QueenBee
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Re: Solar Edge Optimizers?

Sun Apr 14, 2013 2:21 pm

ELROY wrote: Besides, if I want to start with trying to offset some of my usage during sunshine hours, the M215 would work just as well plugged into one of my 240v outlets. I am assuming it doesn't matter if I am feeding back 240v, it should directly offset any 120volt appliances being used in the house watt for watt??
Not exactly but close. The two hot wires coming into your house are not perfectly balanced. So if you turn your toaster on and turn lights on these two circuits might be on the same leg. So one 120v leg might be consuming more than the other 120v leg. The M215s will put an equal amount on both legs. So you could be sending power back on one leg and consuming power in the other. Depending on your meter this may cost you money. Once you have a net meter it obviously would properly measure the surplus and give you credit for it.

Obviously the city and the utility would not endorse doing this :)

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RegGuheert
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Re: Solar Edge Optimizers?

Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:43 am

Just for further reference, here is a picture of production numbers from M215 inverters in a system in Sunnyvale, CA showing that they produce 225W:
M215_Limiting.png
These panels are driven by LG MonoX 260W PV panels at 4/12 pitch (18.5 degrees) elevation facing 60 degrees West of South. There is a very small amount of limiting occurring in April. Given the low pitch, I wonder if there was much even in the colder temperatures of the wintertime.
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RegGuheert
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Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

Solarpro
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Re: Solar Edge Optimizers?

Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:38 am

The SolarEdge inverter and power optimizer combination is a much better buy than micro inverters when it comes to performance and reliability. First of all the Enphase M215 micro inverter is only rated for 215 watts maximum, so even though a typical 250 watt solar panel with a +5% tolerance rating is capable of outputting 5% more than 250 watts you will only get a maximum of 215 watts out from each Enphase inverter. With an average of twenty micro inverters in a typical system, this will be a tremendous loss of power over the life of your system. With a system using SolarEdge power optimizers instead of micro inverters you will have a much greater maximum output rating of 300 watts.

Second, the Enphase 215 is only rated for 96.3 maximum efficiency and a CEC weighted efficiency of 96%. SolarEdge offers a considerably higher peak efficiency rating of 98.3% and a CEC weighted efficiency of 97.5%. This may not seem like a big difference but when you consider the 30 to 40 years life expectancy of your solar panels, the difference in efficiency will add up to considerable amount of power.

Third, the Enphase 215 will only turn on when your shaded panels have reached 22 volts whereas a SolarEdge equipped solar panel will begin producing power with as little as 5 volts which yields better shade protection and better early morning, late afternoon energy harvest.

Fourth, with Enphase, the portal which allows you to connect to the Internet so that you can monitor your solar panel’s individual performance is optional and costs about $500.00 whereas with Solaredge the Internet portal is built in at no additional cost. Also with Enphase you have to purchase their expensive proprietary cabling which costs about $40.00 per inverter. With SolarEdge the cabling is built in at no additional cost.

We’ve been operating a factory authorized inverter repair center for the past 11 years and a common failure that we see involves electrolytic capacitors. Electrolytic capacitors use a semi liquid paste in their design. As electrolytics age, this paste tends to dry out and introduce ripple current into the inverter’s circuitry leading to failure. The hotter the environment, the higher the risk of electrolytic capacitor failure.

Enphase is one of the few micro inverter companies that still use electrolytic capacitors in their design (yes, the M-215 still uses electrolytics). Micro inverters are typically mounted under the solar panel on a hot roof which makes many in the industry question the life expectancy of micro inverters that use electrolytics. The problem is that even though you have a 25 year warranty, that warranty will not pay for the labor of removing and replacing micro inverters as they fail. SolarEdge converters do not use any electrolytics in their design and they use far less heat generating components which increases their life expectancy. SolarEdge does not use electrolytic capacitors in their under module mounted power optimizers.

