SolarEdge to Mass produce full EV Powertrains

Above: SolarEdge powertrain kits for buses and commercial vehicles

Since it was established in 2006, SolarEdge Technologies has built a strong reputation of a quality provider of optimized inverter solutions for photovoltaic (PV) systems, bringing it ti a total sales of $338.1 million in the third quarter 2020. But but now the company eyes a much bigger and  competitive market: full powertrain solutions for Electric Vehicles.

This week the company appointed SehWoong Jeong as Chief Executive Officer of its subsidiary, Kokam. Prior to joining SolarEdge, he served as General Manager & Executive VP for Automotive Batteries at Samsung SDI, leading a large scale lithium-ion battery and Energy Storage Systems (ESS) business. Headquartered in South Korea, Kokam is a provider of Lithium-ion battery cells, batteries and energy storage solutions. It was acquired by SolarEdge in 2018.

In June, 2020, it appointed Carsten Schmidt to General Manager of its e-Mobility Division, which was established following the acquisition of the Italian S.M.R.E in July 2019. Carsten has more than a decade of experience in the automotive industry, with a focus in electric vehicles, and has held the position of Vice President of Sales in the Hybrid Electric Vehicle Business Unit of Continental AG.

Today, SolarEdge e-mobility division brings to the market a complete powertrain kits for buses and commercial vehicles. It includs electric motors, Lithium-Ion battery modules, High Voltage DC/DC converters, On-Board-Chargers, telematics and more. During the last quarters, it had built manufacturing capacity in Italy that includes an increase in the number of employees, to be prepared to deliver the first batch of full powertrain solutions to a known automotive OEM.

During the earnings call following Q3 results report, the CEO Zvi Lando said the company has made “a meaningful step into the e-Mobility market. During 2020, 10s of electrical vehicles powered by our powertrain units went through an extensive qualification process. In the fourth quarter, we expect to deliver an additional 100-200 kits as mass production is scheduled to begin.” According to his estimation, “SolarEdge will produce thousands of units in the next 6-12 months.”

SolarEdge Opened a New UPS R&D Center

SOLAREDGE HQ

SolarEdge established a new development center for large UPS systems in the town of Modi’in, near Tel Aviv. SolarEdge plans to develop there a new generation of dedicated solutions for data centers and server farms. The center operates within the company’s Critical Power division and will employ several hundred employees. Simultaneously, the company is currently in the final stages of establishing an electronic manufacturing plant in Tsiporit (in the Upper Galilee). It is expected to open in August 2020 and to employ some 300 workers during its initial phase.

The Tsiporit production plant was Originally planned to employ about 150 workers and to begin operations in early 2019 at a 2.5-acre site that the company has rented for 10 years. Although its operation has been delayed by more than a year and a half, its capacity was doubled. The plant will provide full-scale mass production, New Product Introduction and will produce special production equipment to be used by SolarEdge’s subcontractors.

The UPS operations are founded on the Jerusalem-based Gamatronic company, which was acquired in May 2018 for $41 million. The Modi’in development center will replace the Jerusalem  R&D center built by Gamatronic. In the earning call following 2019 Annual Report, the CEO Zvi Lando revealed that SolarEdge is developing dedicated UPS systems for the commercial market. “In the last quarter, we conducted five evaluation tests of our improved commercial UPS system. The tests were successful with positive customer feedback.

“While this is still low volume from a business perspective relative to our solar business, we are encouraged by the customer response to our offerings.” The company’s stock has recovered from the influence of COVID-19, and the company is trading on Nasdaq at a value of about $7.24 billion.

SolarEdge Expects Tough Quarters Ahead

SOLAREDGE HQ

SolarEdge Technologies announced exceptional results for Q1 2020: It had achieved record revenues of more than $430 million, with gross margin of 32.5% and net income of $50.7 million. “Despite the challenges triggered by COVID-19 during the quarter, we were able to get products to our customers and satisfy demand,” said Zvi Lando, CEO of SolarEdge. But the second quarter is expected to be different: The company’s outlook for the Second Quarter 2020 is of revenues within the range of $305-$335 million and gross margin of 30%-32%.

