California-based Enphase Energy has made it to the finalist round with its Encharge home storage system. Peter van Berkel, General Manager Europe at Enphase, describes the advantages of microinverters in the storage system and explains how Enphase wants to conquer the German, Austrian and Swiss market from Freiburg.
Enphase Energy is known for its microinverters. According to the company, there are over 34 million of them installed worldwide. When did you bring your first storage system to the market?
In 2016 we introduced our Home Energy Management System for home owners. It is a total energy solution including a home battery system based entirely on AC architecture.
Until now you have sold the new Enphase storage system “Encharge” only in the USA. Now you are launching it in Europe, starting in Germany, where it should be available from the summer. Why Germany?
Germany is the pioneer in the PV industry for decades and the frontrunner in storage on a global scale. Also we are convinced that our AC technology driven storage solution is a true added value to the German market.
The basic unit is the Encharge 3T storage unit with a usable storage capacity of 3.5 kilowatt hours. Three such units together form the Encharge 10T system. Of these, a maximum of four systems can be connected together, allowing users to achieve up to 42 kilowatt hours of storage capacity. Are you planning even larger storage systems for industry and city quarters?
Right now the focus is on residential and small commercial storage.
Four microinverters from your IQ series are installed in the basic Encharge 3T unit. Doesn't this mean that the susceptibility to faults and the risk of replacement are higher than if only one inverter were integrated in the storage unit? What is the advantage of having four microinverters in the unit?
Our proven micro inverter technology is second to none with the lowest failure rate in the industry. In the rare event that one micro inverter fails the other will continue to produce, hence we have no single point of failure.
The Californian company Enphase has opened a branch in Freiburg, Germany, and is building up sales in the D-A-CH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) from there. So far, only IBC Solar advertises itself as a cooperation partner of Enphase. Are there already other sales partners? Which sales channels are you primarily focusing on?
We are continuously working on optimizing our sales channels and we truly recognize the added value of the installer, hence we are focusing on an indirect channel.
In Germany, there is a very strong market for home storage. Some of the market leaders have been in the segment for ten years and have helped build the storage market. How can a new entrant like Enphase gain significant market share? Why should customers choose your storage system?
Enphase Energy has its roots in Silicon Valley and we are technology driven where the ASIC microchip technology is the core of our architecture. This has resulted in the fact that we are market leader in countries like the USA and France and have a solid Top 3 position in many more countries. Our system architecture and portfolio is designed in such way that we can offer the most reliable, safest and highest performance products in the industry. We are convinced that German installers and home owners will discover the benefits of our products.
You advertise round-the-clock customer service in Germany. Does that mean that installers actually get someone on the phone at 3 a.m. or an email at midnight?
Yes that is correct.
What do you expect from participating in ees Europe? Have you already benefited from being among the finalists of the ees AWARD?
Being a finalist for the ees AWARD is a true recognition by the industry for all the hard work we have put in place to introduce the storage solution in Germany, it will help us greatly in getting the news across to wider audience in this market.
On July 21, Enphase has received an ees AWARD 2021 for its Encharge Robust Modular Storage Solution.