The company predicts that its U.S. sales will increase to more than 2 gigawatts of inverters in 2012, up from about 1 gigawatt of sales in 2011. To produce the additional inverters, the company plans to increase its workforce by 50 percent this year.
The company builds inverters for commercial and residential solar projects, according to Solectria Marketing Manager Natalie Wiener. Commercial inverters ranger from 500 kilowatts to multi-megawatt. The company, at this point, doesn’t build microinverters but is looking at where the technology goes.
“Right now we’re mostly focused on utility-scale and transformer-less inverters,” she said.
At this point the company is hiring in sales, customer service, engineering and manufacturing positions. The company is already hiring 25 positions for 2012 and could hire up to 50 in the U.S. this year, according to Weiner. That’s on top of increasing its workforce by 65 percent in 2011.
“We added about 50 employees in 2011. But that doesn’t include temporary hires that became full time,” she said.
To meet sales last year the company had to expand production.
“We’ll probably have an expansion this year as well. Right now our [production] capacity is at 1 gigawatt. We expanded in 2011, and we’re getting kind of small for the amount of jobs we’re adding,” Wiener said.
Solectria is anticipating the increased sales despite the end of incentive programs like the U.S. Treasury Grant program that helped support the solar industry in the U.S.
“We’re watching what happens with those types of incentives and other incentives around the country,” Wiener said.
The company also is looking to expand internationally.
“We expect the demand to come from the U.S., India and China,” Wiener said.
As such, in addition to the 2 gigawatts Solectria plans to produce in the U.S. market it will also open manufacturing in China and India. It plans to produce 200 megawatts of inverters in India and 300 megawatts of inverters in China.