Based in Herzliya, Israel, SolarEdge provides intelligent inverter solutions for photovoltaic (PV) systems, monitoring platform for PV installations, and other smart energy solutions. During the conference call following the report last week, Lando revealed that during the COVID-19 impacted month of March and April, installation rates of SolarEdge products outside of the US increased by 15% compared to the same period last year.

“Installations in Italy, historically a strong SolarEdge market, declined by 47%. In the last three weeks, however, the installation rates there have started to rise again. In the Netherlands, where we are the market leader, our product installations are flat when compared to March and April of last year. The most positive data comes from Germany where our product installations during this period were up 42%. In the US, during the same period, the installation rate of our products declined by 16% compared to March and April of 2019.

SolarEdge three phase inverters
SolarEdge three phase inverters

“While it is difficult to foresee how long this downturn will last, we are preparing for various scenarios. In addition, effective April 1, our senior executives voluntarily reduced their base salaries by 20%.” Ronen Faier, Chief Financial Officer, said the company plans to reduce its operating expenses to the level of Q3, 2019 (app. 20% lower): “As part of our reaction to the economic slowdown that we are already seeing from COVID-19, we have reviewed carefully our business plan for 2020 and implemented certain cost-cutting measures.

“It includes a reduction in executive management’s base salary, general halt on recruitment and freeze on salary increases, which were planned for April. In addition, we are eliminating workforce redundancies and adjusting our headcount and to the reduced level of activity in certain regions as well as renegotiating other expenses such as rental agreements and consulting services. Some of these adjustments are still ongoing and the effect will be seen in our operating expenses for Q2 and Q3.”

SolarEdge stock in NASDAQ. Source: yahoo.finance
SolarEdge stock in NASDAQ. Source: yahoo.finance

SolarEdge Opened a Second Litigation Front against Huawei

Photo above: SolarEdge’s digitally controlled three phase inverters

SolarEdge from Herzliya, Israel, opened another Litigation Front in its struggle against Patent Infringements made by Huawei. Today the company announced that it has filed three lawsuits for patent infringement against the Chinese Huawei Technologies Co., this time in China mainland. The lawsuits, filed in the Regional Courts of Jinan and Shenzhen in China, cite unauthorized use of patented technology, which is prohibited by law, and are intended to protect SolarEdge’s significant investment in its innovative DC optimized inverter technology.

Seeking damages and an injunction, SolarEdge Technologies intends to prevent the defendants from selling any products infringing its patented PV inverter and power optimizer technology. These lawsuits follow the filing of three other lawsuits in Germany by SolarEdge in June and July 2018 against Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., a Chinese entity, Huawei Technologies Düsseldorf GmbH, a German entity, and WATTKRAFT Solar GmbH, a German distributor relating to three patents.

“We will continue to take legal action against Huawei”

This may be only the beginning: SolarEdge also announced that it “evaluating filing additional actions to protect its patents.” SolarEdge holds 303 awarded patents and 240 additional patent applications worldwide. Zvi Lando, Acting CEO and VP Global Sales of the company, said: “The significant financial investment and years of dedication and hard work from our R&D engineers needs to be protected from exploitation. SolarEdge’s patents are the result of our relentless pursuit of innovation and commitment towards PV proliferation. “We will continue to take legal action against Huawei and others to protect our assets.”

In July 2018 SolarEdge had extended its lawsuit pending in the Mannheim District Court, Germany, against Huawei and WATTKRAFT Solar, by asserting two additional patents related to its power optimizer technology. The original lawsuits filed in June covered SolarEdge’s DC optimized inverter technology. The company seeks inter alia monetary damages, an injunction with regard to the German market, and recall of infringing Huawei optimizers and inverters from the German market. It asked the court to prevent Huawei from selling in Germany any optimizers and inverters that infringe upon the SolarEdge’s IP.

