Solar microinverters and DC-DC power optimizers are forecast to generate more than $1.5 billion in revenues over the next five years, according to IMS Research's recently released report on the rapidly emerging market. Shipments of the devices are forecast to grow over 100% per year and will total more than 16 million in the same period.
Even so, microinverters are forecast to be utilized in less than 10% of the global PV installations in 2014.
Both microinverters and power optimizers are possible solutions for PV installations that suffer from shading or orientation problems, which is where IMS Research predicts they will see the greatest uptake. However, other possible advantages include the enhanced monitoring and communications, simpler installation, higher energy yields and increased reliability by removing the single failure point of a central inverter.
IMS Research predicts the devices will be most successful in residential and small commercial installations, which will account for more than 80% of shipments. Only power optimizers will be taken up in quantity in larger installations, because they do not eliminate the large centralized inverter that is essential for large-scale projects.
‘With any industry growing as rapidly as photovoltaics, there are huge opportunities available; we predict very rapid growth in the market for microinverters and power optimizers,’ says Ash Sharma, photovoltaics research director at IMS Research. ‘Although we don't see them being used in every installation type, the PV market still offers substantial opportunity for growth for suppliers of the products.
‘Although last year there was only one supplier shipping any significant volume – Enphase Energy – that is all about to change; soon more than a dozen suppliers will be serving the growing market, and even market leader SMA now has a microinverter platform following its acquisition of OKE,’ Sharma adds.
IMS Research has identified approximately 15 suppliers set to enter the market, in addition to Enphase Energy, which shipped more than 100,000 microinverters last year. If market share rankings were based on units shipped, Enphase would have been ranked the second-largest supplier to the global PV inverter market, according to Sharma.
SOURCE: IMS Research