In Conversation With Manoj Gopalan Nair, Sr. Director, Sales, Enphase Energy

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Q) Could you give our readers a brief introduction to Enphase Energy? A word about the organization’s recent achievements.

A) Enphase Energy is a NASDAQ-listed energy technology company, headquartered in Fremont, California. We have revolutionized the solar industry with our Micro inverter-based technology and a fully integrated solar-plus-storage solution. Raghu Belur and Martin Fornage founded the company in 2006. Both have extensive experience in the clean energy and high technology industries. Enphase Energy helps create, develop, manufacture, and sell Microinverter systems for the solar industry. We also offer software-driven home energy solutions that include solar generation, home energy storage, and web-based monitoring and control.

A few notable achievements so far have been:

– We have shipped more than 34 million Microinverters and approximately 1.5 million Enphase-based systems have been deployed in more than 130 countries.

– With the support of the government, under the Make in India initiative, Enphase India started operation in Chennai, in October 2020. So far, the manufacturing unit has done ~400,000 units per quarter and can ramp up to 1 million units per quarter. All units are exported to the US currently.

– In December 2019 we deployed our 1 millionth Micro inverter based solar system

Q) How has the last financial year been for your company? What expectations do you have for the next financial year?

Major market for Enphase in India is residential and small commercial projects upto 500kw. Despite covid shut downs there was a strong demand for Microinverter systems which are safer, reliable, higher generation among technologies in the market. With markets emerging out of Covid, we are experiencing a similar trend of strong growth for smaller systems from residentials & small commercial segments for energy savings, increased go green awareness with middle- and upper-income groups as well from corporate go green and CSR initiatives.

Q) Please brief our readers on your different energy system solutions for different application Scenarios.

A) Enphase works with both the installers and the homeowners to meet their individual solar system needs and requirements. Installers on the Enphase network, work with homeowners and small business owners. Enphase provides these installers with guidance through initiatives such as the EIN (Enphase installer network) and pan India webinars. Consumers can invest in the Enphase Microinverter system, which consists of four components: Enphase Microinverters, the AC Battery, an Envoy gateway and Enlighten cloud-based software.

– Enphase Microinverters provide power conversion at the individual solar module level by a digital architecture that incorporates custom application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC), specialized power electronics devices, and an embedded software subsystem. Our semiconductor-based Microinverter system converts direct current (DC) electricity to alternating current (AC) electricity.

– The Enphase AC Battery is an integrated energy storage system that delivers high performance, superior reliability, modular architecture, and safety. Please note that this product is not available in India currently 

– Envoy is Enphase Micro Inverter System’s gateway. Envoy keeps the entire system in constant communication by collecting real-time data from Microinverters and delivering remote updates to users. It offers features like bi-directional interface enabling optimal benefits, In-depth monitoring and remote problem solving.

– MyEnlighten app is a system where homeowners can track their energy production, monitor their system’s health, and share their data with family and friends, all from a simple, mobile-friendly interface. The app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Q) What have been some technology advancements made by Enphase Energy recently? What technological breakthroughs can we expect from your company in the coming years?

A) Enphase aims to be a leading global provider of energy solutions that incorporates smart, customer-friendly solutions into a single, intelligent platform, including solar generation, storage, and communication. Enphase’s Micro inverter-based technology has revolutionized the solar industry, and we now provide a fully integrated energy management system.

We are continuously investing in building innovative and robust solutions to address the energy needs of consumers. Currently we are working on 3 fronts: Ensemble (Home Energy Management System), Portable Power Storage (akin to power on the go with your own power pack that can be charged with various sources) and Commercial products (IQ8D which is the first in line with dual panel Microinverter) With Ensemble technology, homeowners have power when the grid goes down and can save money when the grid is up. Ensemble technology systems include the following Enphase products • Enphase Encharge™ storage system is an all-in-one AC coupled storage system that includes embedded, grid-forming multimode Microinverters.

Portable power stations are the smaller storage systems that keep your power tools, phone and other electronics charged and running smoothly. These versatile, briefcase size power gadgets can go with you to construction sites, on camping trips or wherever else you need electricity off the grid. Each IQ 8D Micro inverter fully supports two series connected PV modules and integrates with the Enphase IQ Commercial Envoy and Enphase Enlighten monitoring and analysis software will result in cost savings / watt

Q) Please highlight the USPs of your Microinverters & monitoring solutions. How will you differentiate from the competition?