Uri Bechor from flex Joined SolarEdge

SolarEdge Technologies from Herzliya, Israel, is strengthening its management team with the appointment of Mr. Uri Bechor as Chief Operating Officer. He brings over twenty years of experience in  Flextronics International where he had served in both senior VP and GM level roles. In his last position, he served as Senior Vice President, Global Operations, Europe and the Americas where he oversaw more than forty manufacturing sites and was responsible for revenues of more than $10 billion.

“I am very excited to be joining SolarEdge during its continued expansion through acquisitions and organic growth,” said Bechor. “I was the General Manager of Flextronics Israel when SolarEdge began production in 2010, and I know well the products and many of the management and operations team. I am honored and poised to address the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.”

“Uri is a key addition to our growing executive management team,” stated Nadav Zafrir, Co-Chairman of SolarEdge. “He will significantly enhance our operations capabilities and execution. Mr. Bechor will no doubt contribute greatly to the operational aspects needed to grow both our core smart energy business and our recently acquired businesses, including lithium ion cells and batteries of Kokam.”

Established in 2006, SolarEdge provides solutions to optimize power harvesting and managements in photovoltaic (PV) systems. Its intelligent inverter solution maximizes power generation while lowering the cost of energy produced by the PV system. The company had achieved record revenues of $325.0 million during the Second Quarter 2019.

SolarEdge Appoints New Director as Co-Chairman

SolarEdge Technologies from Herzliya, Israel, announced the appointment of Nadav Zafrir as co-chairman and member of the board of directors. The appointment was approved unanimously by the board of directors and is being made to further strengthen the executive management of the company in light of the continued illness of Guy Sella, founder, Chairman and CEO of SolarEdge.

Mr. Zafrir brings to SolarEdge twenty-five years of experience in cyber leadership and technology development. He is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Team8, a leading think tank that specialize in cyber resilience and data science. He was previously the Commander of the Israel Defense Forces’ Technology Intelligence Unit 8200 (Israel’s NSA), as well as founder of the IDF Cyber Command.

Established in 2006, SolarEdge provides solutions to optimize power harvesting and managements in photovoltaic (PV) systems. Its intelligent inverter solution maximizes power generation while lowering the cost of energy produced by the PV system. The company had achieved record revenues of $325.0 million during the Second Quarter 2019.

“Nadav Zafrir and I have worked together for decades, going back to our years of managing complex technological developments in the army,” stated Mr. Sella. “I cannot imagine a better fit for co-chairman to our board of directors than Nadav Zafrir.”

SolarEdge Extends Lawsuit against Huawei

SolarEdge Technologies, from Herzliya, Israel has extended its lawsuit pending in the Mannheim District Court, Germany, against the Chinese Huawei Technologies and WATTKRAFT Solar GmbH, a German distributor for Huawei, by asserting two additional patents related to its power optimizer technology. The original lawsuits filed in June covered SolarEdge’s DC optimized inverter technology.

The company seeks inter alia monetary damages, an injunction with regard to the German market, and recall of infringing Huawei optimizers and inverters from the German market. It asks the court to prevent Huawei from selling in Germany any optimizers and inverters that infringe upon the SolarEdge’s IP. “SolarEdge has strived to advance the PV industry by overcoming limitations of standard PV systems through the introduction of its innovative DC optimization technology, in our view making solar energy more attractive and accessible,” stated Guy Sella, CEO, Chairman, and Founder of SolarEdge.

“These advancements, resulting from dedication, engineering expertise, and significant investment in R&D, can only achieve their full potential when safeguarded by an industry that respects healthy and fair competition. What we view as illegal use of proprietary technology can stifle the solar industry during this critical period of global energy transformation. Our actions are meant to ensure the integrity of the entire PV industry, secure a level playing field, and protect SolarEdge’s intellectual property.”

SolarEdge is considered a global leader in smart energy technology with total 2017 annual revenues of $607.0 million, up 24% from the prior year. It holds 126 awarded patents, 169 additional patent applications worldwide, and other extensive intellectual property covering smart energy technology. SolarEdge has shipped 7.5GW of systems worldwide, among which includes 25.2 million power optimizers and 1.1 million inverters.