Solar energy provider Enphase Energy has revealed planned expansion of its global engineering facility in Christchurch, New Zealand to support the design, development and testing of its microinverters.
The Christchurch engineering location will integrate its existing office and engineering facilities, expanding the company’s headcount in New Zealand and contributing to its global growth.
Located in Middleton, the new facility will be Enphase’s second largest office outside the company’s headquarters in California, United States.
“New Zealand is an untapped market for exceptional engineering talent,” says Nathan Dunn, Asia-Pacific managing director, Enphase.
“Christchurch’s heritage in developing talent in the power electronics and engineering industry is globally recognised, and Enphase is delighted to call Christchurch home.”
Dunn says Enphase plans to expand its New Zealand engineering workforce by 35 percent by the fourth quarter 2016 and expects to draw on its relationship with the University of Canterbury in order to recruit employees.
The University of Canterbury’s graduate placement initiative is aided by a New Zealand government-funded program and administered by Callaghan Innovation.
Furthermore, Enphase has been able to employ the talent of 18 former Eaton engineers, hired in the wake of that company’s 2012 departure from the New Zealand market - these 18 engineers became the core of Enphase’s new facility in Christchurch.
“Enphase’s engineers in New Zealand have made several important and strategic product development contributions,” Dunn adds. “These have laid the foundation for the entry of our highly successful range of microinverters into the Australasian and European markets.
“These regions combined with all other markets outside of North America, contribute approximately 15 percent of our global revenue.”
Dunn says New Zealand is a “growing market” for Enphase as it has traditionally relied heavily on hydro to power its energy requirements.
The New Zealand Green Party has outlined its vision to deliver solar to 30,000 homes in three years through a proposed 30,000 Solar Homes policy.
A report by Sustainable Electricity Association New Zealand states that solar installations increased by over 335 percent from 2011 to 2014, to a total installed capacity of around 10mW.
“We are extremely positive about our business potential and growth in New Zealand,” Dunn adds. “It is a unique market where solar has the potential to grow and expand without the political legacy of subsidies propping up the renewable energy industry.”
Some of Enphase’s commercial customers in New Zealand include The Auckland War Memorial with a 50kW system and The Mussel Pot with a 10kW system, installed by What Power Crisis and SunPower Solar, respectively.