The Global PV Inverter Landscape: Technology and Market Trends, 2011-2015

by MJ Shiao

The global inverter market is assuming a greater profile along the solar PV supply chain with advances in inverter technology promising more sophisticated grid support and system optimization for residential installations up to utilityscale, multi-MW projects. Inverter technology development is attracting and will continue to attract greater attention as gains in long-term project generation and reliability become crucial to achieve project bankability given forecasted cuts in global solar incentives (i.e., FiTs) and competitive PPA modeling.

Along with the industry’s increasing technology and bankability requirements, leading EU-based inverter suppliers are seeing global demand shift away from their domestic markets toward major PV growth markets in North America and Asia. In the coming year, this expansion of global demand will lead to increased competition and slower growth for inverter incumbents who do not diversify from their domestic base while providing new supply opportunities to US- and Asia-based inverter manufacturers and to global energy conglomerates leveraging parallel power inversion competencies. 

Figure: Global PV Inverter Manufacturer Taxonomy

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Source: GTM Research

GTM Research’s latest analysis on the global inverter market covers the industry from end-to-end, exploring the technology’s increasing importance in the functionality of PV power delivery. The report also dissects inverter deployment across market segment, as micro-inverter technologies begin to capture greater share of residential and commercial installations. In addition, the report presents in detail the competitive dynamics that global inverter manufacturers will encounter as PV demand decentralizes and regional supply factors influence global market share. 

Figure:Cost Structure of Utility Inverter

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Source: GTM Research
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MJ Shiao Director, Solar Research

MJ Shiao is a Senior Analyst for GTM Research with a focus on PV inverters, electronics, and U.S. non-utility markets.  He was previous a project manager for Solar Design Associates and has worked with Promethean Power Systems, Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), and the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

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