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Recovery for solar inverter market seen this year

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:solar inverter? shipment? photovoltaic market?

IHS Inc. has revealed that the global solar photovoltaic (PV) inverter market last year suffered a bit of a downturn. In fact, shipments of PV inverters fell to the equivalent of 23.4GW, down one percent from 23.6GW in 2010. The decrease was accompanied by a 15 percent drop in revenue, down to $6.1 billion due to falling average selling prices. Prices plunged 14 percent during the yearmuch worse than earlier 10 percent predicted contraction.

However, inverter shipments are expected to return to positive territory this year with a projected five percent increase to 24.5GW, to be followed by three more years of successive expansion. And while revenue will still decline this year, the retreat will ease to just three percent, after which growth is expected to return and then climb to the 20 percent range by 2014 as demand from new markets begins to make an impact.

PV inverter shipment

Worldwide PV inverter shipment forecast

Inverters are devices that convert the energy of the sun captured by solar panels into a usable form of electricity eventually fed back into the electrical grid. "The slump in 2011 inverter shipments is mainly attributed to challenging conditions in the photovoltaics markets in the key countries of Germany and the Czech Republic," stated Greg Sheppard, senior director for PV research at IHS. "Shipments in Germany declined after the industry there stalled, while shipments in the Czech Republic fell off a cliffafter the government in Prague cut tariffs to deliberately slow down an otherwise superheated expansion. Luckily, much of the loss was made up by growth in other markets."

PV inverter shipment

Despite a stall in market growth last year, solar inverters are forecast to increase by five percent to 24.5GW this year.

Inverter shipments in Germany tumbled to 6.1GW last year, down from 9.9GW in 2010, while shipments in the Czech Republic dropped to just 55MW, down from 1.5GW.

China had the largest increase in inverter shipments for the year, reaching 1.6GW last year from just 691MW in 2010. The U.S. was second, climbing to 2.8GW, up from 1.5GW. Both countries, along with Japan, will represent the largest absolute growth in inverter opportunities this year, said IHS.

France and Italy also did well last year, but both markets are expected to run into stiffer headwinds this year as government authorities recalibrate tariffs and cap installations for the time being to decelerate growth.

Other territories expected to post significant increases are India, as well as emerging markets in Asia, Latin America and the collective region of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).





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