October 11, 2023

Enphase IQ Battery 5P vs Tesla Powerwall 2: Which is Right for You?

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Tesla Powerwall 2 Review – Penrith Solar Centre

Are you researching energy solutions for a new or existing solar system? Maybe you’ve come across some confusing terms like AC-coupled, microinverter, or DC optimiser. There are also so many companies, each with a different opinion on how to invest your hard-earned dollars.  

There’s a lot to study up on and digest! Without proper information, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when comparing your options. 

Many new solar systems are being installed with a battery. Homeowners are also adding solar batteries to existing solar systems in steadily increasing numbers and saving money on their energy bills. 

At Penrith Solar Centre, we only install two models of solar batteries: the Enphase IQ Battery 5P and the Tesla Powerwall 2. We believe that these two batteries offer the most bang for your buck to customers when it comes to features and affordability. But we want you to choose the battery that’s best for you, which is why this article is going to be an honest discussion comparing the two solar energy solutions.  

This… electrifying (sorry, not sorry) showdown will answer all your burning questions about the two products.  

In this article, you’ll learn: 

  • What is the Enphase IQ Battery 5P? 
  • What Are the Pros and Cons of Enphase? 
  • What is the Tesla Powerwall 2? 
  • What Are the Pros and Cons of the Powerwall? 

Then you’re going to compare the following between them: 

  • Cost 
  • Power Rating 
  • Energy Capacity 
  • Reliability 
  • Safety 
  • Compatibility and Scalability 
  • Monitoring and Management 
  • Size 

By the end of this article, you’ll be either Team Enphase or Team Tesla. So grab your sunnies because this is one competition where the sparks are sure to fly! 

What Is the Enphase IQ Battery 5P?

Enphase Energy, an American company known for its microinverter technology, introduced the Enphase IQ Battery 5P in North America a few years ago, and now it’s available in Australia. This battery is an all-in-one AC-coupled unit that uses microinverter technology inside to make it efficient. 

The Enphase IQ Battery 5P is an AC-coupled battery (spoiler alert: so is the Tesla Powerwall 2). In an AC-coupled battery solar system, the electricity generated by the solar panels changes from DC power to AC power using a microinverter attached to the back of each solar panel. This AC power is then sent to the AC-coupled battery, where it’s converted back to DC electricity for storage until later use. When needed, the AC-coupled battery changes this stored energy back to AC power to supply electricity to the house or feed it into the grid. 

AC-coupled System – Source: Penrith Solar Centre

This AC power is then directed to an AC-coupled battery, where it undergoes another conversion back to DC electricity for storage. When needed, the AC-coupled battery will convert this stored energy back into AC power to supply electricity to the house or feed it back into the grid. 

That’s a lot of electricity converted from AC to DC and back to AC again. There’s a slight loss of electricity every time there’s a conversion from AC to DC power. This loss is measured by a statistic called round-trip efficiency. To put round-trip efficiency in simple terms: if you charge a battery with 100 units of energy and can get 90 units back when you use it, the round-trip efficiency is 90%. The 10 units that are not retrievable were lost as heat or due to the battery management system operating losses during charging and discharging. The round-trip efficiency of the Powerwall is approximately 90%.  

The Tesla Gateway needs mentioning. It’s an additional, compulsory piece of equipment that is essentially the brains of the Powerwall. It tells the battery when to charge and discharge. It’s mounted next to the switchboard and works closely with the battery and the switchboard to direct electricity traffic in your home.  

Here’s how: your incoming consumer mains are diverted to the Tesla Gateway and through a contactor before going back to your switchboard. This is an advantage when there’s a grid outage. You’ll want the Powerwall to go into backup mode and supply your home with emergency power. The Gateway has a 200 amp contactor that opens when the grid goes out and it disconnects your home from the grid entirely. When the grid comes back on, that contactor will sync your home with the grid again. 

Enphase’s battery is unique compared to all batteries on the market because it contains six 680 W microinverters inside, making it charge and discharge faster than other batteries. Charge and discharge rates measure how quickly power goes into or out of the battery.  

The battery’s microinverters are IQ8D-BAT microinverters. The distributed architecture works in this way: if one of the six encased microinverters stops working, you’ll still have over 80% of your total battery charge and discharge capacity until it gets fixed under warranty. These microinverters work to ensure your power supply remains stable even if one of them has a hiccup. 

