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A late year surge in PV installations, primarily in Asia will lead to a record fourth quarter of PV inverter shipments, according to market research firm IMS Research. Around 50% of shipments will be heading for China, India and Japan as well as other countries in Asia. Global PV inverter shipments are forecast to reach a record of 8.6GW in the fourth quarter.
However, shipments to Europe, including key markets of Italy and Germany are forecast to decline by 20% in the same period.
“Following huge amounts of price pressure on other PV components such as modules, PV inverter prices have also come under fire,” noted Cormac Gilligan, PV market analyst at IMS Research. “Highly competitive market conditions, falling incentives and weakening demand in key markets has resulted in prices declining by an average of 5% per quarter for the last year.”
The price declines will be welcomed by project developers and installers alike, having seen inverter price declines lag module price declines. However, IMS noted that the average price of PV inverters had fallen by almost 20% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2012.
“Shipments of inverters over 500kW in size are forecast to continue to grow substantially in the second half of the year as high demand for utility scale installations is forecast in markets such as the US, India and China,” added Gilligan. “This change in market share towards larger inverters with a lower price per watt has also been a factor in the reduction of average PV inverter prices.”
IMS said that it expected inverter shipments within China to exceed shipments within Germany in 2013, the first time this would occur. The US is also predicted to continue to grow, becoming the third biggest market for PV inverters next year.