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The Great Microinverter Debate April 9, 2012

Posted by Maury Markowitz in solar.
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47 comments

It was only a couple years ago that Enphase released the M175 onto the market. The follow-up release of the M190 really got the ball rolling, capturing a large part of the California inverter market. The M190 was the first “micro-inverter” to really succeed.

And with that success came the slings and arrows. Traditional big-iron inverter companies started pooh-poohing the upstart, stating that there was no way the product could ever be competitive. Enphase fought back, unleashing Raghu Belur on an unsuspecting market. His argument about scaling factors following the computer market model, a Moore’s Law of inverters, struck a chord.

The debate quickly grew heated as Enphase sales continued to ramp up. The competition became increasingly frustrated, launching a variety of attacks against both the product and the company. I’ve had representatives from major inverter and panel companies badmouth them right to my face, apparently oblivious of that damage this does to the market as a whole (it’s a small sandbox kids, play nice).

And in spite of looking really closely at all of this, I still can’t make up my mind about who’s got the best argument. And when I say I’ve looked really hard, the readers that know me will understand exactly what that means. So, in lieu of any strong conclusions, I’m going to spend some time -well, a lot really- simply laying out what I’ve learned so far.

Note: I’ve published a market update¬†you might want to read. You can click it now, it will open in another tab/window.

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