Inverter industry entering "dynamic" times

In 2011, the market for inverters used in renewable energy projects was said to be worth $7.2 billion. According to Pike Research, a part of Navigant’s Energy Practice, this figure is forecast to grow to $19 billion over the next five years.

However, issuing words of warning, the research company says that in order to avoid the "deleterious effect" of decreasing photovoltaic module prices, inverter companies must "increase functionality, reduce cost, and differentiate themselves from the growing competition". Differentiation was also recently highlighted as a necessity for the survival of module manufacturers.

"Incumbent inverter manufacturers SMA, Fronius, Satcon, Power-One, KACO new energy, and Ingeteam have the advantages of size and market reach, but disruptive technological innovation by well-funded startups and early-stage companies like Enphase and SolarBridge is rapidly changing the face of the industry," it said in a statement released.

For the renewable energy market, Europe is expected to continue leading the way, with a market share totaling 43 percent between now and 2017. Inverters for photovoltaic applications are set to comprise the lion’s share. Pike Research adds that 72 GW worth of inverters will be installed in in the Asia Pacific region by 2017, and 66 GW in North America.

"In all, nearly 290 GW of vendor-supplied inverter capacity will be installed worldwide across four primary technologies – solar PV, small wind power, stationary fuel cells, and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) enabled vehicles – between 2012 and 2017," continues the statement.

pv magazine will be focusing on inverters in relation to storage technology in its August edition.