Solar PV balance of system (BoS) equipment revenues are projected to increase from $17 billion in 2011 to almost $24 billion in 2016, according to a new report published by IMS research. The paper shows that monitoring hardware, mounting structures and tracker systems will capture an increasing share of the market.

The report analysed volumes, pricing and revenues for eight BoS products and reveals that market revenues are set to fall by 5 percent in 2012 from 2011’s peal of £17 billion.

Ash Sharma, Senior Research Director commented: “Flat installations and shipments will inevitably lead to a fall in BoS equipment revenues this year due to price erosion, most notably for inverters and mounting structures. However the longer-term prospects for the market are still very positive with a $24 billion market size forecast in 2016.”

The research indicates that, whilst inverters will continue to form the largest part of the market, the fastest growing segment will be tracking systems. Falling prices for tracker systems will help stimulate sales, with revenues expected to grow by 30 percent. “Although the tracker market fell off a cliff at the end of 2008 when the Spanish market collapsed, it’s now facing a major resurgence as falling prices and more efficient motor control allows for a much more cost-effective system”, added Sharma.

The report shows that depending of the type of installation and the equipment used, BoS costs can sometimes outweigh the PV module costs. As a result customers are increasingly focusing on the BoS components to find cost savings and suppliers are experiencing price pressure that was previously reserved for module suppliers.

IMS Research indicate that PV modules are still set to remain the largest single hardware cost in a PV system and will account for more than 50 percent of total PV hardware revenues in 2016.

The report predicts that price declines of BoS components will not be as severe as those experienced by module suppliers: “Although there will remain great pressure on suppliers to reduce prices as incentives fall, new products such as enhanced monitoring hardware, smarter inverters and a shift towards ground-mount mounting structures will help maintain average prices.” added Sharma.