Microinverter, DC optimizer market surpasses 2 GW capacity

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Microinverters and DC optimizers represent one of the fastest-growing sectors in the solar PV industry, say analysts GTM Research in a new report that reveals the market has now surpassed 2 GW of cumulative installed capacity.

A mere four years after the first contemporary commercial products were released, the sector for microinverters and DC optimizers grew by more than 1 GW in 2013, making it one of the fastest-growing sectors in solar, evolving from niche solution for residential or shaded rooftops to accounting for a vast share of commercial-scale installations.

In fact, GTM Research reports that nearly half of all module level power electronics (MLPE) volume installed is in the large-scale sector, especially for DC optimizers. Lower product costs and a more rounded value proposition among the leading MLPE providers have helped the market expand its share – a share that is dominated by Enphase Energy and SolarEdge Technologies, who alongside Tigo Energy accounted for 88% of all capacity shipped in 2013.

Despite such clear dominance from the industry’s leading players, movement further back in the field has been brisk, with the distributed optimization market attracting some $600 million in venture and public capital over the course of 2013, despite the sector accounting for just 2.5% of the overall PV market.

Although skeptics still question whether the value of such microinverter and DC optimizer products is necessary for the continued expansion of the PV industry, supporters have been impressed by the speed and scale of the sector’s growth, and are asking how might the industry now evolve, says GTM Research.

Experts believe that the sector is most likely to mirror the conventional inverter landscape, with a handful of companies dominating market share and internal competitiveness helping to drive down costs further and propel innovation, boosted by the adoption of the technology by large inverter companies.