July 17, 2012 – One part power electronics and one part information and communications technology, inverters play a role in large-scale and distributed renewable energy generation. They have the potential to enable homeowners and utilities alike to realize the full benefits of distributed and centralized renewable energy systems. The inverter industry is entering a dynamic point in its history and undergoing an intense period of technological innovation, says Pike Research, but also a period of turmoil.
According to a new report from Pike, the market for inverters for renewable energy applications totalled $7.2 billion in 2011. That figure will more than double over the next five years, surpassing $19 billion in 2017.
“We have already witnessed the deleterious effect of falling solar photovoltaic (PV) module prices on all but the most efficient manufacturers,” said research analyst Dexter Gauntlett. “In order to avoid a similar fate, inverter companies must increase functionality, reduce cost and differentiate themselves from the growing competition. Incumbent inverter manufacturers SMA, Fronius, Satcon, Power-One, KACO New Energy and Ingeteam have the advantages of size and market reach, but disruptive technological innovation by well-funded startups and early-stage companies like Enphase and SolarBridge is rapidly changing the face of the industry.”
In all, nearly 290 GW of vendor-supplied inverter capacity will be installed worldwide across four primary technologies—solar PV, small wind power, stationary fuel cells and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) -enabled vehicles—between 2012 and 2017.
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