Analyst: SMA dominated PV inverters in 2009, but others gaining

SMA Solar Technology kept its big lead in the PV inverter space in 2009 with close to half the market’s shipments, but a year-end component shortage appears to have affected the company more than some others in the sector, according to analysis from IMS Research.

April 21, 2010 – SMA Solar Technology kept its big lead in the PV inverter space in 2009 with close to half the market’s shipments, but a year-end component shortage appears to have affected the company more than some others in the sector, according to analysis from IMS Research.

Total PV inverter shipments topped >8GW in 2009, 30% growth from the year before, as demand surged in 3Q after a weak start to the year. The final quarter of 2009 saw “huge demand for all PV products” in races to complete projects ahead of reduced feed-in tariffs in several European markets — 2.3GW installed in Germany alone, notes PV Analyst Sam Wilkinson. That overall demand translated into a whopping 3.5GW of inverters shipped during the final quarter. Demand is expected to stay high into 2010 with a shortage of components, he noted.

SMA actually lost share during the fourth quarter — roughly ~42% of PV inverter shipments, vs. roughly half of all PV inverters used worldwide in 3Q09. SMA likely was more strongly affected by the component shortage than some of its competitors, who seem to have won back marketshare by rapidly increasing production, Wilkinson writes.

While the top three inverter suppliers — SMA, Fronius, and Kaco — held serve in the annual rankings, two companies (Power-One and Sputnik) jumped up into the top five, upending 2008’s No. 4-5 suppliers, Xantrex and Ingeteam. The latter’s strength in its domestic market (Spain) likely became a weakness with that market’s collapse, according to IMS.

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Global PV inverter supplier rankings in MW shipments. (Source: IMS Research)

 

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