China: A booming inverter market

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According to the new IMS report, ‘The China Market for PV Inverters’, the market was highly consolidated in 2011 and the ten largest suppliers who comprised 80 percent of the shipments share, were all Chinese manufacturers except for one, Elettronica Santerno. IMS Research also confirmed that with domestic suppliers dominating in China, they can gain a significant share of the global photovoltaic inverter market. Sungrow Power Supply was the largest supplier in the domestic market. Prices for photovoltaic inverters in China is also significantly lower as the report says.

A prime reason for the growth has been the establishment of the Chinese national feed-in tariffs (FITs) in July 2011. This drove installations to approximately 2.4 GW within the year. The report explains that thanks to the FITs, an inverter market worth more than US$300 million was created.

The most popular inverter models were those rated at 500 kW and do not span across many model types in terms of demand. "500 kW inverters dominated utility-scale installations last year, as they best fulfil the project developers’ requirements to install ground-mounted stations quickly, beating the end of year FIT reduction. As a result they represented more than three-quarters of inverter shipments last year," commented Frank Xie, senior analyst and report author. "Due to the drastically growing Chinese PV market, inverters shipped to China accounted for 10 percent of global shipments in 2011," he added.