Enphase Energy, the technology company that pioneered the microinverter, has had a rough couple of years. Under fierce competition from module level power electronics maker SolarEdge, Enphase lost market share in its key markets, which it responded to by pricing its products below the cost of production while waiting for cost-cutting measures to kick in.
This risky strategy appears to have paid off in shipment volumes, with Enphase growing market share in the second half of 2016, but the company has also experienced persistent losses. These difficulties were compounded by residential market troubles in California during Q1, due largely to a combination of torrential rains and policy changes.
Battered by these troubles, Enphase’s stock fell below $1 per share in early May, which has triggered a warning from the NASDAQ exchange that if the company does not bring its stock price above $1 per share over the course of the next six months, it could be delisted.
This is far from the first time that a solar company has received such a letter, as a number of Chinese PV makers have been threatened with de-listing over the past few years. In most cases these companies were able to regain compliance.
It is a sign of larger precarity at Enphase, which has championed technological and business innovations such as its AC batteries and integrated Home Energy Solution, but has had more difficulty in getting and remaining profitable.
But despite larger troubles in the residential solar market in California and other leading states, Enphase is optimistic about the future. The company emphasizes its presence in the “long-tail” of residential solar installers, which is particularly notable given scaling back and reduced market share at Tesla and Vivint Solar.
Enphase also recently modified the terms of an agreement with its manufacturing partner Flextronics, and has emphasized that this may ensure continuity of supply as the company moves through rough times.
The company offered the following statement in response to an inquiry by pv magazine:
“No question it has been a challenging year for Enphase and our stock price has reflected that, but the actions taken to change the course of the company are significant. Over the past year, we added nearly $57 million in additional capital. We restructured our operations, reducing annualized expenses by approximately $38 million. Our new IQ products are now in market, and the AC module will be in market in Q3. And long term, Enphase will continue to differentiate through innovation leveraging our over 150 patents. Every employee is laser focused on driving to profitability as we see that as the most meaningful way to change market perceptions.”
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