Inverter shipments to top 10 GW in final quarter

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Research analysts IHS predict that global inverter shipments will exceed 10 GW for the fourth quarter of 2013 following a record-breaking third quarter that saw 9.9 GW shipped.

Led by rapid expansion in the Japanese and Chinese markets – which saw the two countries claim three of the top five inverter suppliers in the third quarter – the second half of 2013 is on course to post record shipment numbers.

However, forecast revenues of $3.5 billion are actually down on last year by 1%, thanks to highly competitive pricing this year that has made inverters more affordable. On average, inverters are 17% cheaper today than they were at this point in 2012, although prices vary significantly from region to region.

In total, though, the volume of inverters shipped in the second half of 2013 is expected to reach 20.8 GW, which is a massive 21% increase on the same period in 2012, with the U.S., Japanese and Chinese markets driving the growth and accounting for 64% of all inverter shipments between them.

In Europe, Middle East and Africa it is a different story. IHS predict that the second half of the year will end 31% down on last year, with tumbling interest from the traditionally strong markets of Germany and Italy causing the downward trend.

In Japan, where inverter prices are highest, the market is expected to be worth more than $1.7 billion come the end of the year, prompting a number of local inverter suppliers – such as Omron and Tabuchi – to rise through the global ranks, joining China’s Sungrow in the top-five inverter suppliers worldwide.

Once again, however, SMA and Power-One remained the two largest inverter suppliers globally for the third quarter, and are expected to hold on to those positions for Q4, despite both experiencing a contraction in market share.

In 2014, IHS forecast that global inverter shipments will reach a record 41 GW.