A comprehensive analysis on the first standardization steps in the PV
inverter industry, evaluation of the market forecasts and positioning of the
different business players
This updated version of Yole' s PV inverter trends report presents a comparison
between what we had previously anticipated and what really happened; and also
the new integration that will take place in an inverter.
Last year, we described the evolution of the 4 main parameters of an inverter
(size, efficiency, cost and reliability). We will see in this report, that the
inverter - as important as it is - is more than ever considered as the
sub-system of a more important one: the PV plant.
We have also reviewed our position on some aspects, especially the
micro-inverters, which we anticipated more promising than what has really
appeared in 2010
In addition, technolocy development is being investigated (advanced cooling
system for large size inverters, gallium nitride-based devices for conversion,
laminated Busbars for conduction,...).
This year we also included details on the integration of new functionalities,
because it is what we have seen all along 2010.
Functionalities tend to improve the global return on investment (ROI) of the
PV plant, as well as efficiency and reliability or reducing cost:
- On-site aging effect measurement
- Voltage, current, temperature monitoring
- Protection, in case of maintenance
We had anticipated that monitoring at cell-level would appear early 2011, but
actually, it will not appear until 2 or 3 years from now. The main reason for
this delay is that it does not rely on inverters-like manufacturers, but on
cell manufacturers, who are not ready yet to provide such technical solutions.
At the plant level (PV inverter environment), architectures are slowly getting
standardized, especially on the European market where feed-in tariffs (FIT),
although less interesting, define a typical size of installation (3kW in
France and Italy, about 5kW in Germany,...).
Last year, it was difficult to establish an exact architecture of the
industrial buildings-based PV plants: this year, we have seen mainly two
“types” of architectures:
- Using up to 20kW inverters for installations up to 100kW
- Using large inverters for more than 100kW
The main consequence is a decrease of 20 to 50kW power range from inverter
manufacturers and newcomers on the market, who do not target this value as a
COMPANIES MENTIONED IN THE REPORT
SMA, Fronius, SEPSA, Ingeteam, Enphase, Enecsys, Kaco, MasterVolt, Schneider
Electric, Xantrex, SolarMax, SolarMagic, Siemens, PowerOne, AEG, Danfoss,
GreenPower IC Lab, ISET, Fraunhoffer ISE, Mitsubishi Electric, ABB, Semikron,
MicroSemi, Ixys, Vincotech, Infineon, PetraSolar, Sunsil, Yamaichi
Electronics, Ferraz Shawmut, Socomec, PVPowered, Tepco, Comverge, SemiSouth,
Siba, SolarBridge, Schneider Electric, Conergy, Sunpower, Firstsolar,
PhotoWatt, Siliken, etc...