PV microinverters and power optimizers set for significant growth

05. September 2012 | Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By:  Becky Beetz

On the back of 180% market growth in 2011, the latest industry figures indicate that microinverter and power optimizer shipments will grow over 70% in 2012. By 2016, they are expected to comprise 10% of the photovoltaic inverter market. Three suppliers currently dominate the landscape.

Enphase Photovoltaic microinverter

Photovoltaic microinverters are expected to have a higher market share than optimizers in 2012.

According to IMS Research’s latest The World Market for Microinverters & Power Optimizers – 2012 report, microinverters and power optimizers represent the fastest growing photovoltaic inverter segment.

In 2011, it reports, shipments grew by 180% and revenues 160%, to reach US$200 million. Meanwhile, this year, the U.K.-based research company predicts shipments will increase by over 70% to reach nearly 900 MW of capacity.

It adds that although microinverters are expected to have a higher market share than optimizers in 2012, over the next 5 years, power optimizer shipments are set to outpace microinverters. By 2016, IMS Research forecasts the 2 technologies will comprise 10% of the inverter market, thus representing revenues of nearly $1.5 billion.

"Whilst microinverters are likely to remain limited to mainly residential and small commercial systems, optimizers will more likely be used in even larger installations, expanding their addressable market. Suppliers of the devices are also working closely with manufacturers of junction boxes, modules and inverters to offer several new routes to market that will help to further accelerate adoption," states research director, Ash Sharma.

Overall, IMS Research believes the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia and Japan are the most attractive markets for the equipment, which is set to capture up to 25% of the market share in these regions, also by 2016.

While the company identified over 25 microinverter and power optimizer suppliers, it says just 3 – Enphase Energy, SolarEdge and Tigo – accounted for more than 90% of shipments. However, "Given the raft of partnerships announced by other suppliers including Enecsys, SolarBridge Technologies and tenKsolar, as well as the impending product releases of SMA and Power-One, the market is expect to fragment considerably," it concluded.

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