An important point to remember is that micro inverters may offer a 25 year warranty but that warranty does not cover the labor costs for removing and replacing failed micro inverters. It is an inescapable fact that all inverters will eventually fail. Unfortunately they won’t all fail at the same time. You may have some micro inverters that will fail at year 11 after your installation warranty expires and a few more may fail at year 13 and a few more at year 16 and and so on.

None of the labor costs for these potential failures after year 10 will be covered by your warranty. And you can expect the cost for an electrician to climb up on to you roof and remove and replace failed micro inverters to be in the neighborhood of $300 to $500 per site visit.

SolarEdge recently announced that they now have over two million of their power optimizers installed worldwide and was recently awarded Intersolar’s prestigious 2012 innovation award in Munich, Germany.

We have been selling SolarEdge as long as we’ve been selling Enphase and have had no SolarEdge failures to date whereas we have experienced multiple Enphase failures.

Solarpro
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Re: Solar Edge Optimizers?

Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:09 pm

RegGuheert wrote:
ELROY wrote:Supposedly will allow much higher energy yield than the 215 watt Enphase limit.
I doubt it. Perhaps if you live in a very cold climate and are installing panels larger than 260W this might be an issue. Otherwise, it appears the Enphase M215s are more efficient.

I will point out that the Solar Edge central inverter almost certainly contains electrolytic capacitors and it is a single-point failure for the entire system.
Enphase micro inverters are not more efficient. per there own spec sheet they are only rated ay 96% CEC efficiency and 96.3% peak.

SolarEdge is rated at 97.5% CEC efficiency and 98.3% peak.

Also, the Enphase M-215 will not turn on until your module reached 22 volts. The SolarEdge power optimizer will turn on and begin producing power when your modules only reach 5 volts. Resulting in more energy harvest earlier when the Sun rises and later in the day as the Sun is setting.

You are correct, the Enphase system does not have a single point of failure. Instead it has multiple points of failure that are located in one of the most inverter hostile, hard to reach locations imaginable. (On your hot roof, underneath your solar modules) Micro inverter manufacturers cram everything including the MPPT circuitry, the communications circuitry, the inverter circuitry etc. into their airtight boxes and because of the micro inverter's lower efficiency (lower efficiency means that more energy is being wasted as heat) 96.3% peak versus 98.3% peak for SolarEdge, micro inverters are more prone to heat related failures.

I would rather have an easy to access, single point of failure on the ground to replace when an inverter fails than have to climb up on my roof and remove a solar module and the failed micro inverter every time a micro inverter fails. The problem is that they won't all fail at the same time. You may have 2 fail one year and 3 fail the next year and on and on as your micro inverter system ages. Better buy a good quality ladder or be prepared to pay someone to do it for you.

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Re: Solar Edge Optimizers?

Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:19 pm

Solarpro wrote:The SolarEdge inverter and power optimizer combination is a much better buy than micro inverters when it comes to performance and reliability. First of all the Enphase M215 micro inverter is only rated for 215 watts maximum, so even though a typical 250 watt solar panel with a +5% tolerance rating is capable of outputting 5% more than 250 watts you will only get a maximum of 215 watts out from each Enphase inverter. With an average of twenty micro inverters in a typical system, this will be a tremendous loss of power over the life of your system. With a system using SolarEdge power optimizers instead of micro inverters you will have a much greater maximum output rating of 300 watts.

Second, the Enphase 215 is only rated for 96.3 maximum efficiency and a CEC weighted efficiency of 96%. SolarEdge offers a considerably higher peak efficiency rating of 98.3% and a CEC weighted efficiency of 97.5%. This may not seem like a big difference but when you consider the 30 to 40 years life expectancy of your solar panels, the difference in efficiency will add up to considerable amount of power.

Third, the Enphase 215 will only turn on when your shaded panels have reached 22 volts whereas a SolarEdge equipped solar panel will begin producing power with as little as 5 volts which yields better shade protection and better early morning, late afternoon energy harvest.

