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EQ In Exclusive Conversation With Mr. Sunil Thamaran – VP & MD At Enphase Energy Inc

EQ In Exclusive Conversation With Mr. Sunil Thamaran – VP & MD At Enphase Energy Inc


1. Please share your Road Maps–Pricing, Technology etc…

Enphase aspires to be a world leader in energy technology, providing smart, user-friendly solutions that integrate solar generating, storage, and communication into a single intelligent platform. Enphase’s micro inverter-based technology has changed the solar sector, and the company now offers a fully integrated energy management system.

Enphase has been 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)


2. What are your views on BIS and other tariff barriers?

Initially, the BIS requirement and testing process was a challenge as labs were not ready and equipped. But MNRE was proactive and supportive with waivers, until the testing infrastructure was in place. Our inverter is BIS certified.

3. What are your views on Inverters – Make in India

Make in India is favorable and helps in avoiding BCD (Basic Customs Duty). The manufacturing quality in India is very good. Our Indian manufacturing partner is one of the most advanced and automated plants for us worldwide.

Solar manufacturing is a fast evolving industry, and hence it must be a long-term strategy. A long-term approach on the technical frontier will ensure that India’s power industry benefits from these improvements. Enphase has set up a fully automated manufacturing facility in partnership with Salcomp, Chennai for its Microinverters. With production  around the clock, the facility brings in a quarterly capacity to 700,000 microinverters from one manufacturing line.

4. What according to you are the current opportunities, biggest challenges, in Indian Solar Market?

The Govt. of India has an ambitious solarisation target for Rooftop. India is striving for 450 Gigawatts (GW) of installed renewable energy capacity by 2030, with solar accounting nearly 60% of the share. To ensure that these targets are met over the next ten years, roughly 25 GW of solar energy capacity will need to be added each year. It gives ample opportunities for premium residential players like Enphase. There is also priority for rooftop solar with MSMEs, another opportunity for solar companies.

One of the key challenges we face is lack of technology awareness among homeowners. Solar energy has financial, environmental, and increased home value benefits that consumers are unaware of. Consumer awareness of solar technology, as well as suitable government measures, should be fostered and promoted to stimulate the use of solar energy for household/domestic purposes. Government has introduced measures like 20–40% capital subsidy for consumers and the creation of the Sustainable Rooftop Implementation for Solar Transfiguration of India (SRISTI) programme to incentivize DISCOMs and residential customers to install RTS ( roof-top solar).


5. Expectations from Indian Government, Policy Makers and Regulators

Govt. policies are favorable to applicable segments. What is lacking is the knowledge flowing down to the people who implement schemes. Govt. and equipment manufacturers like Enphase can do a lot in training and upgrading the knowledge of regulators and other ecosystem partners like installers. Enphase has launched an installer network training program where installers can take self certification training to help them gain a sound understanding of the sector/technology updates. One can become an Enphase certified installer by completing Ensemble Installation Certification training at Enphase University.

6. Kindly enlighten our readers on the performance of your Inverters in India in various geographic locations, customer feedback,.

Enphase micro inverters are embedded beneath each panel, converting DC power into usable AC power. Operating independently, these inverters are inherently more reliable, safer and cost effective, ensuring high power production irrespective of the weather.  Enphase micro-inverters are premium products that provide excellent values like higher efficiency, better reliability, safer systems and are easy to install and maintain. Our approach has been to work with premium partners in the ecosystem, and have installed microinverters at several apartments, villa communities, small commercial buildings,  in addition to thousands  of small residences.

Enphase solar systems are installed at several luxury residential complexes in Bengaluru, where homeowners sought a solution that would not only encourage a sustainable lifestyle, but also help them save money and deliver a strong long-term return on investment. Enphase microinverters enable real-time monitoring of energy output and consumption per panel using the Enphase Enlighten smartphone app. Because Enphase is highly automated and all solutions are accessible on one intelligent platform, it is a one-stop shop for all solar demands.

