Enphase Energy debuts smart thermostat for solar power

California's Enphase Energy has introduced a smart thermostat that's compatible with solar installations.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

Solar energy management company Enphase Energy on Wednesday introduced a smart thermostat that's compatible with solar installations.

The Petaluma, Calif.-based company calls the device the "Environ Smart Thermostat." In essence, it's thermostat-cum-smart meter that allows the homeowner of facilities manager to manage a solar installations alongside their heating and cooling systems from one place.

The smart thermostat wirelessly connects to the company's microinverter product via the Zigbee standard protocol, which allows for the control of indoor climate settings using a Web browser or smartphone.

Over at Earth2Tech, Katie Fehrenbacher points out one technical plus of Enphase's product:

Enphase's core business, and innovation, is around the microinverter, which does the DC to AC conversion at the level of an individual solar panel, rather than at a large central conversion device. A centralized converter is vulnerable to one failure taking down the whole system, and the weakest panel in a solar array can drag down the efficiency of better-performing panels. Eventually Enphase wants to embed its microinverters directly into solar modules so that the two are sold bundled to installers.

It's the next logical step in bringing more intelligence to the ol' thermostat on the wall.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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