Burgeoning Chinese market creates new opportunities for inverter manufacturers

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A recent report released by IMS Research shows that the Chinese PV inverter market has grown by more than 400% in 2011, exceeding 2.4GW in global shipments. The extraordinary rate of growth has been attributed to China’s introduction of a national FiT incentive scheme in July 2011. The report also revealed that 80% of inverter shipments came from the 10 largest suppliers, nine of which were Chinese. Italian inverter producer Elettronica Santerno was the only non Chinese company on the list.

Currently the global PV inverter market is valued at US$300 million. The market is dominated by Chinese suppliers, a trend that, according to IMS Research, is set to continue. Chinese company Sungrow Power Supply held more than one-third of the market in 2011, making it by far the largest supplier of inverters. The report also highlighted the fact that inverter prices are considerably lower in China when compared to the rest of the world.

Frank Xie, senior market analyst and author of the report, commented, “As per requirements of the project bidding rules, all inverters are required to be shipped with free installation and warrantee for five years in China. Due to the very large nature of most of the projects being developed in China, prices of the winning bids are typically very low.”

Unlike other major PV sectors, the inverter market is not spread across a variety of different model types; 500kW systems were by far the most common in 2011. “500kW inverters dominated utility-scale installations last year, as they best fulfil the project developers’ requirements to install ground-mount stations quickly, beating the end of year FiT reduction. As a result they represented more than three-quarters of inverter shipments last year”, explained Xie.

The PV inverters report was compiled by Chinese analysts for IMS Research, and aims to investigate important questions about supply to the Chinese inverter market and to create forecasts for future development over the next five years.

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