August 25, 2010 - Shipments of solar microinverters and DC-Dc power optimizers will double annually over the next five years to 16M units worth $1.5B, according to new calculations from IMS Research.
This emerging sector of solar PV addresses problems of shading or orientation. By removing the single failure point of a central inverter, they can help enhance monitoring and communications, simplify installation, improve energy yields and reliability. Biggest opportunity is in residential and small commercial installs, where IMS expects them to account for >80% of shipments. For larger installations a centralized inverter is still essential, though, so only power optimizers have a significant play there.
Those $1.5B in microinverters in 2014, though, will only see use in <10% of global PV installations. For comparison, inverter shipments in 2Q10 tallied $1.9B.
"Although we don't see them being used in every installation type, the PV market still offers substantial opportunity for growth for suppliers of [these] products," notes Ash Sharma, PV research director at IMS Research.
Right now the microinverter market is nascent: only Enphase Energy saw any significant shipping volumes (100k units) in the past year, Sharma notes. That would have been enough, though, to make it the second-largest global PV inverter supplier. But look for more than a dozen entrants into the market (IMS is tracking around 15) -- including 600lb. gorilla SMA with its own microinverter platform, courtesy of last September's acquisition of Oke.