PV inverter supplier rankings continue shift says IHS

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Market research firm IHS has disclosed the top 10 PV inverter suppliers for 2013, which highlights the continuing market share gains by Asian-based suppliers at the expense of European rivals.

IHS revealed that four of the top ranked firms came from China and Japan, a direct consequence of end market demand shifts to the two leading countries for PV installations last year.

China and Japan were said to have represented 35% of global PV inverter revenue in 2013, compared to only 12% in 2011, supported by the high-entry barriers to international suppliers in these booming regions, according to the market research firm.

“The rate at which the solar landscape has transformed has been incredible, and it has initiated a major shift in the competitive environment for PV inverter suppliers,” said Sam Wilkinson, solar research manager at IHS. “As growth from China and Japan continues to outpace the global market in 2014, both Chinese and Japanese suppliers are likely to further improve their positions in 2014.”

IHS picked out China-based Sungrow Power Supply Co as a notable example of the rapidly shifting PV inverter market, which shipped over 2GW in 2013, shipping more inverters in megawatt terms in the final quarter of 2013 than any other supplier. Sungrow was said to have not appeared in the top 10 rankings during any other single quarter in 2013.

However, the inclusion of Japanese firms Omron, TMEIC and Tabuchi in the rankings is further confirmation of market share shifts, becoming the third, fourth and seventh largest suppliers in the world, respectively. Higher ASP’s compared to those of Sungrow in China also played a part in their ascent.

“Although Asian suppliers have had a huge impact on the global rankings due to their success in local markets, their bearing on international markets outside of China and Japan has currently been quite limited,” noted Wilkinson. “Just the same, the economies of scale, expertise and brand strength that they have now been able to achieve makes them well placed for international expansion, and the world is likely to see many of these suppliers play a greater role in markets outside Asia over the next two to three years.”

With Asian suppliers winning share the losers are the Europeans.

“The decline of the PV market in Europe has placed European suppliers in a very vulnerable position,” Wilkinson said. “Many of these suppliers relied heavily on Europe as the backbone of their business and were highly exposed to the rapid shift in demand from Europe to other regions. Annual PV inverter revenues from Europe have halved in the last two years, creating an extremely tough competitive environment, and many of the leading names from five years ago have vanished from today’s list of leading suppliers.”

Although ABB’s acquisition of Power-One has boosted its rankings position the market declines in Europe suggest that further share gains without major market penetration in Asia are limited. 

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