iSuppli: massive solar inverter shipments projected by 2014

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Global solar inverter shipments are expected to surpass 23.3 million units by 2014, up by a factor of nine from 2.6 million in 2010, according to a new report from iSuppli Corp. Revenue will subsequently increase to US$8.9 billion in 2014, up from US$5.3 billion in 2010. This would result in solar inverters sales becoming one of the highest-volume ruggedized electronic systems sold, according to report author Greg Sheppard.

Despite such soaring demand, the average price per watt for inverters worldwide will decline by 13.5% this year. In particular, Asian suppliers are trying to drive prices down with lower costs, Sheppard noted, even though they have been challenged to deliver bankability.

A key issue since mid-2009 has been the lack of adequate production capacity to make inverters coupled to a lingering shortage of electronic components. Inverter capacity issues have since been resolved but component supply issues remain an ongoing challenge for inverter manufacturers, iSuppli noted.

Something PV-Tech has previously pointed out is the supply issues surrounding Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) modules, which are in constant short supply and difficult to obtain for many inverter companies.

According to the market research firm, a mature product with predictable supply and demand dynamics, IGBTs are now experiencing rising sales in a number of hot applications, including automotive electronics as well as PV and wind inverters. Combined with conservative investments in new IGBT capacity, the strong demand has spurred a supply crunch.

Other inverter components in short supply include Digital Signal Processor (DSP)-based controllers and certain types of capacitors, said iSuppli.

“iSuppli believes that inverter suppliers increasingly will be valued based on their impact upon the Levelized Cost Of Energy (LCOE), a metric that takes into account not only the acquisition cost of an inverter but also total energy production and the 20-plus-year lifecycle costs of an inverter within an installation,” commented Greg Sheppard, chief research officer for iSuppli.

“Initial acquisition costs are important, but the lifetime costs of inverters loom larger in Return of Investment (ROI) equations for PV system owners,” Sheppard pointed out. “Thus, quality and reliability are key competitive advantages in the inverter business.”

Despite such soaring demand, the average price per watt for inverters worldwide will decline 13.5% this year. In particular, Asian suppliers are trying to drive prices down with lower costs, Sheppard noted, even though they have been challenged to deliver bankability — i.e., the capability to provide a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

Interestingly, iSuppli believes that price declines are being impacted by the increasing market share of larger inverters, which boast a lower price per watt.

On the micro-inverter front the market research firm noted that the U.S. residential market is adopting microinverters rapidly, while optimizers have found favour with European residences. Each market is commanded by a different company with Enphase Energy currently controlling the micro-inverter market in the U.S., while SolarEdge is No. 1 in the optimizer arena in Europe.

19 October 2021
This year’s EV World Congress will hold a special role, not only as the first live EverythingEV event in over a year – a chance to renew your connections and re-engage with the EV sector face to face – but also as a chance to share insight and inspiration as world starts to look towards move on post COVID towards hitting ambitious decarbonisation goals in 2030 and beyond. As ever, we will be bringing world leading organisations, cities, and technology providers to the UK to inspire EV innovators, and delve into the challenges facing the sector as the UK looks to revolutionise road transport.
20 October 2021
Utility-scale solar is evolving, shaped by higher power modules and demand for increasingly lower levelised cost of electricity (LCOE). Those trends are also changing project requirements elsewhere, with inverters capable of delivering high power density and power capacity in strong demand. In this webinar, FIMER will detail how its innovative high-power, multi-MPPT string inverter and modular conversion solution can both meet those demands and transform the utility-scale solar sector for the better.
20 October 2021
The race is on but we need to sprint… With global climate talks fast approaching and time running out to prevent the most disastrous impacts of climate change, now is the time to act. The Summit will explore the opportunities that emerge from taking action on climate change and provide a clear pathway forward for governments, citizens and companies. Taking place just 10 days before the G20 meeting in Rome, on 30-31 of October, and in the lead up to the critical COP26 meeting in Glasgow from 31 October–12 November, this event will be instrumental in influencing ambitious global action.
10 November 2021
The solar tracker market continues to mature at breakneck speed, with designs and component selections becoming ever-more complex in the pursuit of better project economics. But a more simplistic design could deliver a triple benefit of lower Capex, EPC and Opex costs. This webinar will set out the ideal single axis tracker design for utility-scale solar farms. The design leapfrogs from decades of experience, with a comprehensive understanding and attention to the three cost structures of Capex, EPC and Opx. Sun and Steel Solar has prototyped a single axis tracker designed to deliver up to US$0.03/W in real savings compared to existing single axis trackers on the market. That’s US$30 million for every gigawatt deployed.
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The 10th edition of the famous Metallization and Interconnection Workshop, MIW2021, will take place in the Thor Central venue in Genk, Belgium, on Monday, November 15, and Tuesday, November 16, 2021 as a face-to-face meeting. We are longing for direct exchange of knowledge and ideas after a long time. Hopefully you can be part of it! But of course, the organizors will keep an eye on the evolution of the Covid pandemic. It will be assess carefully, whether the workshop can be held without major risks or excessive restrictions. We are looking forward to exciting talks, discussions and meetings and to welcoming you in Genk!
23 November 2021
The solar, storage and EV industries in the UK are going from strength to strength. There is no better place for the community to meet, share ideas and do business than Solar & Storage Live from 23-25 November at the NEC.There’s something for everyone; more than 150 exhibitors, a high-level conference, a start up and innovation zone, a poster zone, strategic partners to network with and much more. 

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