Sunpower Maxeon and Enphase IQ7

Hi Marty,

Great forum, some great reads. 42 yr old family man finally jumping onto the solar wagon. We’ve got 2 girls, 4x2 home and the usual electrical gear but no pool…parents around the corner have that…on yer mum and dad!!

After an exhaustive go it alone research adventure (:weary:), I’m looking at the IQ7X micros running with the Max 2 360w panel. The ‘X’ micro is compatible on Enphases module compatibility calculator with the 360 Maxeon.
It’s good I researched as I was originally offered the 360 running the IQ7+ micros which are not compatible. I was really disappointed, if I didn’t research the pairing the set up would have been installed on my roof…shake your head stuff!

On the single phase I believe we can run up to 6.66kw - I’m on the south coast in NSW. Would I be right in saying I can run twenty 360W panels with the 320W micros - would give 7.2kw in panel capacity but only 6.4kw in inverter capacity. Is this correct?

Is there anything else you would recommend doing/checking. Am guessing it’s also a good idea to talk to our electricity company?

Thanks in advance Marty - Chris

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Hi @Chris2

Thanks for dropping a line, and words of support.

I believe you’re on to the right Enphase model with the Maxeon 2 (IQ7X). These are also top quality products as I’m sure you have read.

The next stage is to find an installer that you do trust, and that might mean speaking with 2-3 different ones, and reading a bunch of reviews. They will help guide you through the connection process.

It depends where you are on the south coast as to which distributor you are with (Essential Energy or Endeavour I think). I don’t know their rules currently, I have worked with Essential in the past and I believe it was generally a 5kW limit based on panel production not inverter output, but that was over 4 years ago. Also you needed to lodge an approval and wait for response before even 5kW was a sure thing. The installer needs to get that approval for you.

As for notifying your electricity retailer, I think if going solar you really want to have a look around the market and see what your best deals are. I think I put a bit about this in Chapter 8 Financial incentives for going solar of the Solar Guide, there is a government website for comparing tariffs http://www.energymadeeasy.gov.au/ also.

Good luck Chris and please keep us informed as to how you are getting on.

Cheers
Marty

Thanks Marty for the info. I called Endeavour and they will not allow an inverter bigger than 5kw on single phase. They have absolutely no problem with me going bigger but I have to sort 3 phase power. Great you pointed me in the right direction as the installer quoted me a system a lot bigger than 5kw and said I wouldn’t have to worry about 3 phase power.
I’ll have a read of the links you put up.
Here’s something also that raised my eyebrows. The Solar Installer I’m dealing with said in an email about the Maxeon 2 360W panel …

‘The IQ7+ microinverters will work with the above panels, but there would be some clipping on perfect sunny days, so the IQ7X is a better way to go’

When I ran the IQ7+ MI through Enphases module compatibility calculator the IQ7+ came up incompatible, how does clipping somehow then make it compatible??? I’m sure if someone ran a max2 360W panel with the IQ7+ MI and something went wrong, you wouldn’t have a leg to stand on warranty wise!!! I’ll keep you updated with everything as I go. Cheers Chris

Hey Chris

I really don’t like these model names for Enphase, I think they should be more descriptive, or at least more distinct. Anyway, that aside, look I think you would be fine to use iq7+ with the 360W panels. Oversizing is perfectly normal and often desirable, you can see details of that in the Guide. The standard is mentioned in the Enphase spec sheet so I imagine they anticipate this. I am 98.5% confident that there is no warranty issue with that either, but you might want to check with Enphase to be 100% sure. Having said that, this throws me a little “2. Maximum DC input limited to 350 W at 25oC as per AU/NZS 5033:2014 4.3.12(d).” Hopefully someone more familiar with Enphase installs will help us out.

The advantage of going the + instead of X is that you can maximise that 5kW inverter limit. More info on oversizing your inverter.

Cheers
Marty

More info in this thread if you haven’t seen it

Thanks Marty - will check out the links :+1:

Hi guys,
I’m no expert but I do sell a lot of Enphase. IQ7x is primarily for commercial deployment, 72 & 96 cell panels (not compatible with 60 cell) IQ7+ are compatible with 60 & 72 cell panels. Only thing you need to worry about is oversizing more than 33.3336% which is a CEC ruling. All Enphase inverters can couple with any panel, even round ones if that ever happens lol. Don’t worry about warranty on Enphase we have over 6000 out there, over the last 10yrs and never had a warranty claim for inverters. Some issues developing on the old Envoy R’s but the new Envoy - S are awesome. As an installer we only use Envoy-S metered. And they rock.

