In its 2011 PV Microinverter & Power Optimizer report, IMS Research found that shipments of photovoltaic microinverters and power optimizers increased by over 500 percent last year. Despite this, the "disruptive technologies" made almost no impact on inverter revenues.
While shipments of these new technologies have been limited to a few suppliers, of which Enphase and SolarEdge are the most well-known for microinverters and power optimizers, respectively, IMS reports that there are now 20 active suppliers in the market, and "many more in ‘stealth mode’".
Consequently, the research company believes that by 2015, the market for these two technologies will be worth over USD$1.3 billion.
After this time, says IMS, prices for both microinverters and power optimizers are expected to decrease "with the benefits of volume production achieved through OEM (original equipment manufacturer) agreements".
"However in 2015," says IMS in a statement released, "it is forecast that microinverter average prices will still be close to 50 percent higher than those of conventional inverters limiting their penetration to only six percent of the market."
Furthermore, in 2015, IMS estimates that 45 percent of microinverters and 40 percent of power optimizers will be shipped in combination with a photovoltaic module.
"By partnering with module suppliers, microinverter and power optimizer suppliers gain access to a huge customer base and an established sales channel, present a better price proposition to customers, and also offer product differentiation to module suppliers," comments Tom Haddon, PV market analyst at IMS Research and co-author of the report.