The renewable energy inverter industry is entering a dynamic point in its history and undergoing an intense period of technological innovation, but it is also experiencing a period of turmoil, according to a new report from Pike Research.
According to the report, the market for inverters for renewable energy applications totaled $7.2 billion in 2011, and that figure will more than double over the next five years, surpassing $19 billion in 2017.
‘We have already witnessed the deleterious effect of falling solar photovoltaic module prices on all but the most efficient manufacturers,’ notes research analyst Dexter Gauntlett. ‘In order to avoid a similar fate, inverter companies must increase functionality, reduce cost and differentiate themselves from the growing competition.
"Incumbent inverter manufacturers SMA, Fronius, Satcon, Power-One, KACO new energy and Ingeteam have the advantages of size and market reach, but disruptive technological innovation by well-funded startups and early-stage companies like Enphase and SolarBridge is rapidly changing the face of the industry," he adds.
Over the next several years, Europe will continue to be the leading market for renewable energy inverters, accounting for 43% of all renewable energy inverter capacity installed through 2017, led by solar PV inverters. Meanwhile, 72 GW of renewable energy inverters will be installed in the Asia Pacific region, compared to 66 GW in North America, Pike Research predicts.
In all, nearly 290 GW of vendor-supplied inverter capacity will be installed worldwide across four primary technologies – solar PV, small wind power, stationary fuel cells and vehicle-to-grid-enabled vehicles – between 2012 and 2017, the report adds.