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Solar inverter shipments hit 7.3 GW in Q3 2010

Solar inverter shipments grew by 50% in the third quarter (Q3) 2010 to reach 7.3 GW, another record quarter for the industry, says IMS Research.

The record beats the 5 GW of solar inverter shipment record set in Q2.

Whilst the majority these shipments were for solar installations in Germany, growth slowed substantially in this region and the biggest contributors to the market’s huge increase were Italy and Asia. Other European markets also fared well and have grown by more than 300% year-on-year.

EMEA accounted for around 80% of solar inverter shipments in Q3’10, down from 90% the previous quarter, partly driven by high growth of the Americas market which is estimated to have doubled in size from the same period last year. Indeed, all regions recorded impressive growth, generating more than US$2 billion in revenues for suppliers during the quarter, IMS Research says.

Slowing Q4

PV Analyst Tom Haddon comments: “Again we are referring to a record quarter for inverter suppliers with the previous record of 5 GW of shipments in Q2’10 being beaten by almost 50% in Q3’10.

“Q4 however is likely to be a much weaker quarter, as Germany, the largest market, continues to slow. Additionally, significant inventory now exists in the supply chain and a sharp correction seems inevitable.”

Falling prices

For the second consecutive quarter, IMS Research’s analysis found factory-gate solar inverter prices fell due to the continuing shift towards larger inverters, which have an inherently lower price per watt.

With such a strong quarter for the whole industry many firms may have increased shipments but indeed lost overall market share. However, Satcon was one of the standout performers of the quarter increasing its share in both the Americas and global market.

SMA, which dominates the solar inverter market, continued to lose further share in Q3, despite a record quarter and a big improvement in its supply problems.

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Energy infrastructure  •  Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity