Huawei and SMA were the leading global vendors of solar photovoltaic inverters in 2015, according to preliminary findings from GTM Research’s upcoming report, The Global PV Inverter and MLPE Landscape.
SMA relinquished its position atop the inverter-shipment rankings for the first time, despite increasing its global shipments by 44 percent. However, SMA strengthened its leadership position in the United States and held onto its strong position at the top of the global rankings when measured by revenue.
The rapid rise of Huawei to its position as a global market leader can be attributed to its strong growth in the Chinese market.
“Huawei has upended the notion that string inverters would be used in place of central inverters in small (and progressively larger) utility projects. The company has committed to a portfolio made up solely of string inverters, employing the devices in some of the largest solar power plants in the world,” said Scott Moskowitz, an analyst with GTM Research.
FIGURE: Top 10 Global PV Inverter Vendors by Shipments and Revenue, 2015
Source: GTM Research's Global PV Inverter and MLPE Landscape
(Editor's note: This article's original publication contained an error in the estimation of Schneider Electric's 2015 global PV inverter revenue. The revised estimate moves Schneider Electric from No. eleven to No. eight in that ranking.)
Overall, the market is becoming increasingly consolidated. The top 10 inverter vendors accounted for 75 percent of global shipments in 2015, up from 69 percent in 2014 and the highest since 2010 when the market was highly concentrated in continental Europe. The rankings reflect the makeup of the global market; the top nine positions on the list consist entirely of companies with strong utility offerings in major solar markets.
The market is more balanced when viewed by revenue, with the top 10 vendors accounting for 64 percent of the overall market and including residential and commercial inverter players SolarEdge, Enphase, Omron, and Tabuchi.
“No matter how you view the numbers, the market is growing increasingly concentrated among leading suppliers in major markets. These same vendors are taking advantaging of global supply chains and additionally supplying growth markets in Latin America, South Asia and the Middle East,” says Moskowitz.
That does not mean there's a lack of opportunity in the market, however. SolarEdge rose 10 spots in the global shipment rankings due to strong demand in the United States and Europe for its differentiated DC optimizer and inverter system.
General Electric similarly rose 10 spots to No. 12 in the 2015 shipment rankings due to stout growth in shipments of its 1,500-volt inverters. GE was the first to introduce and deploy a 1,500-volt product. According to GTM Research, nine inverter vendors have now announced 1,500-volt solutions.
Full preliminary findings will be provided on an ongoing basis to participating data contributors and GTM Research subscribers. The full report will be released in the second quarter and will contain detailed product trends, company profiles and analysis, regional market shares, market pricing and forecasts, and global projections for the inverter market over the next five years.
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