Huawei, Sungrow and SMA were, in that order, the three largest inverter providers in terms of shipments last year, according to a report from analyst Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.
The dominant trio have held the same positions since 2016, with Huawei securing top rank for the fourth year in a row. The WoodMac analysts said the top five inverter makers – rounded out by Power Electronics and ABB – saw their combined market share fall last year for the first time in six years, with the most dominant players seeing their share fall from 62% in 2017 to 56%. Their rivals appear to be gaining ground, with the market share held by the companies placed sixth to tenth on the list improving from 15% to 19% in the same period.
Although global inverter shipment volumes rose 8% – year-on-year – in 2018, Huawei saw its market share fall 4%, due to the decision by China to rein in public solar subsidies. The importance of that about-turn was reflected by a similar dampening effect on shipments at Huawei’s domestic rivals, according to the report.
Who will fall by the wayside?
“As customers continue to buy inverters primarily based on price, and low cost vendors continue to dominate, it remains to be seen which companies will exit the inverter market and which will drive its growth,” the authors of the WoodMac report wrote. “Some companies are now looking to differentiate on residential and commercial offerings and some may opt to exit utility scale PV entirely, as Schneider Electric did several months ago.”
The report revealed that Israel’s SolarEdge and Spain’s Ingeteam broke into the top 10 for the first time, in eighth and ninth places, with Power Electronics and ABB becoming the fourth and fifth largest manufacturers, respectively. Sixth and seventh places were occupied by Sineng and Godwee and another Chinese company, TBEA Sunoasis, completed the top ten.
The Asia-Pacific region once again accounted for the biggest slice of the market last year, with around 64% of total shipments. “The U.S. and Canada had 21% growth in PV inverter shipments, [there was] approximately 40% [growth] in both Latin America and the Middle [Eastern-African] and Turkey (MEA) [markets], and 50% [growth] in Europe,” the report noted.