Kind regards
Den Thomson
Sales Manager
DownSouthSolarPower
Bunbury WA
:+1:

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Forgot to mention the IQ7 only comparable with 60 cell panels.

Afternoon all,

Have progressed with a little research that I thought I’d share for those interested. The Maxeon panel range from Sunpower are the panels I’m installing with the Enphase micros - specifically the Maxeon 2 360W running the Enphase 320W IQ7X.

A big part of my own research has involved running the black and white specs of various panels through Enphases module compatibility calculator. It’s online for anyone to use. Initially I had the option of pairing the Maxeon 3, 400W Sunpower module with the Enphase 295W IQ7+ micro by my installer, an installer who Sunpower recommended - I’m still going to use them by the way, I just want the system to be researched before I pay a deposit. After researching, not one parameter of the 360W Maxeon 2 module matched with the 295W IQ7+ micro on Enphases module compatibility calculator.

None of the Maxeon 3 range (370,390&400W) are compatible with any enphase micro - period. I had Sheryl Tablazon - a Sunpower technical support engineer - confirm with her contact from Enphase who is a Senior Product Trainer in Field Applications Engineering, the compatibility of the Max 3 range with the 320W IQ7X. The reply is below,

————I checked with Enphase and confirmed that the MAX3 Series in most situations are NOT compatible.
Ambient Low temperature presents the issue of the module VOC exceeding the microinverter input limit of 80VDC.————

Whilst I understand ‘clipping’ can be a good thing, a module still has to be compatible. There are plenty of big panels out there that are suited to an Enphase micro, an example is the LG 345W neon 2 paired with the 295W IQ7+. Not only is it recommended by Australia’s largest Enphase installer, it passed all parameters when run through the Enphase compatibility calculator.

As mentioned I have decided to run the Sunpower Maxeon 2 360W with the 320W IQ7X. Not only does it pass the Enphase calculator, it has been confirmed by Enphase engineering in writing that the two are suitable…and they also took into account the module being 104 cells. Enphase said it’s compatible with the Max 2 340/350&360W modules. Whilst the 320W IQ7X is used for commercial applications, it’s the only Enphase micro compatible with these panels. I also have it in writing from Enphase engineering they do not recommend pairing the Max 360W module with the 295W IQ7+ micro.

Anyway hope that all makes sense for anyone interested, just thought I’d share my findings. It’s not as simple as pairing a big panel to a smaller micro. In my opinion Sunpowers biggest panels are only suited to big DC/AC inverters like Fronius etc etc. I’m new to all this so if there’s anyone out there with other info that I’m missing please jump in by all means.

Marty - I did check mate with Endeavour regarding their ruling around system sizes. It’s also in black and white on the net…although no one takes notice. I’m guessing there is absolutely zero enforcement at the moment. I spoke to ‘Carol’ from Endeavours info line. She was firm in her ruling that no inverter can exceed 5kw and panel size cannot exceed a total of 8kw on SINGLE phase. My installer recommended up to and over (with micros) 6kw on single phase. I specifically asked when they were looking at the meter box if I needed to upgrade to 3 phase - ‘no’ was the answer.

Another very big installer said they have installed a heap of systems bigger than 5kw on single phase without a drama within Endeavours zone??? What does one do? Is Endeavour signing off on systems outside of their own guidelines - what is the connection process, who is talking to who??

I reckon I’m just going to stick within the rules as I don’t think the cost of 3 phase is worth it on top of a system that in my opinion is overkill. Not only that, I ain’t taking an installers word that ‘you’ll be right’ when the rules are black and white. Lastly it used to be that a 5kw system was big, now I think irrespective of what a households usage is, we all need 6 - 6.6kw now??? Who is winning here, the customer or the solar installers selling you the biggest system?

