Valued PV inverter warranties and after sales service are key reasons for installers purchasing decisions, according to a survey undertaken by IMS Research, a part of market analytical firm IHS.

In a survey of over 400 PV inverter purchasers more that 90% of respondents expressed good warranties and back-up support were "important for most projects" or "critical for all projects".

Leading the pack of around 74 brands in the highly competitive PV inverter market was SMA Solar Technology, which garnered more than 35% of the votes for warranty and after sales support, according to the report, PV Inverter Customer Survey – World – 2012.

Sam Wilkinson, manager of IMS Research’s PV inverter and BoS research and analysis, said: “Considering the highly competitive nature of the PV market, attractive warranty and service offerings and a good reputation for offering excellent after-sales support are becoming a highly important way in which PV inverter suppliers can strengthen their brand and gain market share.

SMA Solar has been losing market share for several years as the number of competitors increase and improve product offerings, though remains the market share leader with over 30% global share.

In the branding stakes and number two market leading supplier was Fronius. However, new entrants in the top 10 included microinverter supplier, Enphase, and Kostal as well as Advanced Energy, which has specialised in meeting the needs of the commercial and large-scale utility markets, primarily in the US.