Enphase posts 136 percent jump in sales
May 10, 2012 (Menafn - The Press Democrat - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Petaluma solar component maker Enphase Energy, which went public in March with a 54 million stock offering, saw revenue soar 136 percent in the first quarter, company officials said Thursday.
Enphase is growing fast as the solar industry switches to its microinverter technology, which boosts the output of solar energy systems, company CEO Paul Nahi told analysts Thursday.
"There's a rapid and industry-wide shift away from central inverters to microinverters," Nahi said. Inverters convert DC to AC power.
Enphase microinverters are an improvement over central inverters because they maximize the energy from each solar panel, Nahi said. They're also easier and safer to install, he said.
Enphase also makes cloud-based software that collects data from solar arrays and lets owners monitor system performance on the web.
The 6-year-old company has sold more than 1.7 million units in the U.S., Canada and Europe since it began shipping in 2008, becoming the market leader in the microinverter space.
Enphase reported 42.6 million in sales for the quarter ended March 31, compared to 18.1 million a year ago. The company sold 292,000 microinverter units last quarter, up from 123,000 last year.
But the company lost 10.2 million last quarter as it expanded production and moved into the European market.
Enphase lost 9.3 million in the same quarter last year.
The solar industry has been hurt in recent months by a glut of cheap Chinese solar panels, lower government subsidies and weak consumer spending in a sluggish recovery from recession.
But the falling cost of solar panels has helped Enphase's business by making solar energy projects more affordable, Nahi said. "It's driving the need for more microinverters," he told analysts Thursday.
The Petaluma company also faces competition from other makers of microinverter technology. But Enphase has a five-year head start over new companies in the space, Nahi said.
"We believe this provides significant competitive strength," he said. Enphase has dropped the price on its latest microinverter product about 5 percent, Nahi said.
Enphase expects sales of 49 million to 52 million in the second quarter, it said.
Enphase has more than 300 employees at its Petaluma headquarters. It contracts for manufacturing with Flextronics, a company with locations in Asia, the U.S. and other regions.
Enphase shares closed at 8.60 Thursday on the Nasdaq exchange, down 5 cents from Wednesday's close.
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