IHS Markit released its annual PV inverter market report in early May. The world grid-connected PV inverter shipments remained almost flat in 2018. While the world grid-connected three-phase PV inverter shipments were slightly down at 93,427 MW, shipments of the single-phase segment increased by 11.2% to 11,098 MW last year.
The growth was boosted by strong residential PV demand across the globe. SolarEdge and SMA, which remained the No.1 and No.2 single-phase inverter supplier respectively, was followed by Growatt in the third place. Growatt, a Chinese inverter brand which focuses on rooftop solar inverter solutions and has been gaining market share for the past three years, is close to challenge SMA for the ranking. According to Photovoltaic Brand Lab (PVBL), Growatt is the No.1 residential inverter brand in China.
According to IHS Markit, there’s an apparent growth transition from utility-scale solar farms to distributed solar installations. This process has taken place in US, Europe and China. And in fact in Germany, the installations of utility-scale solar farms are very limited now, leaving room for smaller solar systems to be developed for residential and commercial use. Another trend in rooftop solar is the self-consumption model, which means solar storage solutions will play increasingly important role in this sector.
As the growth momentum of utility-scale solar weakens, inverter companies are looking at the rooftop market for higher growth. However, the landscape of rooftop solar are quite different. Rooftop solar systems are widely scattered and product reliability and service capability really matter. Customers prefer inverters companies that provide high quality products, local after-sales services and online service capabilities.