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2012 PV inverter space still fragmented

Posted: 07 May 2013     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:PV inverter  photovoltaic market  PV inverter suppliers 

Based on the latest quarterly report of IHS Inc. division IMS Research, supplier base for photovoltaic (PV) inverters further fragmented last year. In 2012, the total market share of the top 10 biggest suppliers fell more than 4 percentage points, the research firm noted.

The fragmented market was partly due to strong growth in demand from China and Japan, where most of the top 10 suppliers have limited presence. SMA Solar Technology's share of global revenue fell for the third consecutive year to slightly more than 25 per cent—as the PV market continued to fragment and demand for its products weakened in its core markets. A flurry of recent M&A activity, including Advanced Energy's acquisition of REFUsol and ABB's purchase of Power-One, also has had little impact on the competitive landscape and has resulted in only minimal changes to the supplier rankings.

Although recent bankruptcies, exits, and acquisitions normally would indicate industry consolidation, the market share of the top PV inverter suppliers fell from 62 per cent in 2011, to 56 per cent in 2012.

SMA Solar Technology's dominant position in the PV inverter industry slid further in 2012, when its share fell to slightly more than 25 per cent, having stood at nearly 40 per cent in 2009.

"The year 2012 saw many of the leading suppliers, including the three largest—SMA, Power-One and Kaco—lose market share, largely due to their limited presence in China and Japan, both of which grew rapidly in 2012," said Sam Wilkinson, PV inverter research manager at IHS. "The majority of suppliers that gained share in 2012 were mid-size companies that are targeting growing segments of the market, in contrast to the market leaders whose businesses still heavily revolved around the stagnating core markets in Europe. The number of suppliers with a market share of more than 1 per cent increased to 24 in 2012, with this growing group of suppliers accounting for three-quarters of market revenue."

Enphase, Advanced Energy gain share amid market exits
The majority of suppliers that gained market share and moved up the rankings were those with a strong presence in fast-growing markets or those that offered new technologies. Advanced Energy and Enphase's strong position in the fast growing U.S. market resulted in their global rankings improving to fourth and sixth, respectively in 2012, up from eighth and eleventh in 2011. Similarly, Omron's strength in the Japanese market allowed it to gain six places and become the first Asian supplier to place in the top 10.

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