The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

Survey Reveals Customers' Wish List for PV Inverter Improvements

System-level monitoring, continued adoption of string inverters for large PV installs, and improvements by Chinese suppliers are among the trends gleaned from a survey of inverter buyers & sellers.

In a survey conducted in 4Q11, IMS Research asked more than 400 PV installers, distributors, and engineering/procurement/construction (EPC) firms about their purchasing habits for solar inverters: brand and product preference, product features, microinverters and power optimizers, service/warranty, and pricing, and what customers want to see improved in inverter technology. The survey covered several major global markets, with responses parsed by country and customer type.

Among the key findings from the survey results:

  • Western inverter suppliers are still clearly favored, and market-leader SMA in particular has great brand affinity. But nearly 30 percent of respondents, with an emphasis on Europe (Italy and the UK in particular), indicated they think Chinese products are of "acceptable quality."
  • Survey respondents still see room for improvements. For string inverters, they want more MPPT channels and a wider MPP range; for central inverters it's improved system monitoring and fault detection, noted report co-author Cormac Gilligan.
  • Also gleaned from the survey: continued adoption of three-phase string inverters for large PV installations. More than 70 percent of respondents said they would consider using a string inverter in >750kW systems, and 30 percent said they'd use them in megawatt-sized projects.
  • System-level monitoring is a hot topic. Nearly 70 percent of respondents said they want monitoring diagnostics down to the string level, and 15 percent want the ability for individual panels. That points to an opportunity for firms in offering panel-level electronics, says IMS Research senior research director Ash Sharma. Only 1 percent of PV installations in 2011 used microinverters, but more than 10 percent of survey respondents "are intending to use microinverters for some of their projects in the next 12-24 months, with an even greater number wanting to use DC-DC power optimizers," he says. Still, more than half of respondents cite higher costs for microinverters and hesitation to adopt what they see as an "unproven" technology.
  • Even though inverter pricing is expected to fall by 20 percent or even 30 percent over the next three years, "nearly all" expect inverters to incorporate more and improved features and better quality. (More than half, though, indicated they'd pay a premium for just a 1 percent yield gain.) This sentiment is most likely due to customers determining their preferred inverter price based on their overall system budget. "With module and system prices falling rapidly, this inherently puts more pressure on inverter prices to fall too," Gilligan said.
Untitled Document

RELATED ARTICLES

Hybrid solar minigrid to power Tanzanian island village

Tildy Bayar

A hybrid solar photovoltaic-battery energy storage-diesel minigrid project aims to provide power for around 400 households in the remote island village of Lake Victoria (pictured) in Tanzania. 

World Moves Toward 100 Percent Renewable Energy – First Electricity, Then Heating/Cooling, and Finally Transportation

Junko Movellan, Correspondent The exclusive use of energy from renewable resources in at least one sector has now become a feasible goal for 8 countries. Diane Moss, Founding Director of Renewables 100 Policy Institute, discussed this remarkable develop...

Solar power growth impacting UK electricity sector

Diarmaid Williams

Q2 of 2015 saw a large increase in the generation of electricity from solar PV in the UK, with the growth having a significant impact on electricity market prices and other supply factors.

PACE Finance Opening Doors for C&I Solar In California

Susan Kraemer, Correspondent With its excellent renewable policy, California leads the nation in solar. Over the years both the Renewable Portfolio Standard and the California Solar Initiative drove utility scale and residential solar deployment. But w...
Jim is Contributing Editor for RenewableEnergyWorld.com, covering the solar and wind beats. He previously was associate editor for Solid State Technology and Photovoltaics World, and has covered semiconductor manufacturing and related industries, ...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 4
1507REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Grid-connected and Off-grid Photovoltaics

This training covers all aspects of planning, installation, maintenance,...

5th Annual Hydro Plant Maintenance

Join maintenance professionals to discuss the challenges in maintenance ...

2015 Green Energy Expo

Stop by and visit Canadian Solar at the Green Energy Expo in Mexico City!

COMPANY BLOGS

Prevailing At A Premium

As efficiency sales professionals, we’re often faced with situatio...

Do Your Goals Match Your Values?

Before you set goals for your company or your personal work performance ...

LSX rises with sustainable wine making in Mexico

his custom LSX solar canopy shades the upper deck organic gard...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS