Market Insight- Global Solar Micro Inverter Market
A solar micro inverter is plug-and-play equipment used in photovoltaic installations that converts direct current generated by a single module to alternating current. Contrasting to conventional central inverters, micro inverters work on Module Level Power Electronics (MLPE), in which power conversion takes place at the individual module level. This, in turn, reduces the negative effects of module mismatch and enhances overall efficiency of the system. Furthermore, micro inverters enable module-level monitoring, enhanced design flexibility, easier installation, and better safety than conventional inverters. Micro inverters and power optimizers are collectively known as module-level power electronics, wherein it offers significant efficiency over conventional systems and deploys Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT). This, in turn, maximizes the output from each module and enhances efficiency of the overall system.
The global Solar Micro Inverter Market was accounted for US$ 427.2 Mn in terms of value in 2019 and is expected to grow at CAGR of 16.6% for the period 2019-2027.
Market Dynamics- Drivers
- Increasing installations of solar products such as solar panels are expected to drive growth of the global solar micro inverter market during the forecast period
Over the years, the number of solar photovoltaic installations has increased exponentially across the globe. According to Coherent Market Insights’ analysis, total solar PV installed capacity increased from 6.6 GW in 2006 to 227.1 GW in 2015, globally. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) roadmap, solar PV capacity is expected to reach 4,600 GW by 2050, amounting to 16% of the global electricity production. Moreover, the costs of solar installations have declined over 70% in the last 10 years, thereby opening new avenues for market players. According to IEA, the cost of electricity from PV installations in various parts of the world will converge as markets develop, with an average cost reduction of 25% by 2020, 45% by 2030, further pushing the number of global installations. Thus, increasing solar installations is expected to support the global solar micro inverter market growth over the forecast period.
- Lucrative advantages offered over conventional solar inverters is expected to propel the global solar micro inverter market growth over the forecast period
Micro solar inverters offer numerous advantages over the conventional string and central inverters such as high energy yield, module level monitoring abilities, longer life cycles, enhanced safety, betters flexibility, simplicity, and higher labor efficiency, and no single point of failure. These prime factors have increased the adoption of micro inverters in the photovoltaic industry in the recent past. Therefore, these benefits are expected to boost the global solar micro inverters market growth over the forecast period.
North America region dominated the global Solar Micro Inverter Market in 2019, accounting for 52.9% share in terms of value, followed by Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Africa and Latin America.
Source: Coherent Market Insights
Market Dynamics- Restraints
- Rising adoption of DC optimizer is expected to hinder the global solar micro inverter market growth over the forecast period
DC optimizers are relatively less expensive than micro inverter solutions, thereby offering a major advantage over the micro inverters. For instance, in 2015, the average selling price of a micro inverter stood at US$ 0.51 per watt; whereas the cost of a DC optimizer was US$ 0.12 per watt. However, as an optimizer system requires a central/string inverter and complex DC wirings, the overall cost of a micro inverter system is only 10–20% higher than that of an optimizer system. Thus, economic solutions offered by DC optimizer is expected to hinder the market growth in the near future.
- Strict electrification regulations in Japan are expected to hamper growth of the global solar micro inverter market during the forecast period
According to Coherent Market Insights’ analysis, in 2015, Japan contributed around 33.3 GW to the worlds’ total PV capacity. However, strict regulatory policies regarding electric safety in the country are expected to restrict the market growth in the near future. Japan Electrical Safety & Environment Technology Laboratories (JET) certification is required for micro inverters or single-phase, or string inverters less than 20kW. As of 2015, NEP’s micro inverter was the only certified micro inverter in the Japanese market. Moreover, on the contrary, DC power optimizers do not require JET certification. Hence, these factors are expected to global solar micro inverter market growth in the near future.
- Advent of fully embedded products can provide major growth opportunities for market players
Embedded micro inverters can fully be integrated into the junction box of a module to create a more reliable and cheaper AC module. This, in turn, offers major cost advantage to customers, which replaces conventional junction box arrangement. As of 2015, additional savings of US$ 0.02 – 0.03/watt were noted, but these savings are not yet passed to the customer due to significant price mark-up for embedded systems. Moreover, this technology is being incorporated by DC optimizer manufacturers to develop embedded mobiles that are called smart modules. Currently, only LG offers a fully integrated AC module – MonoX ACE – and claims capability of saving up to 41% in terms of installation time as compared to conventional systems but comes with only 10 years warranty and costs significantly more.
- High potential Indian market can offer significant business opportunities
India is targeting 100GW of solar installations by 2022 while status quo being a meager 7.6GW on May 31, 2016. Of this, 40 GW is expected to come from rooftop installations, fuelling the demand for micro inverters in the country. According to Coherent Market Insights’ analysis, revenue from the India solar micro inverters market is expected to expand at a significantly high CAGR of 30% over 2016–2026, and revenue contribution from the market in India to Asia Pacific is expected to increase to 8%. Key companies in the market can capitalize on these opportunities by marketing their solutions in a promising way for Indian commercial and industrial segments.
Source: Coherent Market Insights
- Increasing merger and acquisition activities
Key players in the market are focused on merger and acquisition activities, in order to enhance the market presence. For instance, in 2014, SunPower Corp. acquired VC-funded SolarBridge Technologies, Inc., to expand its product offerings by including factory-integrated AC modules. Moreover, in August 2011, SunEdison acquired GreenRay Solar to sell its modules coupled with micro inverter technology.
- Constant price drops and reducing margins
Dropping prices have been a continual scenario in the global solar micro inverter market and the trend is expected to continue during the forecast period. For instance, Enphase’s top management stated the company would scrub out 50% of the device's cost in two years and reach parity with string inverters at 10 cents per watt. Moreover, micro inverter companies are facing direct competition from providers of lower-cost solutions. In order to sustain among other players, many companies have significantly reduced prices of their products, which in turn, reducing gross margin. For instance, Enphase financials from Q1-16 indicate that the company’s gross margin percentage reduced from 32.6% in Q1-15 to 18.8%.
In global Solar Micro Inverter Market, by System Type, Stand Alone sub-segment dominated the global market in 2019, accounting for 94.7% share in terms of value, followed by Integrated (ACModule).
Source: Coherent Market Insights
Key players operating in the global solar micro inverter market are SunPower Corporation, Enphase Energy Inc., iEnergy Co. Ltd., Altenergy Power System Inc., Chilicon Power, LLC, SMA Solar Technology AG, Sparq Systems, SMA Solar Technology AG, Northern Electric and Power Co. Ltd, ABB Ltd., LG Electronics, and Darfon Electronics Corporation.
- Major companies in the market are focused on mergers and acquisitions, in order to enhance the market presence. For instance, in June 2018, Enphase Energy Inc. acquired SunPower Corporation’s micro inverter business for US$ 25 million in cash and US$ 7.5 million in shares of Enphase common stock.
- Key players in the market are involved in product launches, in order to expand product portfolio. For instance, in September 2019, LG Electronics introduced its high-performance, fully integrated AC solar panel with a micro inverter ‘LG NeON R ACe’.