March 30, 2022

Unfolding the Tigo story: Insights from Zvi Alon

The text below is a partial transcript from a UBS call with Zvi Alon, the Chairman and CEO of Tigo Energy. Zvi discusses the history of Tigo, unique solutions for solar, and strategy in the market.
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Blog - Unfolding the Tigo story: Insights from Zvi Alon

About Tigo

Tigo Energy's mission is to deliver hardware and software solutions that are flexible and dependable, increase the energy generation of solar systems, and address the needs for storage.

Tigo started back in 2007; it has accumulated over 115 patents, and it’s the only supplier of open architecture solutions that works with pretty much any inverter and any other component in solar generation systems. The company provides the entire solar value chain of solutions. So, it doesn’t just provide the optimizers but also the inverter, storage, and power switches.

We have been envisioning the need for what's known as rapid shutdown, which is a safety capability when you install solar systems on a roof. We've been the single supplier for a few years, and now we have several others who have jumped into the market. Though, we are the leader in the space.

We are growing in revenue as a business, and we have installations on seven continents.

Tigo Solutions

Tigo has very highly reliable products. Our product return rate is less than 0.01%. And we announced several months ago that we've exceeded one gigawatt-hour of daily monitoring – those are online systems being monitored by the Tigo monitoring system.

What's unique about Tigo is we provide module-level power electronics, which are devices that reside on the panel itself and provide the specific functionality the customer's looking for, whether they are looking for rapid shutdown, monitoring, optimization, or any other function.

Figure 1 Tigo product portfolio captures the entire solar ecosystem

We announced that we're shipping inverters and storage solutions as of late last year. We also provide real-time monitoring capability, and we will be adding energy management and grid services as well. So, customers will be able to get the complete solution from us. And what's unique about the solution is that it also works at the same time with essentially a slew of other suppliers of other components in the system. It's a very widely used solution globally.

Tigo History

Figure 2 Company strategy: well-positioned to build on past success

The history of the company can be broken down into stages. In the first stage, Tigo focused on developing module-level power electronics technology. That was followed by the next phase in which we expanded the market; went international; and managed to get a strategic investor in the form of the largest inverter company at the time, SMA. We became independent in the third phase of our life and continued to grow, doubling the size of the investment that we've made, including revenue generated and systems installed. And now, we’re moving forward with the storage and inverter solutions as well.

Tigo’s Impact on the Solar Industry

Figure 3 From 2021 to 2030, Tigo's TAM is estimated to be ~$1.6 trillion

The solar market is massive. It's projected that we will reach $1.6 trillion in opportunity for Tigo in the next several years. The reduction in the cost of PV modules and storage, the availability of those solutions, and the cost-effectiveness of generating alternative energy are fueling the market’s growth, which Tigo is serving.

One other unique capability that Tigo offers to the market is all our solutions work at any scale. The exact solutions can go into any three major market segments.

  • The first one is residential, which are smaller systems – typically less than 10 kilowatts. For example, the average residential installation in the US is about 7 kilowatts.
  • The second market segment is C&I (commercial and industrial), consisting of rooftops and/or ground mounts that serve sizable commercial installations.
  • The third segment is the utility-scale, whether they are ground mounts, floating systems, or others.

The same Tigo solution applies to any one of those three segments. So, the customers who sell more than one segment, whether they are installers, operators, or monitors, do not need to worry about different types of products that serve the different markets.

Rapid Shutdown Technology

The rapid shutdown solutions are positioned between the module and the inverter itself and address the needs of emergency firefighters and meet safety codes. If there is an emergency, the units will be shutting down the panels in less than 30 seconds, bringing them down to 1 volt.

This patented technology has been delivered to the global market and performed well. Also, the number of inverters in the US that we have been certified with from 17 different suppliers exceeds 200 inverters, the most comprehensive adoption in the market.

Tigo Residential Solar Solution

Our residential solar solution enables customers to get the maximum energy out of the system. It's a DC-coupled solution, so it does not waste much energy converting it from solar to the battery or from the battery to other means like an EV charger.

It's uniquely positioned to have multiple functions like all the other components we have. So, the same inverter can be used not just for storage but also standalone for solar itself or as AC coupled to add on to an existing installation.

Tigo Energy Intelligence Software

Figure 4 Tigo software and analytics offering

Tigo also provides a very elaborate software tool: analytics powered by Energy Intelligence. The first component in the software is the origination and design. These tools help customers quickly design systems and get the bill of material and other components originated.

The next component is premium monitoring, allowing customers to view the system's value proposition. Tigo is the only company globally that enables customers to get information about their return on investment. After investing in Tigo solutions, the system will tell them how much additional energy Tigo is contributing to the system and the total energy generated.

Similarly, we are working on some analytics for O&M (operations and maintenance), including remote diagnostics capability, production degradation over time, and preventative maintenance, which are included in the software. And we will be expanding into grid management and others. So, Tigo monitoring provides an open system solution that works with any other inverter, module, and on different grids globally.

Tigo Hardware

It all results in solutions for the entire ecosystem that spans the bridge from residential to commercial to utility-scale with all the different components.

Some uniqueness about the value proposition of the Tigo solution is that it's a straightforward solution to install.

  • It takes about 10 seconds per module to install the MLPE product.
  • It's in a plastic package that does not require any grounding capability.
  • It's a waterproof IP 68, so it can operate underwater.

Tigo is having success with floating systems globally. We believe that we are the number one supplier of MLPE for floating PV systems worldwide, with tens of thousands of units or so in various locations. And Tigo increases the performance of the energy generation of those systems.

As a result of having such a good value proposition, we’ve built a solid following with many customers. To give you an idea, here are some of our customers: Tesla, Borrego, Sunwatt, Sunerg, and others in multiple locations worldwide.

Figure 5 Tigo's world-class customer base

The product is competitive compared to the other solutions provided in the market, and what gets us to this value proposition is the full view that Tigo enables. Our flexible, integrated solutions lead to customer satisfaction.

We view the customer’s 25-year engagement and consider them not just a transaction when buying the product. After the system is installed and commissioned, the journey really starts. And that is a 20-year plus journey to make sure that the solar installation works and operates well in the field. So, it's a unique value proposition, which makes customers continuously work with us. We have over 65% of orders coming from existing customers, which is very nice.

Tigo Strategy

Figure 6 Tigo proven go-to-market strategy, integrated business model

Our go-to-market strategy uses a three-prong approach.

  • We have partners in the form of inverter manufacturers and PV module manufacturers, which we jointly go to market with. In some cases, they will buy products from us and resell them. In other cases, we will be selling together.
  • The second go-to-market strategy we are using is distributors. We have an extensive distribution network globally, not just in the US but in Europe, South America, Australia, and other locations. We have installations all over the world.
  • The third leg of this tool is the large accounts. We work with direct companies like SunPower, Tesla, E.ON, and Maxeon. These are the kinds of customers we work with directly and work on either specific requirements or use the standard products we have that serve their needs.

This strategy has resulted in a strong following and strong support from all three approaches we're taking to the market, making it a very efficient model.

The People Behind Tigo

Figure 7 Strong Leadership team to drive robust growth

A strong leadership team manages Tigo with many years of experience in alternative energy, solar space, and others. We have a footprint that covers pretty much the whole world in terms of offices and support locations. We also have a solid board guiding the company to move forward.

Figure 8 Strong Board and Investors to support transformational growth


Tigo is servicing an enormous total available market and is solving the specific problems of traditional PV systems. Many years of R&D have resulted in a robust value proposition and IP portfolio that includes more than 150 patents. We are shipping millions of units, and we have a strong management team.


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