Fourth, with Enphase, the portal which allows you to connect to the Internet so that you can monitor your solar panel’s individual performance is optional and costs about $500.00 whereas with Solaredge the Internet portal is built in at no additional cost. Also with Enphase you have to purchase their expensive proprietary cabling which costs about $40.00 per inverter. With SolarEdge the cabling is built in at no additional cost.

We’ve been operating a factory authorized inverter repair center for the past 11 years and a common failure that we see involves electrolytic capacitors. Electrolytic capacitors use a semi liquid paste in their design. As electrolytics age, this paste tends to dry out and introduce ripple current into the inverter’s circuitry leading to failure. The hotter the environment, the higher the risk of electrolytic capacitor failure.

Enphase is one of the few micro inverter companies that still use electrolytic capacitors in their design (yes, the M-215 still uses electrolytics). Micro inverters are typically mounted under the solar panel on a hot roof which makes many in the industry question the life expectancy of micro inverters that use electrolytics. The problem is that even though you have a 25 year warranty, that warranty will not pay for the labor of removing and replacing micro inverters as they fail. SolarEdge converters do not use any electrolytics in their design and they use far less heat generating components which increases their life expectancy. SolarEdge does not use electrolytic capacitors in their under module mounted power optimizers.

An important point to remember is that micro inverters may offer a 25 year warranty but that warranty does not cover the labor costs for removing and replacing failed micro inverters. It is an inescapable fact that all inverters will eventually fail. Unfortunately they won’t all fail at the same time. You may have some micro inverters that will fail at year 11 after your installation warranty expires and a few more may fail at year 13 and a few more at year 16 and and so on.

None of the labor costs for these potential failures after year 10 will be covered by your warranty. And you can expect the cost for an electrician to climb up on to you roof and remove and replace failed micro inverters to be in the neighborhood of $300 to $500 per site visit.

I strongly disagree that labor to replace one is that high. My installer can replace one in about 5 minutes. I've watched and I will be able to replace them myself after the.labor warranty expires. So your labor figure seems much exaggerated.

SolarEdge recently announced that they now have over two million of their power optimizers installed worldwide and was recently awarded Intersolar’s prestigious 2012 innovation award in Munich, Germany.

We have been selling SolarEdge as long as we’ve been selling Enphase and have had no SolarEdge failures to date whereas we have experienced multiple Enphase failures.
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Solarpro
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Re: Solar Edge Optimizers?

Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:57 pm

I queried several installers here in California for their (non-warrantied) rates for removal and replacement of a rooftop mounted micro inverter. The service call included: driving to the site, climbing up onto to a single story roof, removing one or more solar modules so that they could access the failed micro inverter, removing and replacing the failed micro inverter and final testing. The average that I found was $300 to $500 per replacement. Cost would of course vary depending on the local labor market. If you can perform the repair yourself, this may not be the safest option, but would definately be your most cost effective option.

QueenBee
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Re: Solar Edge Optimizers?

Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:07 pm

Solarpro wrote:The SolarEdge inverter and power optimizer combination is a much better buy than micro inverters when it comes to performance and reliability. First of all the Enphase M215 micro inverter is only rated for 215 watts maximum, so even though a typical 250 watt solar panel with a +5% tolerance rating is capable of outputting 5% more than 250 watts you will only get a maximum of 215 watts out from each Enphase inverter. With an average of twenty micro inverters in a typical system, this will be a tremendous loss of power over the life of your system. With a system using SolarEdge power optimizers instead of micro inverters you will have a much greater maximum output rating of 300 watts.

Second, the Enphase 215 is only rated for 96.3 maximum efficiency and a CEC weighted efficiency of 96%. SolarEdge offers a considerably higher peak efficiency rating of 98.3% and a CEC weighted efficiency of 97.5%. This may not seem like a big difference but when you consider the 30 to 40 years life expectancy of your solar panels, the difference in efficiency will add up to considerable amount of power.

Third, the Enphase 215 will only turn on when your shaded panels have reached 22 volts whereas a SolarEdge equipped solar panel will begin producing power with as little as 5 volts which yields better shade protection and better early morning, late afternoon energy harvest.

