In the recently published “Energy Storage Inverter (PCS) Report 2018”, IHS Markit revealed its findings and forecasts for the fast growing sector.
Overall, Germany-based SMA Solar Technology led the pack in terms of megawatts shipped in 2017 – around 400 MW, which is said to be roughly 200 MW more than its closest rival, South Korea’s Destin Power. Germany’s WS Tech ranked third, followed by U.S.-based Tesla and GE. Just one Chinese manufacturer made it into the top 10: Sungrow at #6.
Predictions are that shipments will increase over 50% this year, to reach 3 GW, while revenues will be almost US$400 million. IHS Markit’s solar and energy storage research manager Cormac Gilligan tells pv magazine that South Korea currently comprises 25% of the market, with the United States taking 14% and China 13%.
Looking to the future, Gilligan says that grid-connected energy storage inverter shipments are forecast to grow at a CAGR of 25% to reach just under 7 GW in 2022, while revenues should hit around $600 million.
In terms of sector, he says the ratios are expected to stay very similar, with utility-side of the meter comprising over half of sales, followed by commercial behind-the-meter and residential behind-the-meter.
The first sector is said to be driven by renewable energy credits, which promote the co-location of energy storage with solar, while the behind-the-meter segment is driven by demand charge reduction, particularly for C&I applications. “Additionally, Net Zero Energy Building and Facility (NZEB / NZEF) policy is also encouraging ESS deployment,” says Gilligan.
Gilligan goes on to outline the key trends as anticipated by IHS Markit in the coming years. They include the growing global use of larger average power ratings, such as 1 MW+, in front-of-the-meter segments; and more DC-coupled or hybrid inverters that can handle both solar and energy storage in residential applications.
AC-coupled solutions continue to be the preferred solution for retrofit, says Gilligan. He adds, “Large DC-coupled inverters are forecast to be installed increasingly in front-of-the-meter markets such as United States and China as energy storage is increasingly co-located with solar.”
Overall, the competitive landscape in the energy storage inverter segment is said to remain “highly volatile”, due to the wide geographical spread of storage installations, and a growing number of new suppliers entering the market.
As such, Gilligan says the number of mergers, acquisitions and exits will continue. “Other leading suppliers such as Dynapower are partnering with certain suppliers like SMA and Raychem to aid its sales of DC-coupled inverters globally in markets such as the US and India,” he says.