Record Q4 PV inverter shipments predicted; China to overtake Germany

11. October 2012 | Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends, Products | By:  Becky Beetz

Global photovoltaic inverter shipments are expected to reach 8.6 GW in Q4 2012, thus representing the "largest final quarter ever recorded". Despite this, falling inverter prices are predicted to dampen revenues. Meanwhile, in 2013, China is set to become the largest market.

Conery solar photovoltaic inverter

Average photovoltaic inverter prices in Q2 2012 dropped almost 20% compared to the previous year.

In its latest World Market for PV Inverters report, IMS Research states that global photovoltaic inverter shipments are expected to increase by 18% year-on-year, on the back of a predicted Q4 surge, particularly from the Asian – China, India and Japan – regions.

While Asia is predicted to account for 50% of global shipments, Europe’s share is expected to decline by 20% following "aggressive" feed-in tariff reductions in markets like Germany and Italy.

Overall, the U.K.-based research company said average inverter prices in Q2 2012 had dropped almost 20% compared to the previous year. As such, although shipments are expected to grow, revenues will not show such an impressive increase.

In addition to a competitive marketplace, weakened political support and decreased demand in key markets, inverter pricing has also been affected by changing customer purchasing habits, said IMS Research.

"Shipments of inverters over 500 kW in size are forecast to continue to grow substantially in the second half of the year as high demand for utility scale installations is forecast in markets such as the U.S., India and China," explained PV market analyst Cormac Gilligan. "This change in market share towards larger inverters with a lower price per watt has also been a factor in the reduction of average PV inverter prices."

In 2013, IMS Research predicts that China will overtake Germany to become the largest market for photovoltaic inverters. Meanwhile, the U.S. is set to become the third biggest, thus "highlighting the global shift from the mature European markets to the fast growing Americas and Asia regions."

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