"You can say the same thing about Apple."
Apple has had years to develop their reputation and become a household name.
Tesla is working on their reputation and has developed the best car that Consumer Reports has ever tested. They could do the same with their battery solution because they know how important that is. Compared to Enphase they are likely pouring a lot more money into their battery solution than Enphase ever could. Enphase needed $17M for operating expenses last Q and is now down to their last $15M. They had better be close to done with the battery development and they cannot afford to run into any glitches going forward.
When consumers are shopping for batteries which name will ring the most bells, Tesla or Enphase? Elon Musk or Paul Nahi? We already know what battery solution SolarCity and Vivent will be promoting. Higher volume sales usually translates to lower prices and more competitive products.
Enphase will no doubt have a credible battery solution but I would not underestimate Tesla and their Gigafactory and their hiring a team of battery brains approach. Their battery solution will likely score very well when evaluated by Consumer Reports. How well compared to Enphase remains to be seen. The battery wars are about to begin. Tesla will be out of the gate this year and Enphase soon after during next year. Maybe Enphase should at least offer their boxes in different colors like Tesla is doing. Consumers are not all technology geeks that will be impressed with bidirectional microinverters especially if one solution costs less than the other.
With their Gigafactory approach, Tesla could bring the price of battery solutions down to a point where Enphase will run into the same problem with their battery technology as they are with their microinverter technology. Too expensive, too limited as to power handling capability and not for backup.
Paul did not understand the need to be price competitive until competitive DC power optimizers came along and the analysts and shareholders drilled it into him. He even admitted it was not a priority. Now he says "we get it". Paul, you should have gotten it a long time ago. CEOs are supposed to lead not follow.
Pumpers, do not hurt yourselves pounding the thumbs down button. Others, debate is welcome.
With all this bullish news for the solar industry and ENPH, can anyone provide a logical explanation for the continued price drop?
Competition, slowing rate of growth of top line, bottom line not profitable at least not yet, oil (energy) prices dropping, their microinverter technology approach may run into limitations in terms of higher cost required by putting all intelligence on every single solar panel and they do have power handling limitations due to their semiconductor based power conversion approach. In other words they cannot handle solar panels that output more wattage than the microinverter can handle.
Microinverters are limited to on grid applications and shut down when the grid goes down. Presently there are no microinverters available for off grid solar PV systems.
The DC Optimizer approach does not have the cost and power limitations that microinverters do and can be used for both on grid and off grid applications. The DC optimizer approach puts only the necessary intelligence on every single solar panel and the other intelligence goes in a box on the wall with essentially no technology limitations or upgrade limitations.
Here is the microinverter value proposition. Due to the higher initial cost, It takes 25 years to finally get a 2 to 3% efficiency advantage over DC optimizers and to pay less for electricity over that time period.
Some believe 600V DC on the roof is a problem and some don't. DC optimizers have built in safety shut downs.
Some believe the reliability of wall mounted inverters is a problem and others do not. Reliability and efficiency of wall mounted inverters is continuously improving and you can purchase longer warranties anyway.
As far as battery solutions go, the industry is going one way (DC) and Enphase is going the other (AC) because they have to. The Enphase battery is not for backup. Most other battery solutions can be used the same way as the Enphase battery as well as for backup.
"Anti-dumping duties and a weak balance sheet will continue weighing on the stock's performance going forward, which is why investors should avoid Canadian Solar."
Anti dumping duties are an issue but the weak balance sheet may be over stated.
The balance sheet of these companies typically has a lot of debt.
The balance sheet is not much different than it has been right along.
CSIQ does not seem to have any problems getting money for their projects.
The demand for solar panels is strong enough that there may even be a shortage.
Things are not as positive as they were before so I guess that means they are more negative relatively speaking.
The main factor in the lower stock price has been lower oil prices which has affected all of the solar stocks.
It may be difficult for a small company to compete with the growing list of the battery giants. Now that things are really heating up there could be some consolidation that just might be helpful to certain shareholders holding the right stocks of companies struggling to be recognized for their technologies. A large well financed company could perhaps do better than a small company in terms of reducing the cost of their good technology like Enphase has. We need a microinverter on a chip and not on a 6X6 circuit board if that is even possible. That will take some money.
Tesla Motors TSLA 2.42% has signed a 5-year exclusive partnership this week with Jeff Dahn, a leading lithium-ion battery researcher and professor at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. Dahn is currently working on a project funded by 3M and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to develop longer lasting, lower cost lithium-ion battery cells. The exclusive partnership with Tesla will begin in June 2016, once Dahn has completed the 3M research project.
Dahn’s focus won’t just be cost, nor will his research apply only to the lithium-ion batteries used in Tesla’s electric cars. His research team aims to increase both the energy density — or the amount of energy that can be stored in a battery per its volume — and the lifetime of lithium-ion cells, which could, in turn, help drive down costs in automotive and grid energy storage applications.
