Photovoltaic Inverters, also known as Solar Inverters, are electrical inverters that convert Direct Current (DC) generated by a photovoltaic array into Alternating Current (AC). Photovoltaic inverters are used to provide a clean reusable energy source for running home appliances or an utility grid. These inverters are generally classified into Stand-alone, Grid Tied, or Battery backup inverters. Stand-alone photovoltaic inverters are connected to electrical networks which do not have any other alternative power source and draw electricity only from photovoltaic cells. On the other hand, Grid-tied photovoltaic inverters are connected to the electricity grid. These inverters produce Alternating Current which matches phase with the utility supplied sine-wave. Thus, these inverters can be used to sell excess electricity generated by their photovoltaic array back to the utility grid. The third type, Battery back-up photovoltaic inverters, are connected to a battery, and charges the battery to store power, which can be utilized during the night when solar power is not available.
Energy departments like the US Department of Energy have initiated programs like the Solar Energy Technology program to decrease the dependance on hydrocarbon fuels. Under this program, systems like Solar Energy Grid Integration system are being rapidly adopted, where smart grids are integrated with PV systems. For such systems, smart grids are implemented, as they allow two way flow of power and communication. The Solar Technology program also provides financial assistance to vendors including PV inverter companies for further system optimization capabilities. Thus, through intelligent functionality and communication development, smart grids have been able to increase system performance, economic value, energy storage, and energy management; thus, driving the market for PV inverters.
With developments in the PV inverter technologies, PV inverters are becoming more efficient and cost effective. Thus, the large PV inverter companies are acquiring smaller PV inverter companies to gain access over new technologies. For instance, SMA Solar Technology, a German solar energy equipment provider, has recently acquired micro-inverter technology platform from the Dutch company, OKE Services. This acquisition has helped SMA have a product portfolio featuring all existing inverter technologies for operating photovoltaic systems of any size and with optimal technical system configuration. Further, in early 2010, Colorado based Advanced Energy Industries, Inc. acquired Oregon based PV Powered, Inc. With this, Advanced Energy Industries now have access to technology and platform for transformer-based inverters, with power levels below 500kw for the small to mid range commercial inverter market. Further, large conglomerates present in other industries are also entering the rapidly growing PV market. For example, GE entered the utility scale PV inverter market in late 2009 with its 600 KW inverter.
This report by TechNavio Insights highlights the scope of the Global Photovoltaic Inverter market. Further it discusses key market trends, drivers, growth inhibitors and a few major vendors in the market.