cut down a couple palm trees. In winter they were completely shading the lower array. My two arrays are at virtually the same angles, just different height. The lower array has a small amount of shade in the early morning. On a total day of production, my lowest to highest panel are typically within 6% of each other. Yesterday, the panel shaded by the chimney was down a tick more at 8% down from the highest panel. That shaded panel produced 1.67 KWH. The next lowest panel made 1.72 KWH and the highest was 1.81 KWH. That makes the rest of the array within 5%, or +/- 2.5%. That is pretty amazing. So only having the full array production data is not a big problem at this point, I can still see it on the Enlighten app. But it would be nice to see the live production for the panels on a local system and not have to go through the cloud.


Install that APK in an android device, type in the serial for your Envoy and it'll give you the password for it.
 

GXMnow

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I don't have an android device available at this time. I am on an iOS phone. I don't see and readout of password on here.
 

svetz

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I don't have an android device available at this time. I am on an iOS phone. I don't see and readout of password on here.
If you have a PC you can probably get it to work with Bluestacks (android emulator).
 

svetz

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The batteries are installed! I'll get some photos up in a while. Took the installer about 12 hours, but that's because they had to move boxes around and we have a split service entrance that needed to be dealt with. It was "activated" yesterday, but it looks like a software update didn't take as it doesn't appear to be communicating with the rest of the system (there's an error alert on dashboard).

There was an Envoy update, looks like it broke the program's ability to get the total solar produced but that's probably not a big deal and there will need to be changes to get the battery data anyway (have to figure out the API first of course). AFAIK, the system doesn't alert you when the system switches to battery, which is sort of bad as when that happens it makes sense to curb power usage. So, getting an alert will be my next priority, then probably the automation.
 
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GXMnow

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Great news svetz! I look forward to the performance reports. Hopefully I will have my battery bank up and running in about a month.

How much storage did you end up with? When I looked at EnCharge, I figured I would need at least one 10 and one 3 (about 13 KwH) to meet my needs. My DIY setup is using about 18 KwH of surplus LG Chem Chevy Bolt batteries. I want to time shift about 7 to 10 KwH each day, and keep a reserve of at least 5 KwH for power failures. I have not done a full capacity test on my battery bank yet, but the cells are basically new, and a partial cycle test has verified they are meeting expectation. Until I get my inverter installed, I can't load them enough to do a serious test.

I looked up Bluestacks. I will try it later this week.
 

svetz

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~13 kWh, full details in post #2. Good luck with Bluestacks, read the install carefully, they'll ask you to check the settings on your mother board to support it. Can't wait to see how it works...
 

svetz

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Looks like they're working on it remotely... they've got 1 one of the 4 batteries operational now (I've charge 10 kWh, so the others must be getting charged too).

There's a new interface that shows production and consumption:

1596305569040.png
They installed a CT to the grid this time around and so now the Envoy knows what it is exporting. If it checks out I should be able to eliminate the SDR in the monitoring system.
 

svetz

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Not 100% sure of course, but it looks like Enphase abandoned their backbone.js server on the Envoy. Supposedly I'm up-to-date and the last copyright on it is 2014. Certainly from google I know Enphase wants you to use their API services (which of course won't work when the public network goes down which is why I'd prefer talking to the Envoy). That's not to say the needed information isn't in there... still plodding my way through it. I suspect the envoy is streaming information to the Enphase servers with TLS encryption...if so there might not be a way to get the information locally.

They call the Envoy a "gateway"... has anyone sniffed the RJ-45 connection to see if they can see the PoE packets are available and unencrypted?

Update: no RJ-45 jack in the IQ Combiner...it's an add-on option.
 
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