How in the world can they compete against SMA and PWER-ONE.
ENPH was an early entrant into the Microinverter arena which apparently was a smashing success in the niche market of residential solar. However the company is predicting that they become profitable at 85 million in revenue. Estimates are that they will hit about 45 million in the Q1 of 2013. Unfortunately for them, Pwer-One and SMA are launching their versions of the Microinverter as well as their many other product offerings. That awesome 45% market share that Enphase has of the US residential market is going to shrink and quickly as Power-ONE and SMA are bankable companies that are going to be there in 20-25 years. ENPH doesn't have the financials to back that up. The only way ENPH survives is if they get bought out.
I have a different view. For disclosure I own both ENPH and PWER as well as have 86 Enphase inverters on my house. Enphase has a superior product with better efficiency and heat handling ability than their competetition. As for cost, examination of cost per KWH vs cost of instillation is the appropriate comparison. These exist to make power. More efficiency, fewer pannels and lower cost of production, not cost per panel
So when examined under these parameters ENPH is extremely competetive, offers the customer superior customer service, and IMO the investor an opportunity to profit over time. This is after all a new issue.
Using today's panels that system is around 20 kw. Have you had any problems with your Enphase inverters? I am in the market for a 30 panel system and plan on using enphase combined with Solarworld panels. Enphase at $7.5 will pay for the entire system:-)
Since it appears that ENPH's product offering is limited, this would be the exception to the rule. If ENPH's MI is superior to it's competitors than they have a shot. Otherwise, with the push of MIs from SMA and PWER-ONE, I don't see how ENPH can complete against a more complete product offering from bankable companies.
I will say that the CEO is quite confident in talking about market share;
"Sure. So, as we mentioned, we exited the year with tremendous market share in the U.S. In fact, I don't really know of any other solar company that has had this kind of market share. However, I think what we're seeing is a very clear and undisputable trend towards microinverters on the global rooftop market, and as a result, I think what we're going to see is an increased utilization of microinverters across the globe. We clearly lead this space, and I fully expect us to maintain and increase our lead in the markets that we're in and the markets that we're going to be in. "
The CEO pumping microinverters for a microinverter company makes perfect sense. Do people need microinverters? Not really. There are benefits in some cases (shading, up-selling per-module monitoring, etc). But, a system actually can be cheaper with a central inverter and ENPH has none of these. PowerOne inverters are now beating the price of SMA inverters and offering dual MPPT within one central inverter. This allows someone with a need for two angles of modules on one roof to get it done with one inverter over microinverter solutions. ENPH has a growing pps market share and perhaps this is a sign of something coming up (products or buyout).
One longer-term benefit of being ENPH is that installers are afraid to try new things. They may know ENPH install processes and their installer guys just don't want to take a chance with PWER or SMA micro-inverters. They have to support the nagging customers once the system is up and running so ENPH at least has some track record. The devil you know is better than the devil you don't know.