US microinverter maker Enphase Energy opened a new $4.4m research and development (R&D) facility in New Zealand, as it looks to gain more business from the region.

The new facility will enable Enphase to carry out global compliance testing and verification capabilities for its microinverters.

Besides, the facility will support the company expansion plans of building its second largest engineering workforce outside of its lead engineering team in Petaluma, California.

The company will launch its solar-plus-storage Enphase Home Energy Solution initially in New Zealand and Australia in winter 2016.

The product will is an integrated solution that offers homeowners a plug-and-play AC Battery to store energy generated from their solar photovoltaic (PV) system.

Enphase vice president of engineering Greg Steele said: "Over the years, our engineering team in Christchurch has strategically contributed toward the design, development and testing of Enphase microinverters sold in Asia Pacific and Europe.

"By making a further investment in New Zealand, Enphase is now poised for future growth as we continue to build a world-class engineering team that will work in tandem with the team in California to develop future generations of the Enphase Home Energy Solution."

The company has been operating in Christchurch since 2011, involving in the design, development, and testing of microinverters sold in the Asia Pacific and European markets.

IHS recently estimated that nearly 30,000 households in Australia will opt for photovoltaic (PV)-plus-energy storage systems by 2018. Many suppliers already have a presence in the country due to its vast potential.

Enphase Energy Asia Pacific managing director said: "New Zealand is an important market for the Enphase Home Energy Solution.As a country with a significant proportion of renewable energy in its grid electricity, relatively low solar uptake and a tremendous desire for energy independence, we’ve observed a keen interest from New Zealanders in the upcoming launch of our home energy solution."

Earlier this month, Enphase was chosen by financial services provider Spruce Finance as its preferred supplier of inverters.
Spruce will use Enphase products for over 20MW of new residential solar in the US.

Spruce vice-president Joe Steenbergen said: "The combination of Spruce’s attractive financing options with Enphase’s smart and easy-to-install technology will help thousands of homeowners save money on their electricity bills."