As solar energy becomes mainstream, well-known household brands are entering the market to get a piece of the pie. Appliance behemoth (and wind energy giant) GE is white-labeling inverters made by GoodWe and outdoor power equipment provider Briggs & Stratton recently acquired SimpliPhi Power.
Solar Power World talked to Briggs & Stratton about the company’s reasons for getting into solar and its future plans in the marketplace.
SPW: Why did Briggs & Stratton decide to acquire SimpliPhi and enter the solar space?
Tom Rugg, senior VP & president of energy solutions, Briggs & Stratton: Briggs & Stratton continues to expand its capabilities as a power-agnostic, innovative and technology-focused company. The acquisition of SimpliPhi Power provides access to the energy storage system market through SimpliPhi’s leading PHI and AMPLIPHI battery products and related solutions. This acquisition further expands our product offering and, coupled with the existing standby generator line, provides a more comprehensive range of products that expands beyond generators that provide backup power to a broader suite of safe, reliable and affordable energy solutions appealing to a larger customer base. SimpliPhi Power has a strong reputation in the energy storage market, brings deep application expertise, proven products and strong technical support, which complements Briggs & Stratton’s strength in new product development and broad distribution capabilities.
Will SimpliPhi batteries be branded as Briggs & Stratton now or in the future?
Both Briggs & Stratton and SimpliPhi Power have strong brands and solid reputations in our respective markets. Our aim is to maximize our portfolio of brands by co-branding and/or promoting both brands individually for a period of time, which will be the case with Briggs & Stratton and SimpliPhi Power in the near-term. By establishing a clear link between the two brands in the marketplace, we will be better positioned to consolidate to the Briggs & Stratton brand over time.
Does Briggs & Stratton plan to sell solar batteries direct-to-consumer at home improvement stores, or mainly through installer distributor channels?
We are focused on growing and better serving the existing SimpliPhi Power channel consisting of distributors and solar installers, but we will also offer the SimpliPhi product portfolio through Briggs & Stratton’s 2,000+ existing dealers and distributors. As the business continues to evolve, additional channels of distribution will be evaluated.
How does Briggs & Stratton think its household name recognition will help grow its solar battery business?
Briggs & Stratton has over a 110-year legacy as a leading consumer and trade brand providing trusted, reliable power across a broad range of end-markets. Customers throughout the U.S. know Briggs & Stratton stands for power application expertise, strong innovation and the industry’s best service and support. This legacy, combined with SimpliPhi’s expertise in the energy storage and solar markets, is a powerful combination for future growth. In addition, significant investments are being made in marketing and advertising to continue growing brand awareness.
Updated on Feb. 11