Inverter Market Trends for 2013 - 2020 and Major Technology Changes

Published: February 2013
No. of Pages: 300

There is Significant Growth in the Inverter Market, Which Reached $45 Billion in 2012 for Motion and Conversion

Energy related topics have become more and more important in 2012 – vehicle electrification, renewable energies, electricity transportation, – and as a direct result, the  power electronics market has increased. This growth is driven by:

  • high volume and cost pressure applications such as EV/HEV
  • high added-value markets like renewable energies and rail traction

In this report, we update and present market forecasts until 2020. We estimate the inverter market to be $45 billion in 2012 and to reach $71 billion by 2020. A total of more than 28 million units were shipped in 2012 and we estimate that will grow to 80 million units in 2020.

Thus, the main components of inverter, passive and semiconductor modules (that we will find in power stacks) represent enticing industries. The power module market was $1.9 billion in 2012 and passive components achieved a market size of more than $4 billion, including capacitors, resistors, connectors, busbars and - newly added in this updated report  - magnetic components (inductors and transformers).

As expected, wide band gap semiconductor devices have also started to penetrate those high-end market segments: SiC is present in PV inverters – a total market size of $43 million primarily driven by diodes in micro-inverters, but also by JFETs – and GaN which should be introduced in 2013.

Semiconductor Technological Developments Continue to Evolve and Sharpen Inverter Performance

Our 2012 investigation confirmed that semiconductor improvements enabled more efficient conversion, lighter systems and more reliable end-products. IGBTs have improved (higher current density, thinner and faster), as have SiC and GaN-based devices. GaN could be delayed in its market introduction, but SiC is already here and several companies showed SiC power module capabilities all last year. In this report, we updated our technology roadmaps for materials and devices.

Adoption of Power Stack Is Driving the Modular Approach across Applications

This report also highlights the power stack trend that Yole surveyed closely in 2012!

The Power Stack is the custom design and manufacturing of an inverter’s sub-unit which includes only the core components: power semiconductor module, cooling system, capacitors, resistors, current sensors, busbars and connectors,…

Power Stack is the innovative sub-system of an inverter.  Inverter and device makers are becoming power stack manufacturers for several reasons:

  • Vertical integration
  • Access to several applications, since power stacks are less application-dependent than inverters
  • Internal cost reductions
  • Access to high-end markets
  • Sustain R&D in-house

Large firms such as Ingeteam, Semikron or ABB are now involved, but power stack also interests smaller players such as AgileSwitch – former IGBT driver manufacturer – who are part of this about $500 million market.

Major Changes are Happening Across the Supply Chain

Power electronics often requires having several types of knowledge and experience gained know-how in mechanics, electronics, semiconductors, electrics, fluidics and hydraulics, and connectors. Therefore, development can be complicated and final products expensive.

As a consequence, we have observed and analyzed in this report two main trends coming out of the power electronics industry:"

  • Japanese and Chinese players, especially system makers, tend toward internal vertical integration and master the manufacturing processes of each sub-system and component. In the case of Japanese companies, this tendency is mostly driven by cost reduction and absorption of intermediary margins, whereas Chinese companies want to access the technology and show some proof of quality.
  • On the other hand, EU and US players are diversified and acquisition of new or complementary competencies (such as Mersen, Rogers or Power Integration) or high-end R&D and prototyping services (APEI, Primes, IMEC, GE Global Research) is becoming more common.

Key Feature of the Report

The inverter market, including  passive components and semiconductor devices, is growing.

  • Technoloy trends for power electronics
  • Market forecasts until 2020
  • Supply chain analysis and regional players strategies
  • Comprehensive understanding of dynamics for passive components and semiconductor devices

What's New Compared to Last Edition

  • Focus on the six most attractive applications for power electronics: PV, wind turbines, EV/HEV, rail traction, motor drives and UPS
  • New analysis on power stack trend

Objectives of the Report

  • Assess the market for inverters and its components
  • Understand the market dynamics for the related power electronics applications
  • Identify the key technologies and technical trends for tomorrow's high added-value systems
  • Have a clear overview of competitive landscape and regional tendencies
  • Aid in formulating  vertical integration and diversification strategy
  • Keep pace with the quickly evolving power electronics market

Company Cited in the Report

ABB, AEG, AgileSwitch, Alstom, Amphenol, AMSC, Ansaldo Breda, AOS, APEI, Auxel, AVX, BMW, Bolloré, Bombardier, Bosch, BYD, CAF, Chrysler, Citroen, CNR, Continental, Converteam, Cornell Dubilier, CREE, CSR, Danfoss, Delphi, Denso, Dynex, Eagtop, Eaton, EBG, Ebusbar, Eldre, Electronicon, Emerson, Enphase, Epcos, Fairchild, FCI, Firema, Ford, Fronius, Fuji Electric, Gamesa, General Electric, GM, Goldwind, Hitachi, Honda, Hyundai, Hyundai Rotem, Icemos, Idealec, Infineon, Ingeteam, International Rectifier, Ixys, Kaco, Kawasaki, Kemet, Kopafilm, KTX, KTX, Liebert, Lytran, MACMIC, Magnachip, Mastervolt, Maxwell, Mersen, Methode, MicroGaN, Microsemi, Microsilver, Mitsubishi, Molex, Multicontact, NEC, Nesscap, Nichicon, Nissan, Ohmite, ON Semiconductor, Panasonic, Parker, POSEICO, Powerex, PowerOne, PSA,Renault, Renesas, Rockwell, Rogers, Rohm, SAIC, Schneider Electric, Seika Electric, Semikron, Semisouth, SEPSA, Shizuki, Siemens, Sinovel, SiRectifier, Skoda, Skoda Transportation, ST Microelectronics, Stadler, Starpower, Sungrow, Sunways, Taiyo Yuden, Talgo, TE Connectivity, Telema, The Switch, TMEIC, Toray, Toshiba, Toyo Denki, Toyota, Trainelec, Translhor, Vacon, Valeo, Vestas, Vincotech, Vishay, Vossloh, WEG, Xantrex, Yazaki,

Inverter Market Trends for 2013 - 2020 and Major Technology Changes

Table of Contents


How is this report built?
A two parts report- Methodology, limitations and Yole’ Développement’s proprietary tools- Top-down approach report- Why such a report?
What is new in this report?
What we have seen…
What we have missed
What we can expect for 2013

Executive summary
Technological briefing

Applications-oriented analysis
PV inverter
Market metrics (MW, units, revenues)- Technological trends for passives and semiconductors- Supply chain
Market metrics (units, revenues split by car technology)- Technological trends for passives and semiconductors- Power packaging- Supply chain
Wind turbines
Market metrics (MW, units, revenues)- Technological trends for passives and semiconductors- Supply chain
Rail traction
Market metrics (units, revenues split by train size)- Technological trends for passives and semiconductors- Supply chain
Market metrics (units, revenues split by power range)- Technological trends for passives and semiconductors
Industrial motor drives
Market metrics (units revenues, split by power range)- Technological trends for passives and semiconductors

Analysis and global market forecasts
Compiled market forecasts
Inverters- Power modules (split by application and technology)- Capacitors- Resistors- Connectors- Busbars
Market drivers & application specificities
Inverter architecture trends- Technical trends- Price density- Power density
Implementation of SiC and GaN materials in power electronics
Passive components, packaging and connectivity evolution
Supply chain
Vertical integration- Diversification
Global perspectives

General conclusions

Published By: Yole Developpement
Product Code: Yole Developpement1076

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