Grid Scale, Solar, Storage

Smart PV inverters take over in 2014

Shipments of smart photovoltaics (PV) inverters will grow to 27GW in 2015, accounting for almost 60% of the market, compared to just 20% in 2010, reports IMS Research.

July 27, 2011 — Shipments of smart photovoltaics (PV) inverters will grow to 27GW in 2015, accounting for almost 60% of the market, compared to just 20% in 2010, reports IMS Research. Smart PV inverters can ease grid imbalances for utilities as more and more PV gets connected to the power grid. Smart inverters also enable self-consumption tariff rewards.

IMS Research pulished “The World Market for PV Inverters” covering reactive power, smart grid interaction and energy storage development at the inverter level. Over the next 5 years, claims Tom Haddon, PV Research Analyst at IMS Research, solar inverters will go from simple electricity conversion devices to essential smart grid components. By 2015, standard solar inverters will make up a market minority: 42% of global shipments.

Beware of how inverters are defined, however. Haddon says most inverters will still not be “fully smart,” having only have reactive power capabilities, rather than full smart grid/energy storage functionality.

“Utilities, especially in Europe, are increasingly pushing for inverters to assist in grid stabilization and conform to stricter technical requirements,” Haddon notes. Smart inverters are expected to make up 80% of the Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA) market in 2015. Not surprisingly, Germany is leading the way, integrating PV power into the grid under Low and Medium Voltage Directives. Watch for other European countries to follow Germany’s lead.

Figure. Total world market for standard and smart PV inverters. SOURCE: IMS Research July 2011.

IMS Research forecasts that close to 5% of all PV inverters shipped in 2015 will be equipped with energy storage, namely batteries to even out power loads continuously throughout the day. At the moment, cost is a major prohibitor to energy-storage inverters, and current efficiency and reliability do not outweight the extra costs. Incentives favoring self-consumption could boost the energy storage inverter market, if these improvements are realized, Haddon asserts.

Detailed analysis of global PV inverter market is available from IMS Research?s 4th edition of The World Market for Photovoltaic Inverters which covers more than 100 suppliers and features 50,000 data points on the industry. Market sizes, market shares and forecasts for the global solar inverter market, as well as granular forecasts are provided for 21 key countries, along with inverter demand and a full competitive environment review with market shares for 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

IMS Research provides market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry, offering syndicated market studies, bespoke research and consultancy services. Learn more at www.pvmarketresearch.com

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