ACCORDING TO ANALYSIS FROM IMS RESEARCH, the photovoltaic (PV) inverter market staged a strong recovery in the third quarter of 2009, with record-level shipments of more than 2.5 GW. IMS estimates third-quarter global revenues of more than $600m for a PV market that had stalled in the first half of the year.
That number represents a 30% improvement compared to 2008's third quarter, and is nearly double 2009's second quarter. Germany showed particularly strong growth, with more than 1.2 GW of the inverters shipped in the third quarter alone — almost twice the amount that were shipped in the first half of the year.
“The third quarter of 2009 has been incredibly strong for the PV inverter market and we expect this to continue until the end of the year,” commented Sam Wilkinson, an IMS Research PV analyst. “The rapid module price declines in the first half of the year, coupled with better financing conditions, has led to a surge of investors returning to PV, desperate to get systems connected in Germany before the feed in tariff reduction on December 31st.”
Demand was anticipated to remain very strong in the fourth quarter but is limited by the availability of inverters and other components, with most suppliers now unable to deliver products until the first quarter of 2010. Prices of PV inverters have fallen around 10% over the last year, a relatively small amount compared to the severe price declines experienced by PV module suppliers.