Fourth, with Enphase, the portal which allows you to connect to the Internet so that you can monitor your solar panel’s individual performance is optional and costs about $500.00 whereas with Solaredge the Internet portal is built in at no additional cost. Also with Enphase you have to purchase their expensive proprietary cabling which costs about $40.00 per inverter. With SolarEdge the cabling is built in at no additional cost.

We’ve been operating a factory authorized inverter repair center for the past 11 years and a common failure that we see involves electrolytic capacitors. Electrolytic capacitors use a semi liquid paste in their design. As electrolytics age, this paste tends to dry out and introduce ripple current into the inverter’s circuitry leading to failure. The hotter the environment, the higher the risk of electrolytic capacitor failure.

Enphase is one of the few micro inverter companies that still use electrolytic capacitors in their design (yes, the M-215 still uses electrolytics). Micro inverters are typically mounted under the solar panel on a hot roof which makes many in the industry question the life expectancy of micro inverters that use electrolytics. The problem is that even though you have a 25 year warranty, that warranty will not pay for the labor of removing and replacing micro inverters as they fail. SolarEdge converters do not use any electrolytics in their design and they use far less heat generating components which increases their life expectancy. SolarEdge does not use electrolytic capacitors in their under module mounted power optimizers.

An important point to remember is that micro inverters may offer a 25 year warranty but that warranty does not cover the labor costs for removing and replacing failed micro inverters. It is an inescapable fact that all inverters will eventually fail. Unfortunately they won’t all fail at the same time. You may have some micro inverters that will fail at year 11 after your installation warranty expires and a few more may fail at year 13 and a few more at year 16 and and so on.

None of the labor costs for these potential failures after year 10 will be covered by your warranty. And you can expect the cost for an electrician to climb up on to you roof and remove and replace failed micro inverters to be in the neighborhood of $300 to $500 per site visit.

SolarEdge recently announced that they now have over two million of their power optimizers installed worldwide and was recently awarded Intersolar’s prestigious 2012 innovation award in Munich, Germany.

We have been selling SolarEdge as long as we’ve been selling Enphase and have had no SolarEdge failures to date whereas we have experienced multiple Enphase failures.
Your facts aren't exactly 100% accurate and seem a bit exaggerated to prove your point that SolarEdge is better than Enphase. Another thing to remember is the M215 is a couple/few year old technology now and the next generation model will be released very shortly.

The M215's will put out a maximum of 225 watts even though they are rated at 215 watts. From my observations it takes some really really really optimal conditions for clipping to even happen, let alone be significant issue. Also remember that say a 250 watt panel may only have a 228 watt PTC rating. Also note that the 225 watt output is AC so this is after loss from tilt, orientation, soiling, DC wiring, diodes, panel aging, and of course the inverter itself. I think your assumption is just plain incorrect that connecting a 250 watt panel to a 215w M215 is going to have a significant impact on production, I'd guess that in most cases the inverters will never even clip.

Pretty awesome that SolarEdge has upped the efficiency game! It'll be interesting to see where Enphase comes in at with their next generation microinverter.

Do you have any studies showing what the difference between 22 volts and 5 volt makes? I can't imagine in either case there are very many amps behind the voltage so I doubt we are talking about very much power but as you point out even a little bit over the life of a system can add up.

You are incorrect in stating that Enphase does not cover the labor. In fact they go as far as to cover the labor to replace the failed microinverter AND to pay for the lost production. AFAIC any of the solar installers you called that are quoting those kind of outrageous prices should not be used. Had I not installed the system myself I would expect that the installer replace any failed units for the entire life of the Enphase warranty with the cost being reimbursed to them from Enphase. Will be interesting to see if Mark Davis reads this and responds with his take on this issue as an installer in California who is actually reasonable.

The cost of Enphase wiring is nearly 50% of what you quoted.... As a DIYer the Engage wiring was much easier to work with than having to learn how to properly design and install DC wiring. Being able to add additional panels to the existing branches without having to worry about string sizing, etc. was very nice as well.

