Aggressive targeting of the US PV inverter market by European suppliers has led to a fragmented supplier base, while revenues from inverters in the US, China and Japan leaped by US$1.7 billion in 2013, according to new analysis by IHS.
The research firm’s ‘PV Inverter World Market Report 2014’ points out that a number of European manufacturers of PV inverters have looked to source revenue from outside their “ailing businesses” in Europe and entered the US market, turning that market into a highly competitive one.
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This saw inverter prices in the US drop by almost 20% last year, according to IHS. The firm said that in addition to European companies, low cost manufacturers from Asia have also focused on the US. IHS solar research manager Sam Wilkinson said that only three domestic suppliers in the US now appeared in the top 10.
As a result, the three inverter manufacturers which previously held the greatest share of the market have experienced a decline in market share of 11%. The three top suppliers, SMA, Advanced Energy and Enphase, in first, second and third position respectively, saw their combined share of the US market drop from 64% to 53% compared to 2012 figures.
Unlike US-based suppliers, Chinese and Japanese inverter companies still fiercely held their dominant share of their domestic markets, with low prices in China and preference for domestically produced goods in Japan proving barriers to entry for foreign suppliers.
Overall, global revenue from inverters fell by US$60 million, shrinking by about 1% from 2012. This was in contrast to the combined revenue figures for the US, China and Japan markets, which stood at US$4.1 billion in 2013, compared to US$2.4 billion the year before. Even within these three, contrasting fortunes are apparent; revenue from the US market grew by only 10% last year, while Japan’s grew by 140% and China’s by 100%.
Wilkinson pointed out that while inverter demand grew in those three territories, markets in Europe, Africa and the Middle East were not so buoyant. Combined revenues for PV inverters for those regions dropped by US$2 billion in 2013 from 2012 figures.