Weak demand across key solar markets and a significant inventory build in solar inverters are expected to impact the solar inverter markets through the second quarter of 2011, according to IMS Research. Global PV inverter revenues reached US$1.6 billion in Q4’10, 24% lower than the previous quarter, but 30% higher than in Q4’09.
“Q4’10 was another solid quarter for PV inverter shipments. Despite the sequential decline, more than 20GW of inverters were shipped in 2010 – a staggering amount in light of the component shortage that blighted the industry in the first half of the year,” commented Ash Sharma, PV research director at IMS Research.
The market research firm noted that weak demand has resulted in factory-gate prices falling in the fourth quarter by 4%, although shipments remained robust despite cooling demand and high inventory levels.
In Germany, IMS Research noted that a weakening market was being impacted by growth in other regions, though EMEA’s share of global PV inverter shipments remained stable in 2010, consuming more than 80% of total industry shipments in the year.
“Germany’s share of inverter shipments has fallen steadily over the past five quarters as other international markets have taken off. Germany accounted for more than half of all inverter shipments in Q4’09, but this fell to just 35% in Q4’10”, added Sharma.
Despite the strength of Europe, the market research firm noted that Germany’s falling share of the inverter market meant that German suppliers were also losing market share globally.
According to IMS Research and in contrast to recent claims from SMA Solar concerning market-share position, the market research firm believes SMA Solar lost 5 percentage points of share last year, despite doubling its sales.