There are a dozen microinverter firms, but only Enphase Energy and Petra Solar are shipping products in commercial volumes.  Enphase just passed the 500,000 units shipped mark, while Petra has shipped more than 72,000 units.

We will report on the remaining microinverter startups and the rumored new entries as they gain commercial progress, but in the meantime, Enphase continues to win business, establish sales channels and increase momentum.

Siemens Industry and Enphase just announced a distribution agreement for the sale of Enphase’s PV microinverters through Siemens' network of electrical equipment distributors. Enphase will provide Siemens with solar microinverters as well as their web-based PV panel monitoring service. The Enphase device will be co-branded with the Siemens name.

Normally, a distribution agreement is not front-page news for this reporter, but here's why this might prove interesting.

Siemens Industry is the U.S. affiliate of Siemens’ global Industry sector business, a $43 billion business with $4.7 billion in profits last year. The firm is one of the world’s largest suppliers of production, transportation and building technology products.    

Those building technology products include breaker panels, switches and wiring, and their customers are electricians and plumbers and HVAC professionals. Here's the interesting part: Siemens trains tradespeople like roofers, electricians, plumbers and HVAC pros. The recession has hit those trades hard and they are in need of new skills and jobs. Solar installation could be an answer, especially with the relative ease and safety inherent in a microinverter-enabled design.

Note the potential workforce and manpower this could bring to the solar party:

  • 705,000 electricians
  • 569,000 plumbers
  • 292,000 HVAC specialists
  • 156,000 roofers
  • 3,000 solar installers

(U.S. figures from Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2007.)

Paul Nahi, the CEO of Enphase had this to say: "Siemens spearheading an effort to go after residential solar augments the solar installer profession with roofers, electricians and general contractors moving away from the specialty trades." Nahi added, "Siemens' push in residential and commercial solar with Enphase represents a shift in the way solar is being distributed."

As recently reported, startups Armageddon Energy and Clarian Power are also looking to this pool of new solar resellers, as is SaaS provider Clean Power Finance.