SMA Solar continues market share shenanigans

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Both PV Tech and market research firm IHS have repeatedly highlighted for several years that SMA Solar’s view on its market share position in the PV inverter market differs considerably from our own analysis. 

In reporting financial results for the first nine months of 2014, SMA Solar noted in its investor presentation that it expected its global market share (in revenue terms) for 2014 to be around 20%. 

However, in actual market share based on gigawatts installed the company pointed to a share range of 13% to 15%. 

In a release from IHS after SMA Solar reported earnings the market research firm estimated that the company’s global market share for the first nine months of the year was 13%, having been as high as 34% in 2011. 

SMA Solar highlighted in its presentation to investors that it was striving to increase market share in 2014, primarily by expected strong sales in the fourth quarter. 

However, according to IHS, SMA Solar’s market share in 2013 was said to be only 16%, so by SMA Solar’s own projections its share would actually decline by at least 1% in 2014. 

Another perennial distortion in the way SMA Solar calculates its market share is by underestimating global PV installations.

Nothing has really changed in its latest earnings presentation, declaring that it expects global PV installs to be in the range of 38GW to 42GW. 

It doesn’t take very long to scan a number of leading market researchers forecasts for the year to get a consensus that 2014 will be another record year of installs with the total not less than 45GW and possibly as high as 52GW. 

According to IHS, global PV inverter industry growth has now exceeded SMA Solar’s performance in four out of the last five quarters, highlighting a continued marked fall in its market share and accounted for approximately 12% of industry revenues in Q3 2014.

Global industry revenues were said to have reached US$1.9 billion in Q3, an increase of nearly 10% year-on-year.  

Therefore it would seem that SMA Solar has a mountain to climb to meet its market share figure by both revenue and gigawatts installed, while its market share shenanigans continue. 

Both PV Tech and market research firm IHS have repeatedly highlighted for several years that SMA Solar’s view on its market share position in the PV inverter market differs considerably from our own analysis. Image: SMA Solar
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