I had the pleasure of speaking with the Chief Product Officer at Enphase, Raghu Belur, about the evolution of the solar industry and his insights as to where the future will bring us through his eyes. Having been with Enphase since its inception, Raghu has a unique perspective of how the industry has changed and evolved over the years, and as someone with just under three years under my belt, it wouldn’t be overstating to say that I learned a lot. In our exclusive and in-depth conversation, we really focused on answering a few key questions. What exactly does the Chief Product Officer do at Enphase? What methods do you use to keep your pulse on the industry? And from there, where is the industry headed?
What I’ve learned from Raghu about the Chief Product Officer position is that it is really in the center of everything. In his words, “The Chief Product Officer is a very traditional product management role, where we see ourselves as being the owner of the product.” All aspects of the process are carefully reviewed and managed to ensure not only that the product will work reliably day after day but that is also meets the very real needs of the market and end-users. This position works very closely with all departments but particularly engineering to ensure exceptional quality and safety with each and every product launched.
When it comes to “keeping the finger on the pulse” of the industry Raghu is the guy you want to call. He makes it his job to not only read articles but speaks to a variety of stakeholders. Just to give you a glimpse into that scope he talks to installers, distribution partners, homeowners, and public utility companies just to name a few. It is imperative to see all sides of the puzzle before putting it together to help see future trends. He goes on to elaborate that, “Most importantly, you think about what you are doing yourself, and see how you can influence the future so it is \beneficial to everyone if it moves in that direction.”
As we transitioned our conversation into what Raghu sees in future trends, our conversation swiftly shifts to storage. “Storage is solving a specific problem, and in my mind, that specific problem is we need deeper penetration of solar.” Makes complete sense right, especially since the US’s solar penetration is at 3%. So the question is, how do we get the rest of the 97% to move in our direction? Well, we look at the needs of the end-user, right? Consumption of energy in the home is higher than ever as a large percentage of people shifted to working from home. So if we move to storing our own energy, we as consumers can now manage the efficiency of that energy. This provides resilience and stability. More and more of our lives will be managed from here. EV chargers, smart water heaters, other smart home devices. Moving into storage is an essential mindset, this will increase the need for solar exponentially.
We ended our conversation discussing the philosophical idea that it’s “not solar to storage, but solar to energy.” The fundamental shift that we aren’t adding another component, but the gateway for homeowners to feel empowered and to embrace the future of where our industry is headed.