SMA Top Inverter Maker in 2009

The PV inverter market had an enormous year in 2009, with record shipments of more than 8 GW, 30% more than 2008, according to ongoing analysis from IMS Research. Demand rebounded strongly in Q3 after a weak start to the year and has remained high since.

SMA Solar Technology remained the largest supplier of PV inverters in 2009 and increased its share of shipments to an estimated 42%. However, despite a record fourth quarter for the company, its share actually decreased quarter-on-quarter for the first time in the year. In the third quarter it shipped almost half of all PV inverters used worldwide.

“Although SMA saw massive shipment and revenue growth throughout 2009, gaining global market share, it appears that several of its competitors achieved better results in Q4 09, winning back valuable market share from SMA. It’s possible that SMA was more strongly affected by the extreme component shortage in Q4 09 than some of its competitors who were able to increase production more rapidly,” said Sam Wilkinson, IMS Research PV analyst.

The top three inverter suppliers remained unchanged in 2009. Fronius International remained the second largest supplier worldwide and Kaco New Energy maintained its position as third largest. The competitive landscape changed somewhat more below these suppliers with Power-One and Sputnik Engineering emerging in 2009, surpassing several suppliers to become the fourth and fifth largest in 2009.

“Q4 09 saw huge demand for all PV products as investors rushed to complete systems before feed in tariffs were reduced in many key European markets. 2.3 GW of installations were completed in Germany alone,” Wilkinson said. “This incredible demand resulted in 3.5 GW of inverters being shipped worldwide in the final quarter. Demand has remained high into 2010 and we now see a complete contrast to the first half of last year with a shortage of components limiting the market, rather than weak demand.”

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