We’ve done both a review of the Enphase IQ Battery 5P and a cost analysis of the Enphase IQ Battery 5P. Please feel free to check them out and come back here when you’re done!  


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What Are the Pros and Cons of the Enphase IQ Battery 5P?

Like anything else you might shop for, the Enphase IQ Battery 5P has its moments in the sun and moments in the shadows. Here are a few pros and cons… 

Pros

  • Passive cooling with no moving parts or fans. A very quiet piece of technology. 
  • The encased microinverters are easy to install and replace with a plug-and-play design. 
  • The Enphase App is fantastic, offering a backup mode and self-consumption monitoring.  
  • It’s a stackable battery, which means you can link two or more together to increase your storage capacity in increments of 5 kWh.  
  • Black start capability: if the grid is down and your battery is fully depleted (including backup stored energy), it will kick start on again in the morning once the sun is up and the solar panels are operating again.  
  • The warranty is the best of any battery in solar. It covers 15 years or 6,000 cycles, whichever comes first.  

Cons

  • With only 5 kWh of energy storage, it’s limited in how much electricity it can hold in reserve. 
  • It’s only compatible with Enphase solar systems and Enphase microinverters.  
  • There is no backward compatibility with other Enphase battery models, so it’s not stackable within its own brand.  
  • It’s expensive.  
  • It needs to be connected to the internet at all times, but it does have an included sim card inside of it to make sure it constantly is.  

ENQUIRE about ENPHASE OR TESLA

What is the Tesla Powerwall 2?

Tesla Energy, an American corporation known for its work in electric vehicle research and production, redirected its primary efforts toward the creation of sustainable energy solutions in 2015 with the release of the Powerwall 1. The Powerwall 2 came out a year later and since then, it has undergone a series of refinements and enhancements over the past six years as the product was fine-tuned. 

As we mentioned above, the Powerwall is an AC-coupled battery. One of the reasons it’s so popular is that it’s compatible with any solar system. Like the Enphase battery, the conversion from AC to DC power is done in the battery by the inverter. Where Enphase has six microinverters, Tesla only has one inverter doing the job.  

We’ve also done both a review of the Tesla Powerwall 2 and a cost analysis of the Tesla Powerwall 2. Please feel free to check them out and come back here after you’ve read a bit more! 

An additional component that is required for the Powerwall to function is the Tesla Gateway. It’s the brains of the Powerwall, directing traffic (electrons) between the battery and the switchboard. Electricity naturally seeks the easiest route to travel, much like the flow of water. The Gateway diverts the electrical supply coming and going, depending on whether the power is flowing from your solar panels, the grid, or the battery.  

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What Are the Pros and Cons of the Tesla Powerwall 2?

Tesla Powerwall 2 – Source: tesla.com

The Powerwall has its perks and pitfalls. Here are some pros and cons to consider… 

Pros

  • It is compatible with literally every solar system in the world, whether a system has a string inverter or microinverters.  
  • Its storage capacity is 13.5 kWh, which is sizable.  
  • The Powerwall is stackable and can be connected to other Powerwalls to double, triple, or maximise your storage capacity with up to ten batteries per Gateway.  
  • It’s the only residential battery in Australia that’s liquid-cooled, keeping it at an optimum operating temperature of 25°C.  
  • The Tesla monitoring app is intuitive and easy to use. 
  • The warranty covers ten years with an unlimited number of cycles and a maximum degradation of 70%.  

Cons

  • Unlike Enphase, the Powerwall only has one internal inverter converting all coming and going electricity from AC to DC to AC again. The bad news is that if that inverter fails, the battery needs to be replaced. It’s a single point of failure and it cannot be fixed.  
  • The lack of black start capability is disappointing because the storage capacity is so large. While large energy storage is preferred for off-grid solar systems, it’s a bad choice for these solar systems because of this.  

cost of a tesla powerwall

Which is Better for You: Enphase or Tesla?

Here’s an easily digestible chart with some notes breaking each category down. This table is designed to give you a quick glimpse into the strengths and weaknesses of each piece of technology and which is a better solution for the specific criteria.  

In order to make it a fair fight, we’re going to include statistics for a stacked Enphase battery. It’ll even the odds a bit and prove for a better comparison.  

