According to a new report from IMS Research, microinverters and power optimisers continue to be the fastest growing segment of the solar PV inverter market after growing by 180 percent in 2011.

The report, The World Market for Microinverters & Power Optimizers – 2012, reveals that revenues associated with the products grew by 160 percent to more than $200 million in 2011. IMS Research predicts that microinverters and power optimisers will continue to perform strongly in the near future, forecasting a 70 percent growth in 2012 to almost 900MW.

“Microinverter and power optimiser vendors have been somewhat insulated from the weak underlying demand and consolidation in the PV industry. The technologies are still relatively new and growth is simply coming from capturing share from existing solutions such as string inverters. Microinverters have now carved out a significant portion of the US residential market and have begun to make some inroads in Europe,” explained Research Director Ash Sharma.

Despite the difficult market conditions for solar technologies, the outlook for these disruptive technologies looks good, with IMS Research predicting that the segment will capture 10 percent of the market by 2016, raising revenues of nearly $1.5 billion.

The report notes that, whilst microinverters are currently performing more strongly, optimiser shipments are predicted to accelerate rapidly over the next five years. Sharma explained: “Whilst microinverters are likely to remain limited to mainly residential and small commercial systems, optimizers will more likely be used in even larger installations, expanding their addressable market. Suppliers of the devices are also working closely with manufacturers of junction boxes, modules and inverters to offer several new routes to market that will help to further accelerate adoption,”

The report identifies five markets as the most attractive markets for microinverters and power optimisers, namely: US, UK, Canada, Australia and Japan – who will witness the technologies absorb a quarter of total market share by 2016. IMS Research forecasts that these five markets will continue to support a healthy residential and small commercial sector as well as enforce less restrictive grid codes that will help foster demand for the technologies.

The research indicates that, despite upwards of 25 active suppliers of microinverters and power optimisers, the 2011 market was dominated by just three suppliers: Enphase Energy, SolarEdge and Tigo – all of which accounted for more than 90 percent of total shipments.

The impending arrival of major players into the market, such as SMA and Power-One is expected to fragment the market considerably over the coming years. IMS Research’s report, The World Market for Microinverters & Power Optimizers – 2012, was published in August and contains forecasts and analysis for this fast growing segment of the PV industry.