The Envoy isn't cheap but you forgot to mention that the full features of the SolarEdge portal are not free and I presume is an annual fee for reporting and alerting. Then the basic monitoring is not free after 25 years.

Actually after rereading their spec sheets I think you might be overstating their efficiency. The optimizer has a CEC Weighted Efficiency of 98.7% and their inverter is 97.5%. Doesn't that mean you are getting more like 96.2% efficiency out of the entire inverter system?

Just for fun I compared the pricing of two systems from Ecodirect. I picked 22x250 watt 5,500 DC watt system. I was surprised to find how similarly priced they are. Obviously as you play with different numbers of panels and system sizes the price differences change but this is just one example.

SE5000A-US 1 1,517.86 1517.86
OP250-LV-MC4SM-2NA 22 77.62 1707.64
Extension from 12 to 25 years 1 469 469
3694.5

M215-60-2LL-S22 22 142.08 3125.76
ET10-240 22 25 550
IEMU-03 with ethernet powerline bridge 1 498.95 498.95
3675.76

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RegGuheert
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Re: Solar Edge Optimizers?

Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:40 pm

Solarpro wrote:The SolarEdge inverter and power optimizer combination is a much better buy than micro inverters when it comes to performance and reliability. First of all the Enphase M215 micro inverter is only rated for 215 watts maximum, so even though a typical 250 watt solar panel with a +5% tolerance rating is capable of outputting 5% more than 250 watts you will only get a maximum of 215 watts out from each Enphase inverter.
215W is guaranteed, but they limit at 225W. See my previous post earlier in this thread.
Solarpro wrote:With an average of twenty micro inverters in a typical system, this will be a tremendous loss of power over the life of your system.
I assume you mean energy rather than power since you say "over the life of your system". In any case, this is a red herring. In reality, you will likely lose less than about 0.5% of your energy production due to this power limit with a 250W panel, less in a warmer climate like CA. That is not a "tremendous loss" in my book.
Solarpro wrote:With a system using SolarEdge power optimizers instead of micro inverters you will have a much greater maximum output rating of 300 watts.

Second, the Enphase 215 is only rated for 96.3 maximum efficiency and a CEC weighted efficiency of 96%. SolarEdge offers a considerably higher peak efficiency rating of 98.3% and a CEC weighted efficiency of 97.5%. This may not seem like a big difference but when you consider the 30 to 40 years life expectancy of your solar panels, the difference in efficiency will add up to considerable amount of power.
O.K., it seems efficiency is 1.5% higher. So perhaps 2% better energy harvest when combined with the higher power limit. That's good!
Solarpro wrote:Third, the Enphase 215 will only turn on when your shaded panels have reached 22 volts whereas a SolarEdge equipped solar panel will begin producing power with as little as 5 volts which yields better shade protection and better early morning, late afternoon energy harvest.
Sorry, I don't see this as something that would make a difference in most installations.
Solarpro wrote:Fourth, with Enphase, the portal which allows you to connect to the Internet so that you can monitor your solar panel’s individual performance is optional and costs about $500.00 whereas with Solaredge the Internet portal is built in at no additional cost. Also with Enphase you have to purchase their expensive proprietary cabling which costs about $40.00 per inverter. With SolarEdge the cabling is built in at no additional cost.
Total system cost is what matters. Which has a lower lifetime cost?
Solarpro wrote:We’ve been operating a factory authorized inverter repair center for the past 11 years and a common failure that we see involves electrolytic capacitors. Electrolytic capacitors use a semi liquid paste in their design. As electrolytics age, this paste tends to dry out and introduce ripple current into the inverter’s circuitry leading to failure. The hotter the environment, the higher the risk of electrolytic capacitor failure.
Agreed. As discussed previously, SolarEdge central inverters almost certainly have electrolytic capacitors in them and there are indications that M215 microinverters do not (otherwise they would have the same 15-year life limit that the M190s have). This may be a plus for Enphase.
Solarpro wrote:Enphase is one of the few micro inverter companies that still use electrolytic capacitors in their design (yes, the M-215 still uses electrolytics).
Source, please. We have discussed this extensively and we have not been able to find a credible source, only one person who stated that they have moved the 120-Hz filter capacitor from the input to after an initial boost converter, allowing the energy storage to be done with a film capacitor in the M215. Do you have a better source for your assertion?
Solarpro wrote: Micro inverters are typically mounted under the solar panel on a hot roof which makes many in the industry question the life expectancy of micro inverters that use electrolytics. The problem is that even though you have a 25 year warranty, that warranty will not pay for the labor of removing and replacing micro inverters as they fail. SolarEdge converters do not use any electrolytics in their design and they use far less heat generating components which increases their life expectancy. SolarEdge does not use electrolytic capacitors in their under module mounted power optimizers.

