The supplier base for photovoltaic inverters further fragmented in 2012, with the total market share of the 10 largest suppliers falling by more than four percentage points, according to a new report from IMS Research, now part of IHS Inc.
The report says the drop was partly due to strong growth in demand from China and Japan, where most of the top 10 largest suppliers have limited presence. SMA Solar Technology's share of global revenue fell for the third consecutive year to slightly more than 25% – as the PV market continued to fragment and demand for its products weakened in its core markets, the report adds.
According to IMS, a flurry of recent merger and acuistion (M&A) activity, including Advanced Energy's acquisition of REFUsol and ABB's purchase of Power-One, has had little impact on the competitive landscape and has resulted in only minimal changes to the supplier rankings.
Although recent bankruptcies, exits and acquisitions normally would indicate industry consolidation, the report finds that the market share of the 10 largest PV inverter suppliers fell from 62% in 2011 to 56% in 2012.
‘The year 2012 saw many of the leading suppliers, including the three largest – SMA, Power-One and Kaco – lose market share, largely due to their limited presence in China and Japan, both of which grew rapidly in 2012," says Sam Wilkinson, PV inverter research manager at IHS.
"The majority of suppliers that gained share in 2012 were midsize companies that are targeting growing segments of the market, in contrast to the market leaders whose businesses still heavily revolved around the stagnating core markets in Europe," Wilkinson continues." The number of suppliers with a market share of more than one percent increased to 24 in 2012, with this growing group of suppliers accounting for three-quarters of market revenue."
The report says the majority of suppliers that gained market share and moved up the rankings were those with a strong presence in fast-growing markets or those that offered new technologies.
Advanced Energy and Enphase's strong position in the U.S. market resulted in their global rankings improving to fourth and sixth, respectively, in 2012 – up from eighth and 11th in 2011. Similarly, the report adds, Omron's strength in the Japanese market allowed it to gain six places and become the first Asian supplier to place in the top 10.
Conversely, three suppliers have slipped from the top 10 ranking in 2012: Satcon, which declared bankruptcy following financial difficulties; Siemens, which withdrew from the industry citing lower growth and strong price pressure; and Sputnik Engineering, which has a strong focus on the stalling European market.