New arrivals to the PV inverter market

The PV inverter market has slowed down from 2011, but several companies could make a positive impact, particularly in markets like China, India, and the United States where growth is still likely.

04/11/2012


Inverter shipments reached an almost unbelievable 26 GW in 2011, according to preliminary results from IMS Research’s, recently acquired by IHS Inc., Quarterly PV Inverter Tracker. This impressive result for inverter shipments in 2011, which was an increase of 10 percent over 2010, came despite the large inventory overhang from the previous year.

However, although the industry saw a healthy increase in shipments, manufacturers were forced to make steep price discounts, particularly in Germany and especially for string inverters. This resulted in zero revenue growth for the industry in U.S. dollars and a slight drop in euros.

2012 is shaping up to be another difficult year for inverter manufacturers (and all PV component suppliers) given the great uncertainty over incentives in most major European markets. Germany, Italy, France, and the UK which all drove substantial growth in 2011, are all set to fall in 2012. This means that inverter suppliers will need to diversify outside of their traditional markets in order to support their business.

Whilst 2012 is unlikely to see either revenue or shipment growth for the PV inverter industry overall, there still remain some hot spots within the market that could benefit some suppliers. There are still many countries that will see installation growth (although unlikely to be enough to counteract the major markets’ falls), such as China, USA, Japan, India, South Africa and Eastern Europe. All of these offer significant opportunities for inverter suppliers, though trying to address these new markets will be no simple task.  

Table 1: Table showing Global PV inverter shipments, installations, and inventory for 2011. Courtesy: IMS Research

There were many new entrants to the PV inverter market in 2010 and early 2011, while the market was really booming. However as the market has slowed, so have the number of new entrants. The below list of 10 newcomers to the market are a selection of companies that either could have a significant impact on the market (in terms of sales volume) or bring a new approach or technology to the industry. Some of these companies are likely to capture market share relatively quickly, whilst others may simply bring about a new approach to DC-AC conversion that other suppliers follow.

Profile photo of Ash Sharma, senior research director for photovolatics at IMS Research. Courtesy: IMS ResearchThe following shows IMS Research’s list of the top 10 newcomers to the PV inverter market. Some have been chosen as they’ve made an entry into the market via strategic acquisition, many are fast growing Chinese suppliers, and some are newcomers just entering the field:

  1. LDK Sunways
  2. Bosch
  3. Sungrow
  4. Solarbridge
  5. Samil Power
  6. Alencon Systems
  7. ArrayPower
  8. Eltek Valere
  9. Zeversolar
  10. Involar


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