An important point to remember is that micro inverters may offer a 25 year warranty but that warranty does not cover the labor costs for removing and replacing failed micro inverters. It is an inescapable fact that all inverters will eventually fail. Unfortunately they won’t all fail at the same time. You may have some micro inverters that will fail at year 11 after your installation warranty expires and a few more may fail at year 13 and a few more at year 16 and and so on.
The same discussion applies to the SolarEdge units, plus they have a central inverter that can also fail.
Solarpro wrote:None of the labor costs for these potential failures after year 10 will be covered by your warranty. And you can expect the cost for an electrician to climb up on to you roof and remove and replace failed micro inverters to be in the neighborhood of $300 to $500 per site visit.
As mentioned above, both have module-mounted equipment. The only thing that really matters is the relative reliability and relative lifespans.
Solarpro wrote:SolarEdge recently announced that they now have over two million of their power optimizers installed worldwide and was recently awarded Intersolar’s prestigious 2012 innovation award in Munich, Germany.
That's good. How many Enphase microinverters have been installed?
Solarpro wrote:We have been selling SolarEdge as long as we’ve been selling Enphase and have had no SolarEdge failures to date whereas we have experienced multiple Enphase failures.
That's good information. How many years have you been selling them? What is the current MTBF for your Enphase installations? How many failure-free module-years do you have on the SolarEdge units? I am tracking Enphase microinverters and we have an ongoing discussion in this thread. Feel free to join in there with additional data. I would be interested to see third-party public MTBF tracking of SolarEdge MTBF for comparison's sake. FWIW, NO failures of Enphase M215 microinverters have yet been observed. However, there are several systems with multiple failures of Enphase M190 microinverters. These few systems greatly lower the observed MTBF. It is not clear why the failures are grouped by system. I suspect it is either bad manufacturing batches, poor installations, lightning or some combination of the three.
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K mi. on 041413; 20K mi. (55.7Ah) on 080714; 30K mi. (52.0Ah) on 123015; 40K mi. (49.8Ah) on 020817; 50K mi. (47.2Ah) on 120717; 60K mi. (43.66Ah) on 091918.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

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DeaneG
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Re: Solar Edge Optimizers?

Thu Jul 04, 2013 7:55 pm

How exactly do you turn on temperature plotting on the enlighten website?

I've had two Enphase inverter failures in 2.5 years of operation. The two failed inverters were adjacent. I think they are M170's but am not sure: the inverter part number is 800-00021-r04.
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RegGuheert
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Re: Solar Edge Optimizers?

Thu Jul 04, 2013 8:14 pm

DeaneG wrote:How exactly do you turn on temperature plotting on the enlighten website?
See this post and this addition for instructions.
DeaneG wrote:I've had two Enphase inverter failures in 2.5 years of operation. The two failed inverters were adjacent. I think they are M170's but am not sure: the inverter part number is 800-00021-r04.
They may be M170s. Mine are M190s and report: 800-00065-r03.
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K mi. on 041413; 20K mi. (55.7Ah) on 080714; 30K mi. (52.0Ah) on 123015; 40K mi. (49.8Ah) on 020817; 50K mi. (47.2Ah) on 120717; 60K mi. (43.66Ah) on 091918.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

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