A new survey conducted by IMS Research of more than 400 photovoltaic inverter purchasers has revealed that the most preferred PV inverter brand globally in 2012 was SMA Solar Technology.
In total, 74 brands were mentioned in survey responses – a significant increase from the number mentioned just one year ago. SMA Solar Technology received almost one-third of the votes and ranked as the No. 1 preferred brand in Germany, Italy, the U.K. and the U.S.
Globally, the top four brands have not changed over the past year. However, there were several new entrants to the top 10, including two U.S. suppliers – Advanced Energy and Enphase.
According to IMS Research, the survey also highlighted the importance of warranty and after-sales service plans for customers. More than 90% of respondents indicated that these offerings are ‘important for most projects’ or ‘critical for all projects.’ Customers said that the most important service offered from a manufacturer was fast response time in service cases, followed by remote system monitoring.
‘Considering the highly competitive nature of the PV market, attractive warranty and service offerings, and a good reputation for offering excellent after-sales support is becoming a highly important way in which PV inverter suppliers can strengthen their brand and gain market share,’ says Sam Wilkinson, manager of IMS Research's PV inverter and balance-of-systems research and analysis.
PV inverter suppliers were also ranked as to which suppliers offer the most attractive warranty and service plans. Once again, SMA Solar Technology ranked first, with more than 35% of the votes, followed by Fronius. New entrants in the top 10 included U.S. micro-inverter supplier Enphase and Kostal.