Solar Inverter Shipments Hit Record High

Global solar inverter shipments grew by 50% in the third quarter of this year to reach 7.3 GW – another record quarter for the industry, which had peaked at 5 GW the previous quarter, according to IMS Research's recently released report.

According to IMS Research, although the majority of these shipments were for installations in Germany, growth slowed substantially in this region, and the biggest contributors to the market's huge increase were Italy and Asia. Other European markets also fared well and have grown by more than 300% year-on-year.

Europe, the Middle East and Africa accounted for approximately 80% of inverter shipments in the third quarter, down from 90% the previous quarter, partly driven by high growth of the Americas market, which is estimated to have doubled in size from the same period last year.

All regions recorded impressive growth, generating more than $2 billion in revenues for suppliers during the quarter, IMS Research says.

‘Again, we are referring to a record quarter for inverter suppliers with the previous record of 5 GW of shipments in Q2'10 being beaten by almost 50 percent in Q3'10,’ says PV Analyst Tom Haddon. ‘Q4, however, is likely to be a much weaker quarter, as Germany, the largest market, continues to slow. Additionally, significant inventory now exists in the supply chain, and a sharp correction seems inevitable.’

For the second consecutive quarter, IMS Research's analysis found factory-gate inverter prices fell due to the continuing shift toward larger inverters, which have an inherently lower price per watt.

With such a strong quarter for the whole industry, many firms may have increased shipments, but they lost overall market share. Satcon was one of the standout performers of the quarter, increasing its share in both the Americas and global market, IMS Research notes. SMA, which dominates the market, continued to lose further share in the third quarter, despite a record quarter and a big improvement in its supply problems.

SOURCE: IMS Research

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