Inverter market to shrink to $6.7 billion

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Inverter manufacturers are set to feel the squeeze this year as pricing pressures, driven by Chinese demand and cheaper utility scale products, combine to reduce global revenues by a predicted 5%.

The global PV inverter market will still amount to a healthy US$6.7 billion in 2013, according to the IMS Research report "The World Market for PV Inverters – 2013 edition."

The report, produced by parent company IHS, also predicts revenues will rebound strongly next year to rise 11% to $7.3 billion.

The report shows revenues falling as shipments increase, mirroring the pattern, if not the scale, of price pressures seen in the solar module market.

Shrinking demand from Europe, the Middle East and Africa – which will account for 37 per cent of the global market this year compared to 82% in 2010 – will come as demand rises in China, where inverter prices are at their lowest and are predicted to fall to $0.09 per watt this year.

The trend for utility scale inverters, which are pound-for-pound cheaper than smaller products, is an aggravating factor.

Cormac Gilligan, market anlyst for PV inverters at IHS, says the Japanese inverter market will offer temporary relief with the three-phase 250 kW and above market set to grow from $50 million last year to $290 million. But the Japanese inverter boom is set to be short-lived and expected to fall back again next year after utility scale projects are rolled out.

Manufacturers can anticipate more sustainable revenue growth in the U.S. where, according to IHS, the low-power three-phase string market will double this year to more than $100 million on the back of demand for fast installation, wall mounting and long warranties.