Under the agreement, Tesla will support Dahn’s team of about 20 graduate students, technical staff and post-docs for at least five years. Tesla and Dahn did not disclose specific financial details of the agreement.
Enphase's AC battery is battery cell agnostic. Maybe some day the Enphase AC battery will include a Tesla cell? Seems that there should soon be a publication that rates residential and commercial battery systems.
Consumers need more information. Maybe we can get Consumer Reports to start rating solar system components?
This space will become very price competitive which has not been Enphase's strong point.
Plug-and-play battery seeks to upstage Tesla
08/24/15, 05:24 AM | Storage & Distribution | battery backup
By Morgan Lee for the San Diego Union Tribune: It looks like a simple floor lamp, or a sleek picture frame on the wall. Inside lies a tantalizing future for household energy storage -- a 2 kilowatt-hour battery that plugs into a standard wall outlet and can keep an electrical circuit hot for several hours or more if a power outage strikes.
The unproven concept for a plug-in-play battery was introduced Thursday by San Diego-based Orison during a forum at the University of California San Diego. Len Hering, executive director of the Center for Sustainable Energy, praised the 2-year-old startup's efforts in a news release.
Orison CEO and co-founder Eric Clifton, drawing on seven years of experience in green technology startups, believes the battery tower and wall unit can play a prominent role in the emerging Internet of Things, providing the energy-storage equivalent of the Nest smart thermostat.
"The way we look at it, we are the Nest of the energy industry," he said.
Clifton believes that other early household battery entries -- most notably the Powerwall from electric car maker Tesla Motors -- miss the mark on bringing energy storage to the masses.
Tesla's hefty home battery has to be professionally mounted and hardwired into household circuity, potentially involving inspections and permits.
Declining oil prices bring all renewable energy stocks down. If you are long renewable energy stocks, pray for higher oil prices. Why there is correlation does not matter, it exists.
"My thinking is when it boils down to smart vs dumb sometimes dumb wins...but not usually in this day and age. "
Good point and the ultimate answer will be in the financial results which are not in yet and will not be until sometime next year. The stock price is not currently showing confidence that the battery solution will be a home run.. Some believe that it will be very hard for anyone to beat TSLA battery prices due to what will be their apparent massive economy of scale. Also. they are not likely to stand still in the best technology competition..
I personally am waiting for Enphase to announce progress in the price reduction department. Maybe Gen 5 on a chip and integrated into several brand solar panels? That will help the stock price the most for us in my opinion.
Give them your address and they will locate your roof. Get a free quote. They do not discuss technology but provide installers in your area. They estimate cost including rebates.
There were lots of question from the analysts during the last CC re cost reduction. Here is what was covered re Gen 5 cost reduction and functionality: Sounds like cost reduction not right away but at some point following the introduction of Gen 5 and Gen 5 will have advanced grid functions that should open many new markets.
Q: Great. Also, on cost reduction, do you have a timeline on that end goal of being able to beat those traditional string inverters or at least be competitive with them and beat the DC optimizer based systems?
A: We are going to be providing a lot more data and a lot more specifics in the upcoming months.
Q: Hi guys. Thanks for taking my call. Just to follow on the last question about the cost reductions and the coming announcements, I have in my notes that the gen-five, the bidirectional inverter should be coming to market some time second half '15. Is it far to assume that those cost reduction conversations will come alongside the launch of the gen-five product?
A: Not necessarily along the launch of the gen-five, but leveraging the gen-five platform to get to those costs, absolutely.
Q: And anything you can tell us about the early customer trials of that gen-five and how it's going and maybe the progress and timeline for the launch this year?
A: We're very much on track. The testing certification is going extremely well. We plan to launch in the second half of this year and we are right on track to do that. I think it represents a huge leap in technology for Enphase, and as you noted its bidirectionality is what allows for the creation of an AC battery storage solution. But in addition to that it has all of the advanced grid functions that we haven't had in the past that now allow us to enter markets like Italy and Germany and a whole host of new markets as well. So it's -- we're obviously very excited about it and it's right on track.
My post stated "reduction in sales to Vivent" You left out "to Vivent", Losing sales to their former largest customer is not something the management will win an award for and not something that has given confidence to investors.
"revenue from Vivint was down approximately 40% year-over-year but revenue excluding Vivint was up over 50% on a year-over-year basis."
"In this outlook we expect that revenue with Vivint will be down to approximately $5 million in the quarter, which is a decrease of approximately 75% year-over-year."
That is not good news and at least part of the stock price decline reflects that.
There was a significant decrease in business with Vivent. Their results would have been significantly better if they had not lost business with Vivent. The problem is another vendor offered better pricing. Perhaps Enphase could have reduced their margins and given Vivent a better deal to keep their business? Price competition hurt Enphase at least with their former largest customer Vivent.