Without further ado:  

Tesla q vs tesla xl vs tesla xl vs tesla .
Tesla vs Enphase Comparison Chart – Source: Penrith Solar Centre

Cost: The cost of a solar battery is tricky to nail down sometimes. The installer, more than anything else, and the cost of that labour is what impacts the final cost the most. There are other factors that affect this as well; the size of the solar system and any additional components that are required for installation.  

The cost of the Enphase IQ Battery 5P by itself without additional parts and labour is $6,300, but once you factor in the installer and a system controller, it’s a higher range that goes as high as $10,999

Tesla Powerwall 2 is the more expensive battery, but it also ranges because of labour and an additional component called the Tesla Gateway that the battery will not work without. The Powerwall by itself is $12,100 as displayed on the Tesla website, but once you factor in the Gateway and labour it reaches just below $15,000

Tesla Powerwalls – Source: Penrith Solar Centre

Power Rating: It’s easy to draw a parallel between the behaviour of electricity and water. Power is electricity in motion through cabling or appliances, much like water rushing through a hose. It’s measured in kilowatts (kW).  

In the above table, there are two power ratings: continuous and peak. Continuous power is the amount of electricity discharged for a steady, prolonged period. It rates how long the power can be discharged uninterrupted. The continuous power rating for Enphase is 3.84kW, and the continuous power rating for the Powerwall is 5 kW. 

Peak power, on the other hand, is an electrical sprint. It rates the amount of power the battery can discharge for a limited period, usually about ten seconds. For Enphase, the peak power discharge time is 7.68 kW for 3 seconds and 6.14 kW for 10 seconds. For the Powerwall, the peak power discharge time is 7 kW for 10 seconds.  

Power vs Energy – Source: Penrith Solar Centre

Energy Capacity: To continue our water-is-like-electricity metaphor; when you think of energy capacity, think of it behaving like water in a bucket. It’s storage. The Powerwall is the winner when it comes to energy capacity by a mile. It can store two and a half times the amount of energy that Enphase can store at 13.4 kWh as opposed to 5 kWh.  

Safety: The chemistry of each battery is what we’ve used to determine the safety of each brand. Both Enphase and Tesla are grouped into a type of battery called lithium-ion. They do vary slightly though. Enphase is made up of lithium iron phosphate, which is cobalt-free. Being cobalt-free is more environmentally friendly and the battery can operate safely at higher temperatures, reducing the risk of fire. The Powerwall is lithium NMC (Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt), which is reasonably safe as long as the durable casing remains intact. It’s not as environmentally friendly, because it’s made with cobalt.  

Compatibility: Unfortunately, the Enphase battery is only compatible with Enphase microinverter solar systems and other Enphase IQ Battery 5P’s. Powerwall on the other hand is compatible with any type of solar system, even if there are multiple inverters.  

Scalability: One of the advantages of an Enphase battery is how stacking 5 kWh batteries together can help you zero in on more specific energy storage needs. For example, you might need 15 kWh for your home based on your consumption patterns. You can meet that need with three Enphase batteries, whereas with a Powerwall, you would need to stack two of them together for too much storage of 27 kWh. 

Monitoring and Management: Both batteries have similar monitoring and management systems. Which one you prefer really depends on personal user preferences. However, it should be noted that the Tesla App can only be accessed on an Apple or Android device, there is no browser support. 

Monitoring App – Source: enphase.com

Size: The Powerwall is massive compared to the Enphase IQ. It weighs nearly twice as much and takes up more room wherever it’s installed. The footprint of the Enphase battery is smaller, which is why we declared it the winner.  

ENQUIRE TESLA POWERWALL

Enphase IQ Battery 5P vs. Tesla Powerwall 2: Which is Right for You?

Both the Enphase and Tesla batteries are wonderful products. The choice between the two of them includes considerations of cost, performance, and compatibility. There are a few differences between them. Powerwall is cheaper per kWh and has a more compatible battery while Enphase has the decentralised architecture of six microinverters that make it more reliable.   

Which one is better? Well, it depends. Your specific energy storage needs are unique to you. There’s no simple answer. Every home or business investigating solar batteries has different goals and budgets. 

You should have a better understanding of each option now. With the power *ahem* of knowledge, you’re sure to make a more informed choice as an enlightened shopper.  

Enphase vs Tesla – Which is right for you? Penrith Solar Centre

If you’d like to learn more about whether a Tesla Powerwall 2 or Enphase IQ Battery 5P is the best solution for your solar system, new or existing, please give us a call, stop by our showroom, or fill out a request for a quote. We’re here to help!  

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