What does Enphase’s recent acquisition of SunPower’s microinverter, Solar Bridge mean for consumers?
For Palomar Solar, it’s great news! It simply validates what we have been saying for the last nine years. There is no question that Enphase is the number one microinverter in the market. Palomar Solar has always believed in Enphase and has been selling it exclusively in the residential market. When Solar Edge came to the market we were not tempted by lower prices like most vendors. It would have been easier for us to just give in and kick Enphase while they were down like everyone else. Instead we stayed the course believing it to be the superior product with a long term vision. After a couple of rough years Enphase has turned another corner and is on the right track to once again regain the number one position. And because of our loyalty through the tough times our relationship with Enphase is stronger than ever which means our customers can expect the absolute best service.
So let’s talk about why we are cautioning anyone currently looking to buy SunPower panels. First of all while we do not sell SunPower it is one of the top panels in the market place along with LG. I’m not saying at all that SunPower is an inferior panel. My caution has to specifically do with their AC module called Equinox (the one that comes with the Solar Bridge microinverter on the back). When this product first came to the market. I thought it would take off. However, they decided to take one of the best microinverter features away which is per panel monitoring. Once I saw this I knew that Enphase would still be a superior option for our customers. Anyone reading this needs to be aware that the market is being flooded with cheap SunPower Equinox offers. SunPower’s new AC module is going to come with Enphase and Solar Bridge will go away which means your warranties and support will to. I’m curious to see if SunPower dealers will offer per panel monitoring or not as this is not a standard offering.
Now let’s talk about Solar Edge. They stormed into the market with very aggressive sales tactics which was a huge red flag for us. While they’ve had some success by under cutting Enphase pricing the truth is finally coming out. Solar Edge is a hybrid product. It’s still a central inverter (big ugly box on the side of your home) that only comes with a 12 year warranty. When this fails it’s catastrophic. Your whole system is down until it’s replaced. We estimate that time to be one to three months. What do you think your electric bills will be in 12 years? Times that by a minimum of three not to mention the headache and now Solar Edge is much more expensive than Enphase which comes with a 25 year parts and labor warranty. And since there is an inverter for each panel it is not catastrophic if one fails. And with a mean time to failure of 300 years this is a rare occasion for Enphase. The other half of Solar Edge is the DC power optimizers which do come with a 25 yr. warranty. Having the optimizers does allow for the ability to monitor each panel. However, 99% of installers do not turn this feature on for their customers as they simply do not want to be held accountable at the panel level. In fact if you are reading this and have a Solar Edge system I would contact your installer and demand they turn it on. I guarantee you that you have at least one dead optimizer and have no clue. Warranty issues are finally catching up with Solar Edge which again is only making the case for Enphase as the superior product that much stronger.