"Cash position shrunk from 2014Q4 to 2015Q1, but it expanded in 2015Q2."
That is true but they also took on $17M debt so their net cash is now down to $15M. See the Q&A section of the transcript.
"Well first on the $17 million debt, as you know we ended last quarter with $27 million of cash at the end of Q1. At the end of the second quarter we had $15 million of net cash. It's actually $30 million of cash with $17 million of debt."
As far as batteries are concerned there will be lots of competition and like everything else in solar and renewable energy the margins could be very thin. Since Enphase is not exactly making a killing with microinverters they pretty much have to branch out to find some other way to make money. The battery project may be their Hail Mary pass to save the company. The stock price is suggesting some have concerns about the future success of this company. If success were obvious, as some suggest, then the stock price would reflect that,
This was the guidance they gave during the 2015Q1 CC which indicates their growth rate is slowing Y/Y compared to the past:
"Now let's discuss our outlook for the third quarter of 2015. We expect revenue for the third quarter of 2015 to be within a range of $100 million to $105 million, which is an increase of 1% to 6% compared to the third quarter of 2014."
They reported $102M for 2015Q1 so even Q/Q growth is flat to slowing which has not been typical for this company. The reduction in sales to Vivent is a major contributor due to Vivent switching to another vendor. That apparently has some investors concerned and the reason Enphase needs to be more cost competitive.
If one takes their rose colored glasses off they will see that the rate of growth is slowing and the cash position is shrinking. It should be the other way around. They may even need to go to the well which could dilute the shares.
Pricing of the battery is unknown and the market they will be selling into will be very price sensitive as is the market for their module level electronics.
They claim they see the need to reduce the price of their microinverters but their approach also requires that they keep increasing the intelligence of their microinverters in order to meet new and various country electric code requirements and which is counter to also reducing their prices and increasing their reliability at the same time. Their inverter technology appears to be designed for relatively low power input and their inverter technology may run into limitations trying to keep up as panel output power increases. Some panels now output as much as 700 Watts which precludes the use of Enphase microinverters.
100 Percent Renewable Energy Charged EV Stations Allow Driving on Sunshine
(Since they are standalone units, no building permits required.)
In the U.S., Envision Solar, headquarted in San Diego, California, has developed the unique EV ARC (Electric Vehicle Autonomous Renewable Charger), which is the world’s first fully autonomous, mobile, and 100 percent solar charged EV station. While in the U.S., the average, grid-tied EV charging system supplies electricity, which mostly comes from fossil fueled power plants, the EV ARC provides 100 percent clean, renewable electricity for EVs in public areas.
Furthermore, being an off-grid system, the EV ARC does not require any foundations, trenching, electrical upgrades or even a building permit, which are required for regular, grid-tied stationary EV stations.
“We are changing the paradigm in EV charging. We are making it possible to drive in nothing but sunshine and to deploy EV chargers in minutes, not months,” said Desmond Weatley, CEO at Envision Solar.
The EV ARC is designed to sit inside a standard parking space (9’ x 18’) and generates between 3,800 to 7,000 kWh of solar electricity annually with 9 or 12 solar module arrays. With the company’s tracking system called EnvisionTrak, the system can generate 18 to 25 percent more electricity than a fixed-array system. The system comes with a 21.6-kWh energy storage system, which enables EVs to be charged during the day and at night.
Envision’s off-grid, solar carport systems are almost entirely immune to the challenges associated with the speed and cost of deploying EV chargers.
(They will need some good power inverters)
No matter what technology they have they still need to monetize it. That still remains to be seen. There is potential here but they still have a long way to go to create a profitable growing company with a stock that follows that success. I have a relatively small position at this point and I will increase it or decrease it as things unfold.
"simple" in concept does not mean simple in real life. They appear to have a high degree of confidence and the patent office does not give out patents on good ideas that cannot be reduce to practice. Apparently it can be done but at what cost and how practical will the actual implementation be?
They knew what they were doing when they created the Power Packet Switching Technology which is a game changer and this seems related. The government gave them money to pursue it so they were convinced it could be done.
The market for power conversion is expanding so more money will be spent on R&D and even small improvements will be big deals. JMHO
After reviewing some of the information in the patent applications (US9029909 B2) the key benefit appears to be less loss of energy compared to other switching technologies. That should result in more efficient devices that will even cost less and run cooler. In conventional devices energy is lost due to resistance of the components which translates to heat loss or thermal energy loss. Resistance and the resulting heat reduces efficiency and reliability and increases the likelihood of failure of electronic circuits and often requires active cooling which increases cost.
"(When the inductor+capacitor combination is isolated at such times, the inductor's current will change the voltage of the capacitor, as in a resonant circuit. This can even change the sign of the voltage, without loss of energy.) "
"without loss of energy" is significant if their implementations actually achieve that result. They have not demonstrated that result yet other than theoretically and through simulations.