IHS: Global single-axis tracker revenues to reach $2 billion in 2019

Market research group IHS predicts global single-axis tracker revenues to grow 120% in the next four years, reaching nearly $2 billion in 2019.

“For the first time, single-axis trackers will be the preferred type of structural balance of system (BoS) ground mount in the Americas in 2015,” IHS said. The company added that global ground-mounted PV installations would increase an average of 7% a year, reaching 33 GW in 2019, with utility-scale installations accounting for 73% of the total.

“The United States leads growth in the single-axis tracker market,” said Cormac Gilligan, IHS’ senior solar supply chain analyst. “Chile, Mexico and other emerging markets that have high irradiation are also favoring single-axis trackers, especially as prices have fallen rapidly in recent years.”

According to IHS’ PV Balance of System Equipment – 2015 report, fixed-tilt structures will dominate the global market for ground-mounted structural BoS, making up 67% of total installations. The company predicts single-axis tracker installations will provide just over 9 GW in 2019, driven mainly by the growth of utility-scale installations.

The United States will be the largest global market for single-axis trackers in 2019, accounting for 36% of all global installations. China and India are forecast to rank second and third, comprising almost 2 GW of single-axis tracker installations in 2019.

In the United States, Sunpower, First Solar and other leading engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) companies — along with Nextracker, Clavijo and other pure-play suppliers — are currently promoting single-axis trackers in large utility-scale installations, according to the report. “When single-axis trackers are installed in high irradiation locations, the additional energy yield means that customers can generate a higher return on investment,” Gilligan said.

While Chile and other emerging markets favor single-axis trackers, larger Asian markets, such as China and India, currently prefer fixed-tilt trackers due to the abundance of large domestic steel manufacturers that can manufacture them cheaply. In India and other markets with low labor costs, suppliers like Tata International are installing seasonally adjusted trackers, which allow the angle of trackers to be changed seasonally by humans, rather than with motors. As these large Asian markets develop, IHS expects installations with single-axis trackers to increase rapidly, as existing suppliers develop new products and as new suppliers enter the market.