SMA Solar reports growth in large-scale inverter sales, decline in distributed inverter sales in Q1 2024

sma solar inverters in germany
“SMA Solar CEO Jürgen Reinert said its falling sales figures were “a temporary effect because end customer demand remains fundamentally robust worldwide.” Image: SMA Solar

German solar inverter manufacturer SMA Solar has published its financial results for the first quarter of the year, which include falling sales in the home and commercial and industrial (C&I) sectors, but “significant sales growth” in the large-scale and project sector.

The company reported the most significant growth in the large-scale sector, which saw sales almost double from €123.7 million (US$132.9 million) in the first quarter of 2023 to €228.7 million (US$245.8 million) in the first quarter of 2024.

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However, sales in other sectors fell between the first quarters of 2023 and 2024, from €163.3 million (US$175.5 million) to €62.6 million (US$67.3 million) in the home solutions sector, and from €80.2 million (US$86.2 million) to €70.5 million (US$75.8 million) in the C&I sector. This, along with “an increase in the group’s cost base” helped lowered the company’s earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation from €60 million in the first quarter of 2023 to €49.9 million in the first quarter of 2024.

SMA Solar’s leadership remains optimistic, however, arguing that many of these losses stem from macro-economic factors that will pass in time, such as the oversupply of solar products to the European market.

“We had a good start to the fiscal year in terms of sales, despite the decline in the home and C&I segments which we believe is only a temporary effect because end customer demand remains fundamentally robust worldwide,” said Jürgen Reinert, SMA Solar CEO. “The installation, expansion and modernisation of solar and battery systems will become much more attractive, especially for companies and tradespeople.”

Graph showing SMA Solar inverter sales by quarter. Credit: SMA Solar

Despite the company’s recent financial struggles, 2023 was a very positive year for its inverter sales. The graph above illustrates how SMA Solar sold more inverters in the first three quarters of 2023 than the entirety of 2022, and that the company’s annual inverter sales have almost tripled since 2018.

To an extent, this is a positive development, and follows growing interest in expanding the German solar sector, which has been put into law with the passing of the Solarpaket legislation. The company has also started construction on its so-called “Gigawatt Factory” that will double its annual German inverter manufacturing capacity from 20GW to 40GW.

However, there are growing concerns about the viability of solar manufacturing in the long-term across Europe.

Earlier this year, Johan Lindahl, secretary general of the European Solar Manufacturing Council (ESMC) told PV Tech Premium that Europe could lose its entire PV manufacturing industry, due to the availability of low-cost Chinese solar products, and German solar manufacturers, including SMA Solar and Meyer Berger, have announced plans to invest in new manufacturing facilities in the US.

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