Solar installers in the UK have named SMA inverters as the most preferred PV inverter brand in a new survey conducted by IMS Research.

IMS Research’s recently-published PV Inverter Customer Survey – World – 2013 report surveyed over 400 PV inverter purchasers. The results revealed that the most preferred brand, both globally and for the UK, was SMA Solar Technology.

The German inverter giant received nearly one-third of total votes, ranking as number one in Germany, Italy, UK and the US. Overall, more than 70 brands were named in the survey, a significant increase on the number of brands identified in a similar survey last year.

Interestingly, the top four inverter brands have not changed from last year’s. However, this year’s survey has seen a few new entrants break the top ten, including US microinverter manufacturer, Enphase.

The report identifies the broad requirements of distributors, installers, integrators, EPCs and wholesalers when selecting inverters. The importance of after sales service and warranties was identified as an extremely important factor, with more than 90% of respondents stating that they are ‘important’ or ‘critical’ for solar projects.  

However, the most important aspect of an inverter brand’s offering was extra fast response time in service cases, followed closely by remote system monitoring. Sam Wilkinson, manager of IMS Research’s PV inverter and BoS research and analysis explained: “Considering the highly competitive nature of the PV market, attractive warranty and service offerings, and a good reputation for offering excellent after-sales support is becoming a highly important way in which PV inverter suppliers can strengthen their brand and gain market share.”

Inverter brands’ warranty and service plans were also ranked by respondents. SMA topped the chart once again with more than 35% of the votes, with Fronius the second most popular. The new report published by IMS Research highlights the importance of inverter brands auxiliary offerings.