According to a recently released report “Microinverters & Power Optimizers - Success Analysis, Forecasts and Profiles“, in excess of 16 million microinverters and power optimizers will be shipped in the next five years, generating revenues of more than US$1.5 billion for the suppliers of the devices. Yet despite shipments growing at more than 100% on annum, they are forecast to be utilized in less than 10% of the global PV installations in 2014.
Both microinverters and power optimizers are possible solutions for PV installations that suffer from shading or orientation problems, which is where IMS Research predicts they will see greatest uptake. However other possible advantages include the enhanced monitoring and communications, simpler installation, higher energy yields, and increased reliability by removing the single failure point of a central inverter.
IMS Research predicts the devices will be most successful in residential and small commercial installations which will account for more than 80% of shipments; only power optimizers will be taken up in quantity in larger installations, since they do not eliminate the large centralized inverter, which would be essential for large-scale projects.
IMS Research’s Photovoltaics Research Director Ash Sharma commented, “With any industry growing as rapidly as photovoltaics, there are huge opportunities available; we predict very rapid growth in the market for microinverters and power optimizers. Although we don’t see them being used in every installation type, the PV market still offers substantial opportunity for growth for suppliers of the products”. “Although last year there was only one supplier shipping any significant volume--Enphase Energy--that is all about to change; soon more than a dozen suppliers will be serving the growing market and even market leader SMA now has a microinverter platform following its acquisition of OKE,” Sharma added.
Enphase Energy is currently the only supplier shipping significant volumes of microinverters; however, IMS Research identified around 15 suppliers set to enter the market. Enphase Energy shipped more than a hundred thousand microinverters last year. If market share rankings were based on units shipped it would have been ranked the second largest supplier to the global PV inverter market.
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