Food for thought - cheers

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Cheers Den - great to hear about the Enphase reliability from your experience. Hopefully I’ll see many happy years of ‘solaring along’:+1:

Yep Maxeon panels supported by IQ8 range available first quarter 2020
That’s when I’ll be stocking Maxeon

That’s great to know. I’ll check that out. Just curious Den - the 320W IQ7X is fine with some of the Maxeon range now, as confirmed by Enphase - do you steer clear of the IQ7X for residential apps? Cheers

Have sent an email to Endeavour Energy (cwbasic@endeavourenergy.com.au) to confirm system sizing rules against what we are being told by various installers. Once confirmed I’ll post the reply for those interested. Cheers

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Hi Chris,
I don’t sell any 96 cell panels, which are huge. So residentially probably not considered. I tend to steer clear of 72 cell panels for residential as well, again more designed for commercial deployment. We have Western Power as the distributor here and trying to get past the 5kW maximum inverter rule is challenging but can be done.
The way I understand oversizing panels to inverters is CEC rules, 33.3336% maximum. IQ7+ can handle about a 390w panel, but we still get a no when loading 370w into Formbay, a phone call usually sorts this.
The latest Maxeon range has literally just gotten STC approval early June.
I love these Panels, but I sell mainly premium gear, and Enphase is a big part of that,
I’ll stock them when the IQ8 range come out 1st Quarter 2020. The cell bypass technology on the Maxeon range is impressive so we need to allow the inverter companies time to catch up (not such a big deal on string inverters). I’m not sure why you’ve been told IQ7x will support some of the Maxeon range when it states quite clearly in the datasheet they support 96 cell panels only, and they’re for commercial deployment. They also cop a hit to the ambient temp range.
The industry is going through a technology leap right now, should settle in about 12 months. Big panels are here Sunpower already, Lg & REC in September.
So 300w plus is turning to 400w plus, Bifacial and split cells will be the norm, as far as panels go. Micro Inverters need to catch up and they will before next March.
Makes you wonder why Companies are still selling 275w poly panels, I wouldn’t sell runout lines. Mind you I just bought 10 palettes of LG 330w NeOn2 and ordered another 6 off the final factory run of the 330w middle of this month, because they’re going to disappear, but they work so well will the 6.6kW maximum rules I have to deal with. I don’t sell poly panels, 4 yrs ago there was a big gap in price from poly to mono, now it’s less than a couple of cents per watt. Most decent panel manufacturers are ceasing production of poly panels buy the end of 2019 (if they haven’t already).
Exciting times for solar in Australia consumers are more educated, the CEC is removing the weasels through legislation. And there’s still more than 2/3rds of the county left to convert to solar energy.

Kind Regards
Den

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Hi Guys,
Had some time did a bit of research. I was incorrect with my knowledge of Maxeon3 panels. I have looked at them before and found out from Sunpower they were still waiting for STC approval that was late May. The size of the panel is 104 cell the issue with the panel to inverter compatibility is voltage. The IQ7x is for 96 cells commercial deployment but it can handle the specs of the 370w Maxeon3, only just though. the slightly higher voltage on the 390w panel tips the scales to incompatible, the 400w even more so. I didn’t look too hard at Maxeons before I love their cell bypass tech. But the 400w size range put them on the list of wait for Enphase IQ8 series.
What I would consider, if I was you Chris is using 370w Lg NeOn R, way lower voltage and will couple straight up to IQ7+, there a really nice panel with a 25-year warranty.

Even using the 400w Maxeon3 on Fronius would be challenging on some rooftops for residential deployment as the voltages stack up pretty quick, and will limit string length.
8 panels + 8 panels = 16 total x 400w 6.4kW. 9 panels would be too high a voltage for the string total. So if I had a client and we wanted to go front of house facing NE, Side of house facing NW, and I could only fit 5 panels on the front of the house we’d be shot in the foot, total 13 panels x 400w 5.2kW (seem to getting further away from the 6.6kW WA maximum)

Kind regards
Den

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While we’re discussing it, I thought I should put a link here to our recent SunPower Maxeon solar panel review, which includes details about the Maxeon 2 and 3.

