Global Inverter Shipments Fail To Meet Demand

Global PV inverter shipments totaled 3.1 GW in the first quarter of 2010 (Q1 2010) – the largest-ever first-quarter total for the industry and the second highest quarterly result on record, according to a recent report from IMS Research.

Q1 2010 was an outstanding and unique quarter for PV inverter suppliers for two different reasons, the company says. All suppliers reported strong performance, but demand for inverters still outstripped supply. The component shortage and inverter production problems that began in Q4 2009, in fact, worsened in Q1 2010, with quarter-to-quarter supply falling. Â

‘Although Q1 2010 presented some incredible results for inverter suppliers, with shipments up more than 300 percent year-on-year, sequentially, shipments fell in all regions, including Germany,’ says Ash Sharma, PV research director at IMS Research. Total global inverter shipments were 3.7 GW in Q4 2009 – some 16% higher than in Q1 2010.

‘In a 'normal' year, this kind of seasonality would be expected; however, as strong demand has continued into early 2010 with the impending cut to Germany's feed-in tariff, this sequential decline of inverter shipments contrasts the increasing shipments of PV modules and highlights that the supply of inverters may still be restraining growth of the PV industry,’ Sharma explains.

Production constraints are still present in the PV inverter industry, IMS Research notes. SMA, for instance, recently issued to a formal apology to its customers, indicating that its production capacity would be limited to around 1.3 GW in the second quarter and supply constraints would not ease until July at the earliest.

Despite the component shortages that affected SMA's abilities to raise its production output, the company did gain market share in Q1 2010, illustrating that this shortage is also affecting its competitors' business, and the issue is affecting the entire inverter industry, the report adds.

SOURCE: IMS Research
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