1. The data sheet for the Chili shows 220 watts sustained whereas the Enphase shows 240 watts. When I see two power levels in a data sheet, I wonder if the higher one is inflated.
The CP-250 CEC listing is at 220Watts which is why our rated output power is 220W. However, the inverter is UL 1741 qualified to run indefinitely at 65C ambient 1.04A @ 240V which is 250Watts. The inverter retains the efficiency at 250Watts.
2. The touch screen offers no advantage, the initialization is done on-line in either case, and better done so with a full size screen.
The touch screen offers the advantage of single setup. The array configuration done on the touch screen is sent to the cloud. The cloud does not need additional setup. For customers who want nothing to do with the cloud, our gateway provides a stand alone monitoring solution where all solar production data can been seen on a high resolution 7" display.
3. It appears the Chili comes with a standard 17 port trunk cable (don’t know why 17, maximum circuit size is 15). Every 12 module system we sell will mean we waste 5.
The trunk cable is cut to order. There is no requirement to by 17 taps. Any mention of 17 taps is an error on the existing website that we believe has been removed, if you can point us to where you have found this info, we will insure it is corrected. In summary, there is no waste on the customer side when ordering cables from us.
4. Enphase allows 16 inverters on a string, Chilicon Power 15.
We allow 15 inverters because we provide 10 more watts of output per inverter. EnPhase M250 output is 240Watts. The extra 10 watts reduces our string size to 15 inverters.
5. I don’t want to go to two monitoring sources unless there is a good reason to do so.
We provide a dashboard for installers to monitor all of their installations from a single page. We suspect customers will not frequently check the website since they have the gateway appliance installed within the home, they of course will always be able to do so, but we believe cloud monitoring will mainly be of interest to installers with the Chilicon system.
6. We are pretty happy with enPhase and are geared up for and understand what to expect
The inverter installation experience between enPhase and Chilicon is nearly identical. The Chilicon system provides superior gateway technology. The enPhase Envoy ships with an adaptor for WiFi and grey scale display. Chilicon, for less money per unit, integrates WiFi and provides a 7" touch screen controlled device than can manage all aspects of the solar array as an appliance. The web connectivity is provided so that installers can remotely monitor their installed base. We believe customers will view their array information on the Gateway device most of the time, but of course can login to the cloud site if they want to.
7. Micro inverters are probably not appropriate for this ground mount anyway. I show 3 strings of 10 into a Solectria PVI7500. This has a AC/DC ratio of 1.1 which is fine in the north county climate.
The ability to monitor PV modules across their operating lifetime provides a peace of mind advantage that does not come with string inverters. PV Modules do fail, individual monitoring provides this information immediately, not after months of lost production. In the case that 1 panel fails, the whole array does not fail. This reduces customer production loss and service call requirements.
8. Our elderly clients rarely look at on-line monitoring. We need to make certain this is something a given customer wants before we choose a microinverter over a string inverter if other factors favor a string inverter.
This is a good reason to have the information display on an appliance for customers who prefer not use the cloud for the time overhead or for privacy concerns.