The global market for module-level power electronics (MLPE), which includes photovoltaic micro-inverters and power optimizers, is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 19% per year to reach more than $1 billion in 2019, according to a new report from IHS Technology.
The average price for traditional PV inverters fell 16% in 2014, but revenues for MLPE suppliers continued to grow, despite declining prices caused by intense competition in the inverter market, the report says. The global market for MLPE is estimated to have grown 30% year over year to reach $430 million in 2014.
Enphase led the micro-inverter market in 2014, the report says, due to the company's large residential market share in the U.S. and continued expansion into new markets in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. SolarEdge dominated the power optimizer market last year, due to the company's success in adding partners in the U.S. and its entry into new emerging markets globally.
"The U.S. continues to be the biggest market for MLPE this year,’ says Cormac Gilligan, senior solar supply chain analyst at IHS Technology. ‘Due to booming residential and commercial markets and heightened market awareness of the benefits of micro-inverters and power optimizers, suppliers increased MLPE shipments.’
Over the next five years, the report says, global residential and small commercial installations are expected to reach 75 GW, with the U.S. accounting for 20% of total installations. According to the IHS PV Inverter Intelligence Service, MLPE suppliers are gaining market share in the U.K., the Netherlands, France, Australia and other key markets outside the U.S.
LG, Jinko Solar, Sunpower and other major module suppliers have either partnered with MLPE suppliers or now produce their own micro-inverters. Gilligan points out that Sunpower's 2014 acquisition of SolarBridge indicates that module suppliers will consider acquisition as a strategy to reach the growing MLPE market.