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A22 series – 66 cell – 400 to 415W - Monocrystalline IBC N-type (Gen 5)

Got my name written all over these guys LOL
Waiting Waiting

Regards
Den

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Hi Den,

Really appreciate your time replying as I’m sure others will also. Been flat out the last week. I haven’t decided on a solar system as yet, but I may very well take your advice and match up the LG NeON R 370W panel and the 295W IQ7+ micro.

Regarding advice on compatibility with the 104 cell Maxeon 2 360W module and the 320W IQ7X. This is the conversation between Sunpower and Enphase, please see copied email below -

————————START—————————

Hi Chris,

Good day.

We are glad to advise that the SPR-MAX2-360 is compatible with Enphase IQ7X .

Please see below email response from Enphase.

Thank you and regards,

Sheryl

Technical Support Engineer – Operations and Customer Care

Global Business and Finance Services | office 1.800.SUNPOWER |

sptxs-techsupport.au@sunpowercorp.com

Subject: Re: SPR-MAX2-360 Compatibility with Enphase MIs

Hi Sheryl,

This is an interesting example as the Cell count exceeds 96.

Good news however, these Modules are COMPATIBLE WITH IQ7X: SPR-MAX2-360, SPR-MAX2-350,SPR-MAX2-340,

Regards,

Duncan

Enphase Energy | Senior Product Trainer / Field Applications Engineering

—————————FINISH—————————

Sheryl also asked Duncan from Enphase about the compatibility of the IQ7X with the Maxeon 3 range and her reply is below -

——————START————————————

I checked with Enphase and confirmed that the MAX3 Series in most situations are NOT compatible. Ambient Low temperature presents the issue of the module VOC exceeding the microinverter input limit of 80VDC.

—————FINISH————————————-

I also got a reply yesterday from Endeavour regarding system sizing on our single phase, please see the reply below from the Applications Assessment Officer in Network Connections - made me feel a lot more at ease.

———————-START ——————————

Sorry about the delay is response to your email.

You can install any size unit you wish at your property. Of course it comes down to what you don’t use, you lose.

Without getting too technical, generally we allow an export ( the amount of electricity you pump back into our network) of up to 5 kilowatts to our network, unless the installer can provide calculations to us that the voltage rise throughout the system will be less than 3%. This means we need voltage rise calculations for the service mains ( the wires from our pole to your house), your consumer mains (the wires from where the service mains join to your house down to your switchboard), and the circuit wiring from your switchboard to the solar unit. There are programs on the internet that will carry out the calculations for the installer when they enter the values such as cable sizes and cable lengths.
We check the calculations and if we agree with them we won’t limit the export. Other wise it’s limited to 5KW export, and the Permission to Connect letter we issue will stress this amount.

If you install too larger system, and you don’t use the power produced by it then you lose it.

The old days of 60C per KWH export are gone. We do pay you for the power you export to our network, but the savings you make are using the power your unit generates yourself.

Give me a call if you would like further discussion

Regards

——————-FINISH—————————————

Definitely makes sense! Thanks again Den for your replies. Whilst I’m definitely beginner level, I’m understanding what you’re saying and definitely got my mind thinking some more.
Appreciate the recommendation of the NeON R 370 and the 295W IQ7+…the pair also get the big tick of approval on the Enphase calculator​:+1::+1:.

I’ll let everyone know how the install goes. Cheers

Hi Chris,
Thank you for your comments. I just had a look where you live.
I based my input to the Enphase calculator for my local conditions, and just scraped in on the Maxeon3 370w by less than 3 volts. So what they’re saying makes sense. I like the fact SunPower’s new range is more compatible with residential deployment. Cell count really adds a lot of voltage. I love the fact there coupling up to Enphase onboard micro’s in the future by reducing cell count. And this should bring the 25-year warranty for Enphase to Australia, at least with the SunPower inbuilt versions. At present, it’s a full 10-year and 25 in the USA. Like I said at the start of comments, I’m no expert but I do sell a lot of Enphase. This thread has taught me a lot of valuable information, just one of the reasons I’m here.

Kind regards

Den Thomson
Sales Manager
Down South Solar Power
Bunbury WA.

Ps. For an amature at Solar, your pretty switched on. Definitely an educated guy :wink:

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Dunno about educated, just a survivor😆. I know where you are Den…have had a few big nights up the road at that Brunswick Junction pub! (shaking head) Cheers

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