Image source: Getty Images.

What happened 

Shares of inverter manufacturer SolarEdge Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:SEDG) plunged as much as 18.9% in early trading Thursday after reporting earnings. But shares have recovered most of those losses and are down just 0.9% as of 1:15 p.m. EST. Here's what investors need to know. 

So what

Fiscal first-quarter revenue rose 11.7% to $128.5 million, and net income was up 8.2% to $15.6 million, or $0.35 per share. On an adjusted basis, which pulls out stock compensation and one-time items, earnings were $0.51 per share, which beat estimates of $0.44 from Wall Street. 

What was less bullish was management's comments about the future. The residential solar market in general is slowing, and there's been a shift from large, national installers to smaller, local installers. And that's hurting SolarEdge's sales. 

To put that into context, fourth-quarter revenue, which is usually the best quarter of the year, is expected to fall to $110 million to $120 million. 

Now what

It's a little hard to decipher exactly where SolarEdge is headed today, but the trends are starting to turn negative. The company's growth was built on getting into large, national installers, and they're now starting to slow. And we're seeing companies like SolarCity and SunPower move to developing components in-house rather than buying from this party manufacturers. That could mean SolarEdge's product being replaced at many installers. Ironically, the first fiscal quarter may have been a solid earnings beat, but the future is looking a little cloudy for SolarEdge Technologies. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.