A new report from research firm IHS has found that success in the global inverter market dipped slightly in 2011 due to feed-in tariff cuts in several leading solar markets. The PV Inverters: Surviving the Storm report states that despite long-term growth prospects, shipments of PV inverters last year fell to the equivalent of 23.4GW, down 1 percent from 23.6GW in 2010.

IHS’s research also found that along with a dip in inverter shipments; last year saw a 15 percent drop in revenue, down to ~£3.3 billion. This was reportedly due to a sharp decline in average selling prices.

However, despite this slight downturn, IHS says that inverter shipments are expected to take a positive turn in 2012, 2013 and 2014 while revenue decline will ease to just 3 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.

“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,” explained 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 cliff—after 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.”

IHS’s top 10 inverter manufacturers (by market share)

  1. SMA Solar Technology
  2. Power-One
  3. Kaco New Energy
  4. Refusol GmbH
  5. Siemens Industry Automation
  6. Satcon Technology Corp.
  7. Fronius International GmbH
  8. Ingeteam Energy
  9. Elettronica Santerno
  10. Danfoss Solar

Together the Top 10 accounted for 75 percent of the inverter market in 2011.