7. Present some noteworthy projects, case studies of solar plants built using your solar Inverters

Our key and winning segment is residential. We have thousands of happy customers in the country and the count is growing. We have had success working with small commercial projects as well, such as office buildings, show rooms, schools and warehouses. These are asset owners who have understood the value of higher generation and long term reliability.
We have worked on large scale installations such as 1MW system near Bangalore and another 4.8MW system is in north Karnataka. These two projects are owned by customers who understand the value of advanced technology giving better returns on their investments.


8. Please describe in brief about your company, directors, promoters, investors, its vision & mission

Enphase Energy is a NASDAQ-listed energy technology company, headquartered in Fremont, California. Founded in 2006 by Raghu Belur and Martin Fornage, Enphase focuses on energy management technology for residential and commercial solar panels.

The company has revolutionized the solar industry with its micro inverter-based technology and produces a fully integrated solar-plus-storage solution.

Enphase has shipped more than 34 million microinverters, and approximately 1.5 million Enphase-based systems have been deployed in more than 130 countries. The company has grown from a start-up to a leading energy technology innovator with over 300 patents, 34 million inverters delivered, and a footprint in 21 countries around the world.

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.

9. What is the size of your company in terms of manufacturing capacities, growth chart, future expansion plans, revenues, shipments, ASP’s, financial figures,

We have three manufacturing partners at this time. Our first partner plant is in China, second is Mexico and the latest one is in Chennai. Together, these plants produce over 2Mu+ inverters in a quarter.


10. What are your plans for manufacturing set up in India, the opportunities and challenges in manufacturing in India

Enphase Energy added another contract manufacturer to produce solar microinverters for the export market, in Chennai, India. Finnish company Salcomp started manufacturing microinverters on a fully automated line for Enphase in 2020.

Having a manufacturing process and partner in India will help us to expand the supply chain ecosystem in India. We are looking to source several components from India suppliers and get the benefit of reduced logistics and cost due to import tariffs.

11. Briefly describe the various technologies and its suitable applications such as Central Inverter, String, Micro Inverter, 1500V, Outdoor, Container solutions etc..

Enphase technology is based on Microinverters – that are the basis for distributed architecture. They can be scaled up when needed for applications like PV (Residential, Small Comm), they are also in Storage (Encharge which have bi-directional inverters), Portable Power Station (where we offer solar + storage with various charging mechanisms).

Enphase does not offer Central or String inverters. For larger system sizes – IQ8D based dual panel systems are building blocks for a cost effective scaling

12. What are the top 5 markets for your company in the past, present and future

The top markets today are North America, Europe and Australia. Our emerging markets growth team is looking to expand into markets including India, Japan, Korea, Africa etc.

13. Technology roadmap in terms of 1500V , micro inverters, upcoming game changes technologies

Refer to Q15.

14. Explain various guarantees, warrantees, insurance, certifications, test results, performance report of your inverters

Customers can buy a 25 year warranty inverter from Enphase. And we are BIS certified.

15. Kindly highlight your product, technology & company USP’s, distinctive advantages etc…

Enphase stands on 4 key pillars:

  1. 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 microinverters 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 microinverter 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.
  2. Reliability (both unit and system reliability) – Enphase’s microinverters are intrinsically more dependable since they work independently. A microinverter system has no single point of failure. At Enphase, quality is paramount; if one panel fails, the others will not be affected. 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 .
  3. Safety – Enphase microinverter are safer as they are an all-AC system, 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
  4. 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.

16. What’s your commitment towards the solar sector in India

Enphase Energy was introduced in India in 2017, and today we have over 1100 employees working towards the country’s solar requirements. Energy is an area where advanced technology adoption is growing. Several people look to work for energy companies because of the impact on a sustainable future. We provide an unique opportunity for technical, management and operations professionals in India to work on it. Currently, our focus is on IoT hardware development, advanced SW development in the areas of AI/ML/Cloud/Mobile.
We have an engineering service in Noida that provides high quality project proposals and permitting design services to installers in the US. As we expand our market in the US, we look to grow the capability of this group by adding more resources and automation capabilities.

17. What are the expectations from Tech Suppliers like Modules, Inverters, BOS, Trackers etc.….What’s the tech solution you thinking of deploying

Refer to Q15.

Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network