February 28, 2013

Enphase goes to the future: Australia!

I knew traveling to Australia to support the availability of Enphase early this month entailed a long flight. I did not know it involved time travel. I flew out Friday evening, Feb. 1, and arrived Sunday morning, Feb. 3 – missing Groundhog's Day entirely! I had landed in the future. As the maturation of the solar industry on this sunny continent rapidly develops, it truly is part of the bright future for Enphase's global expansion. Product is now available through our first distribution partner, RFI Solar, and our website also features a page just for the Aussies at enphase.com/en-au.

With only one week on the ground with our trainer, Jarett, and sales manager, Brad, I had a lot of ground to cover: distributor training in Sydney, technical training presentation and customer visits in Adelaide, and installer training in Melbourne. Luckily I had back-up forces on the way to support an additional installer training in Sydney as well as another technical training presentation and customer visits in Perth the following week. What a schedule! And this is only the beginning.

We were very excited to spend some time with RFI's staff on Tuesday. Just like Enphase, they recently moved into a beautiful new building to accommodate their growing team, and we can't wait for them to get some Enphase Energy Microinverters onto one of the test systems on their roof! Their conference room table was particularly impressive:

Tuesday night we flew two hours to Adelaide, where we would join RFI's all-day Technical Roadshow event on Wednesday. With nearly 75 attendees, we wanted to be sure we maximized the short time we had to make our first impression. We had the tough position of presenting right before lunch, just when stomachs are rumbling and interest starts to wane. But Brad and Jarett got everyone's attention with their high-energy and fresh content. Every set of eyes in the room was on them, attentively listening. And to prove they weren't just being polite, engaging questions came pouring in all the way up to lunch, with many more discussions carried on during the break and at the end of the day.

Thursday was spent meeting with RFI customers before rushing back to the airport for a flight to Melbourne. The free installer training RFI arranged for Friday surprised us with 125% attendance, and nearly all stayed through the entire day. Everyone asked great questions, and we also were able to learn a tremendous amount from them about the market and their challenges. The conversations continued as we held our first Australian Micro Meetup directly after the training ended, with a cold beer enjoyed by all!

Then it was time to board yet another plane back to Sydney, with Jarett and Brad finally getting more than two nights in one location. Our Corporate Communication Manager Christine flew in on Saturday, and the four of us met for lunch before it was time for me to get on my fifth flight of the week, this time destined for home. The rest of the team had another installer training scheduled on Monday, then the long trek across the vast continent to Perth. There they gave the introduction to Enphase at RFI's final Technical Roadshow and spent time getting to know RFI's customers in WA.

Though our HQ team had a whirlwind two weeks down under, we could not have been more pleased to spend that invaluable face-to-face time with our new potential customers and partners. We look forward to building up our local resources to carry on the conversations we only just got started, and other staff will be heading back soon to keep up the good work. I look forward to getting back down there to share a beer with my new mates!

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