Strong quarter for solar inverter shipments, but slowdown expected

According to IMS Research, the majority of shipments went to installations in Germany. However, it was found that growth slowed “substantially” in the country, with Italy and Asia comprising the biggest contributors. Other European markets also performed well, having grown by more than 300 percent year-on-year.

But PV analyst Tom Haddon said that because the German market is expected to decelerate, the fourth quarter will be “much weaker”. “Additionally,” he said, “significant inventory now exists in the supply chain and a sharp correction seems inevitable.”

IMS went on to say that EMEA accounted for around 80 percent of the inverter shipments in the third quarter, down from 90 percent in the second quarter. This was attributed to the high growth of the Americas market, which is estimated to have doubled in size from the same period last year. Overall, all regions were said to have recorded impressive growth, generating more than USD$2 billion in revenues for suppliers during the quarter.

Furthermore, for the second consecutive quarter, IMS said factory-gate inverter prices fell due to the continuing shift towards larger inverters, which have an inherently lower price per Watt.

The company added that with such a strong quarter for the whole industry, many firms may have increased shipments but lost overall market share. However, Satcon was found to be one of the standout performers of the quarter, having increased its share both in the Americas and the global market. Conversely, SMA, which dominates the market, continued to lose further share in the third quarter, despite a record quarter and a big improvement in its supply problems.