Solutronic insolvency evidence of overcrowded German inverter market, say IHS

Solutronic’s recent insolvency announcement is a stark warning that Germany’s inverter industry has become too overcrowded, say industry analysts IHS.

The German inverter manufacturer filed for insolvency this week amid an industry that had seen average prices fall by 40% since 2010. Their troubles are indicative of a market that is overcrowded with suppliers fighting for an ever shrinking domestic market, believe IHS.

Inverter shipments for 2013 are forecast at just 4 GW – down from more than 9 GW in 2010. And although a number of German inverter manufacturers have expanded their horizons internationally – the U.K., U.S. and South African markets have been relatively happy hunting grounds – expansion is slow and insufficient to compensate for contraction in the domestic market.

Revenues for inverters in Germany have fallen to just $0.7 billion this year, down from a high of $2.7 billion in 2010. Such aggressive price reductions kickstarted a domino-effect of market mayhem, with overcrowding and sluggish demand suddenly a very real problem. Solutronic were evidently unable to survive, and more may follow.

Forecasts from IHS paint a bleak end to 2013 for Germany’s inverter market. Average prices are expected to reach $0.19 per Watt, heaping further strain on the revenue streams of suppliers still heavily reliant on a robust German market.

However, there is some cause for cheer: IHS predict that demand will rise in 2014, albeit only slightly and against a backdrop of further price falls. Consolidation of international markets will be more imperative than ever in 2014.