According to analysis from IHS, micro-inverters continued to gain traction in 2013, with market leader Enphase contributing 335 MW in shipments. While the company has yet to make a profit, in the last quarter of 2013, it reduced its operating loss to less than 1%.
Micro-inverters accounted for over 30% of inverter shipments to PV systems of under 100 kW in the U.S. in 2013, IHS says. The research firm forecasts over 1 GW of annual microinverter shipments to the U.S. in 2017.Â
According to IHS, limited volumes of micro-inverters have been shipped to markets in Europe with strong residential segments, such as the U.K. and France. However, in Germany, the world's largest and most mature PV market, micro-inverters have struggled to gain traction, with the country's well developed and experienced network of installers unwilling to move away from using traditional string inverters.
This is set to change with the world's leading inverter supplier, SMA, releasing its new Sunny Boy 240 micro-inverter in Germany. SMA commands a market share of over 30% in Germany and was placed firmly as the No. 1 brand for inverter suppliers in a recent survey carried out by IHS. Despite the German market slowing in 2014, micro-inverter shipments will more than double in 2014 and reach almost 60 MW in 2015, IHS says.
With micro-inverters set to become more widely adopted, global shipments are forecast to increase by over 40% a year on average until 2017 – compared to just 13% for the total PV inverter market. By 2017, total cumulative micro-inverter shipments are forecast to exceed 7 GW.
‘Record results from Enphase and the release of SMA's solar micro-inverter in Europe will help fuel over 2 GW of solar micro-inverter shipments in 2017,’ says Cormac Gilligan, senior PV market analyst at IHS.