|A new holder here. |
It seems simple enough from their web pages:
Each solar panel (60-cell panels measure 39” by 65”, while 72-cell panels are 39” by 77”) is connected to a microinverter, converting some 200~300 watts from DC power to AC power. From there it is not difficult to combine the power of all panels in the array to be used/sold.
This is in contrast to a system where all the DC power from all the panels in the array is connected to one converter for the system. That entails DC power lines running on the roof or other place of installation.
Per the spec sheet microinverters have longer warranty (25 years), and avoid the pesky use of high DC power lines (per ENPH it may be the difference between 80 volts and 1000 volts). It seems there may be more ways of monitoring or controlling the panels, or connecting to battery power, with microinverters.
And biggest of all: with each panel converted to a microinverter you get maximum possible power out of each panel, while with other systems a single panel with low output (shade, dead leaves) would compromise the power output of the whole array.
It seems a good way to go, but there is always an issue of cost effectiveness. On this, ENPH microinverters are in high demand and sales are increasing rapidly. Per the earnings report they have been constrained by chip shortages but are working to get the supply they need. They are expanding their production lines, which are in India and Mexico.
While sales are increasing, sales are not up to hoped-for sales, resulting in a post-earnings stock price drop today (4/28/21) to $147, a 14% decline.
Sales for most recent quarters were
Difficult to tease out the COVID-19 effect there. Sales are growing nicely now, but there was a higher expectation.
I am inclined to not worry so much about one quarter's sales, but instead look at the multi-year outlook. Will they hold their premier status? Some companies just continue to innovate and stay ahead (think Tesla, Amazon, Apple). You never know but it appears that it is possible ENPH will grow and grow from here, since they have good products now, and Solar Power is still in its infancy. There may a risk of patent infringement by competitors that appears.
I would be curious if those who have followed this industry for awhile and know the technology better would endorse this company, or another company instead.