A) Enphase Energy brings a system-based, high-tech approach to solar energy, leveraging expertise in semiconductor integration, power electronics, and networking technologies, to continually advance the performance, intelligence, and reliability of solar energy systems. Enphase Energy products make solar power systems productive, smart, and safe, increasing the energy harvest of solar panels by up to 25 percent. The main component of a solar energy system is inverters. It converts direct current (DC) power from the solar panel into alternating current (AC) power that can be used to power your devices in your home. Traditionally, conventional – or “string”- inverters were the industry standard for rooftop solar. If just one inverter fails, the entire system fails.

And this is where Enphase Microinverter brings a key differentiation, with its distributed architecture. Unlike the conventional inverter, Enphase Microinverter is individually connected to each panel, ensuring optimum output. In case of any panel failure, the entire system will not be compromised as the system is built on 4 key parameters:

– Production (higher energy production): Enphase Microinverters have the most sophisticated inverter technology available, resulting in increased productivity, increased dependability, and unrivaled intelligence. Enphase’s seventh-generation Micro inverters are based on a one of a kind software-defined architecture, which allows for a cost-effective design with a single hardware SKU available globally. Each Micro inverter operates individually, ensuring each panel

reaches its maximum capacity. Microinverters use burst technology that helps generate more energy even during dawn, dusk, and in low-light circumstances, resulting in a longer solar day.

– Reliability (both unit and system reliability): Enphase’s Micro inverters are intrinsically more dependable since they work independently. A Microinverter system has no single point of failure. Enphase Microinverters are subjected to the industry’s most stringent product testing. The company also provides the best warranty and service packages in the industry; Enphase Microinverter comes with a 10-year warranty.

– Safety: Enphase Microinverter are safer as they are an all-AC system, with no high-voltage DC power on the roof. Streamlined components make for quicker and less costly installations. High-quality materials and remote problem-solving make Enphase more reliable and secure.

– Smart (with app-based updates, over-the-air updates): Enphase Envoy gathers real-time data from installed Microinverters and sends remote updates to them, ensuring that the entire system is always in sync. With in-depth monitoring, energy use insights, remote update capabilities, and load control, the Envoy makes life easier for both installers and system owners.

The Envoy communicates with each component to form a single, integrated system that is smart, easy, and effective. System owners may also use MyEnlighten to measure their energy output, check the health of their systems, and share their data with family and friends, all from a simple, mobile-friendly interface.

Q) How do you see the residential energy storage market evolving in India in the near future?

A) The Indian government has set an ambitious goal of solar deployment in the country; however, the residential solar sector has not really grown at an expected rate. Consumer awareness of the benefits and understanding of the technology is still lacking. Rooftop solar is in its infancy, and helping people get educated about the process of acquiring it will be critical for enabling growth of the business segment. 

Additionally, making the customer acquisition process simple and seamless will help drive the mass deployment of rooftop solar. The process of going solar for many is complicated. Finding a trusted installer, acquiring reliable information about the technology, and understanding the government policies can be difficult.

Enphase aims to address this by providing an end-to-end platform that enables a hassle-free transition to solar with its dependable, safe, and AI-driven energy management systems. We believe, going forward, technology will play a key role in enhancing user experience and accelerating adoption in any industry. Even in Solar, especially in a market like India where the ecosystem is unstructured and lacks uniform policies, technology can bridge the gap. Our main focus is to demystify Solar for consumers and help them understand solar technology better, to make energy efficient choices. 

Q) Anything else that you would like our readers to know?

A) Enphase recently launched the Enphase Installer Network (EIN) in India, in an effort to streamline and bring all relevant stakeholders in the solar ecosystem on a single platform. EIN provides installers exclusive access to new products, executive sponsorship, trade show invites, priority in product allocation, zero cost leads, discounted product warranty extensions, co-branding, and promotion opportunities. For homeowners, EIN offers easy access to best-in-class service and a platform to locate premium installers in the area, using the find an Installer tool.

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