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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, October 8, 2012, 6:00 am

Impact Sonoma: Greg Steele, Enphase Energy

Impact Sonoma speakers respond

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    Greg Steele has a degree in industrial engineering from Oregon State University. He spent the early portion of his career with Texas Instruments and DSC Communications Corporation in various manufacturing and operations positions. He served as the vice president of operations and later the chief operating officer for the telecommunications company Advanced Fibre Communications. Mr. Steele also served as the CEO for Nelson, a human capital and staffing firm based in Sonoma.

    Q. First, please describe some of the major initiatives that Enphase is currently undertaking, both locally and internationally.

    Greg Steele

    A. Enphase is currently expanding our business into new geographies and new markets. We expanded to Europe in 2011 , and we have just announced our new operations in the UK . With this addition, we are now shipping product into eight countries.

    We are also growing our business in the commercial solar market. We have launched a new program (http://enphase.com/commercial/) and tools for supporting our customers with using the Enphase Microinverter System in commercial installations.

    Q. As a Sonoma County-based company, what opportunities do you see in Europe, and how does this impact the local region? What are some of the growth strategies?

    A. Today, Europe still comprises the largest solar market in the world. But North America holds the promise to be the next big emerging market. We see opportunity in both regions and are growing our business here in Petaluma as well as abroad to capture the demand for our technology. The value that we deliver translates internationally, namely the ability for our technology to produce more energy for solar systems and be easier to install and maintain than other inverter technologies.

    Q. According to the California Solar Initiative, Enphase’s share of the California inverter market is about 28 percent for residential systems and about 16 percent for commercial systems. Do you think the demand for both residential and commercial inverter systems will grow?

    A. We see tremendous opportunity  for both residential and commercial. With the prices of solar panels dropping rapidly, the overall system cost goes down. This is good for increasing solar adoption (as price is often cited at the number one reason for not going solar) and for our business.

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