We like the microinverter for residential solar panel systems and we respect Enphase’s market leadership. Just as the elevator was synonymous with the lift and Xerox was synonymous with photocopiers, Enphase has become synonymous with microinverters. Most of the residential installations of solar panels we see are with microinverters. As Enphase has extended its warranty, the microinverter has become an integral part of home solar panel systems. All of that is well and good, but we are wondering if Enphase is innovating into obsolescence by treating its microinverters as electronics, fundamentally changing its product every few months. We like the Enphase microinverter, but wish that they would spend less time on innovation and more time on improving its current products.
Archive for May, 2012
If you have relied on SolarTown’s Community Center for access to important information about the solar energy industry, then you will love the new look that we now have at our Solar Community. We have added to our section on solar videos. And as before, if you are looking for videos on one particular product category such as those videos on solar water heaters, then you can sort to find just the solar videos on solar water heaters. If you have videos that you would like to share with us, we’ll review them and post those that we think will be of some interest to the SolarTown community. And that is just the beginning of our grand tour of our new solar community.
Innovation is often seen as the way to the future for solar energy. Everybody sees the value of solar panels on rooftops or in fields, but they also see the huge price tag attached to solar energy. Prices have dropped substantially in the past couple of years, mainly because of the Chinese entry and domination of the solar panel industry (and some will say unfair dumping of cheap modules onto the U.S. market). But that still leaves the question of the extent to which innovation plays a role in the developing solar industry. The Wide Lens, a recent book by Dartmouth professor Ron Adner, should be required reading for the up and coming solar equipment manufacturers.