2023 is going to be a year to remember in the solar industry. After a small break in episodes, we kick off the new year with Solar Tech Talk 17 – can you believe we have been doing STTs over a year and a half, now?
We start off this show by welcoming a new co-host, Jason Burnett from our technical sales team. He and Aaron Bingham dive into the weeds with Ashley Martin-Gollis of Enphase, to share how updates to the IQ8 microinverter help solar installers maintain code compliance. Then, David Dunlap, BayWa r.e.’s VP of Strategy, gives a run down of the 3 most important policy pieces for the industry and what solar installers should we looking for.
Watch or listen to the full episode below or browse the show topics in the recap.
Highlights From This Episode:
Welcome to the Show, Jason: (1:26)
For everything there is a season. As our 2022 co-host Tiernay Marsh takes on more leadership roles within BayWa r.e., she hands her Solar Tech Talk mic to Jason Burnett. Jason, a veteran solar installer, and solar technology aficionado, joins our show after multiple years in the field and on the BayWa r.e. team. He co-hosts alongside our Tech Talk leader, Aaron Bingham, to bring listeners more educational solar content in 2023.
But don’t worry, Tiernay will join us intermittently throughout the show to share her growing expertise in all things solar sales and forecasting.
Technical Sales Support
BayWa r.e. Solar Systems
A Conversation with Enphase: (3:26)
We are joined this episode by one of our most influential solar manufacturing partners, Enphase. Ashley Martin-Gollis, their Director of Product Marketing, dives into the latest developments at Enphase and their IQ8 microinverters.
IQ8 – Transitioning from the IQ7: (4:04)
The IQ8 microinverter, the industry’s first grid-forming microinverter with split-phase power conversion capabilities, is now the standard for Enphase as installers shift away from the IQ7. Ashley details how the IQ8 can form a microgrid and offer sunlight backup. She also shares a look down the road at a new three-phase version of the commercial IQ8 and higher amperage versions to pair with higher power modules.
Director of Product Marketing
Next Steps in EV Charging: (6:20)
Thanks to their acquisition of ClipperCreek last year, Enphase is now a leader in the EV charging market. Enphase recently announced they are developing a bi-directional EV charger that would allow vehicle to home and green charging to enable a homeowner’s car to charge from the green electrons they generate from their solar systems. Stay tuned for updates from Enphase on this in the near future.
Aaron, Jason, and Ashley also speak to:
- Vehicle to home and vehicle to grid functionality
- Increasing ROI for electric car owners
- VPP and grid service programs that financially incentivize homeowners
Tune into the episode at 6:20 to hear their conversation.
Innovations & Improvements: (9:41)
Enphase’s team has been busy. Over the past year, they have implemented A LOT of system-wide improvements to the IQ8. Here are a few that Ashley cataloged for us:
- Reduced commissioning times by about 70%
- Software improvements and preinstalled software to support install efficiency
- Grid transitions improved by 4x
- IQ Load Controller installation support program
- Software communication stability
- Ability to reverse polarity of a consumption CT without being on site – all through the Enphase Installer Portal
IEEE 1547-2018: How Enphase helps solar installers get ahead of the standard (15:18)
The national grid interconnection standard, IEEE 1547-2018 was published in several years ago, but adoption is just starting in many states. Most Enphase products are compliant with the standard, but here is what you need to know:
- The standard is not retroactive – it can only be applied to new installations
- New Enphase data sheets show whether products have passed UL 1741 SB 3rd Edition, the testing that shows compliance with IEEE 1547-2018
Attention California Installers:
IEEE 1547-2018 will be adopted in California on April 1. NEM 3.0 goes into effect on April 15. When submitting your interconnection applications between these two days, make sure to use compliant SKUs to grandfather your projects into NEM 2.0.
Listen to the episode at 15:18 for more info.
Ashley also walks through the Enphase communication product SKUs that comply with this standard. Listen in to the podcast at 16:39 to get more details.
Our conversation with Ashely is rounded out with a great case study from a homeowner that used his Enphase system to power through an 8-day grid outage in a snowstorm. Tune into the podcast to hear Bruce’s story and get deeper insights on the items mentioned above.
A Look at Policy with David Dunlap: (29:45)
For the second half of the show, Jason and Aaron sit down with David Dunlap, BayWa r.e’s Vice President of Product Strategy, to delve into 2023 policy and what it means for solar installers. A brief recap is below but watch or listen to the full episode for more details.
IEEE 1547-2018: (30:12)
The IEEE Standard for Interconnection and Interoperability of DERs is an important one for solar installers. As each state and AHJ (authority having jurisdiction) adopts this new standard at different times, solar component manufacturers are prioritizing their distribution of compliant products to support the timelines of these adoptions in each region. Make sure the products you choose have the correct compliance standards for your region!
Vp of Product Strategy
BayWa r.e. Solar Systems
Inflation Reduction Act: (32:27)
Several points in the IRA are key for solar installers to follow:
- Resetting the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) to 30% for the next 10 years went into effect immediately
- A 30% standalone storage credit was also put into effect on Jan. 1, 2023 for all systems installed after that date.
This is Important!
Check out the podcast at 35:35 for a thorough explanation of the two parts of domestic content in the IRA and how it could affect your project finance.
Other Domestic Content benefits are for low income, community, or tribal land installs and are included in the section 48d commercial section of the policy, but do not apply to homeowners –We are still waiting on further guidance from the US Department of Treasury to fully understand how those will be applied, but it will make a difference for your financial modeling in your projects.
NEM3.0 – California Net Metering Changes: (42:31)
A big change to solar net metering in California goes into effect on April 14, 2023. This is a big deal for many installers in the state as the economics of a residential solar systems changes rather dramatically.
The difference? Designing a homeowner’s system to overproduced so they get retail rates on excess energy will no longer be advantageous. The balance of production and consumption will now be even more important so sizing a system to the needs of the home and the customer’s rate structure will have to be more strategic.
There are some advantages, though, if a system is optimized to export power at high rate periods and avoid exporting at low rate periods. That’s where storage comes in and a key focus on understanding your Time of Use cases for export structuring.
Tune in to the podcast at 44:53 to hear David’s explanation of this process.
There’s so much more to this podcast than the recap above. Watch or listen to the full episode to hear the full conversation.
BayWa r.e. Solar Systems LLC supplies residential and commercial solar installers in the United States with quality solar + storage components, forecasting, business planning advice, and a community of experts. Visit www.solar-distribution.com to read our industry insights articles and stream our Solar Tech Talk and Solar Town Hall podcasts on YouTube and Spotify. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to stay connected. Ask us about our Split Pay financing program and use our industry-leading Webstore to save time, get gear shipped, and get jobs done! Part of the BayWa r.e. Global family of renewable energy companies.