Inverters for the renewable energy market are set on a course of intense technologicial change while the market booms, according to the latest report from Pike Research, part of Navigant’s Energy Practice. The RE inverter market was said to have been worth US$7.2 billion in 2011 and on course to more than double in the next five years to reach US$19 billion.

“We have already witnessed the deleterious effect of falling solar photovoltaic (PV) module prices on all but the most efficient manufacturers,” said research analyst Dexter Gauntlett. “In order to avoid a similar fate, inverter companies must increase functionality, reduce cost and differentiate themselves from the growing competition. Incumbent inverter manufacturers SMA, Fronius, Satcon, Power-One, KACO new energy and Ingeteam have the advantages of size and market reach, but disruptive technological innovation by well-funded startups and early-stage companies like Enphase and SolarBridge is rapidly changing the face of the industry.”

According to the market research firm, the major market over the next few years will continue to be Europe, making up 43% of all renewable energy inverter capacity installed through 2017, with PV inverter capacity being the dominant part. 

However 72GW of renewable energy inverters will be installed in the Asia Pacific region, compared to North America’s 66GW. Growth particularly in China is expected after the latest version of China’s Five-Year-Plan for the PV industry highlighted that China’s planning body, NDRC, has lifted its installation target from 15GW to 21GW by 2015.

On a global basis RE-based inverter capacity will reach 290GW between 2012 and 2017, feeding four primary technologies – solar PV, small wind power, stationary fuel cells and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) enabled vehicles.