Enphase sold out into 2019, margins way up, projections bright


From pv magazine USA

It looks like Enphase Energy is very close to making some serious money.

The company has seen gross margins increase from a low of 17% in the first quarter of 17 to 32% in the third quarter of 2018, while quarterly losses shrunk to $3.5 million. Revenue increased to just over $78 million, but still missed the company’s target by $1.5 million.

With a new partnership with SunPower coming into play, energy storage growth, and a component shortage potentially dissipating, things are looking bright. 2019 revenues have not yet been projected, but there was much speculation that they would show improvement.

Badri Kothandaraman, Enphase’s President and CEO, noted the company turned away more than $10 million of business in Q3 due to a component shortage, and they expected this shortage to continue through the 4th quarter. However a resolution is expected in Q1 as Enphase has built a line specifically to build this component in-house.

The component in question is a complex MOFSET 600 volt transistor made by a handful of companies: STMicroelectronics, Infineon, Alpha & Omega Semiconductor, On Semi, and Toshiba. It was stated that electric vehicle charging stations were placing a high demand on these components. Memory shortages have been solved already.

In a question related to a speculated SolarEdge 10-15% replacement percentage, Kothandaraman noted a target of 500 parts per million failure rate, but didn’t give his own company’s replacement numbers.

Enphase has now deployed 25 MWh of batteries, mostly in Europe and Australia. The company will be expanding its current offering to include a 10 and 13.2 kW battery, while still keeping the modularity of 3 kWh blocks from current hardware offerings. Enphase also noted some shortcoming of its current energy storage hardware offerings.

The recent 301 tariffs on Chinese inverters have been 50% absorbed by Enphase, meaning a 3-4% price increase for the end customer. It is not yet known what effects the tariffs will have in the future, particularly as Enphase is planning to have its products made at a second Flex factory in Mexico.

One analyst asked questions about how future revenue growth could be calculated based on energy storage, and management hardware sales. Kothandaraman noted that the average house currently buys 20 Enphase microinverters at $100 each, while a future home might add an additional $8,000 per sale when including Ensemble hardware and energy storage.