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IHS estimates that a record of 9.9 GW of inverters were shipped in the third quarter of this year (Q3'13), and shipments are forecast to grow further to exceed 10 GW in the fourth quarter (Q4'13).

In its analysis, IHS says due to the rapid expansion of the Japanese and Chinese markets, three of the top five inverter suppliers in Q3'13 were from Japan or China. Despite record inverter shipments in the second half of the year, inverter revenues are forecast to reach $3.5 billion, a decrease by 1% compared to the second half of 2012 due to highly competitive pricing.

For the second half of the year, IHS expects inverter shipments to increase by 21% over H2'12 to reach 20.8 GW, which is driven by a surge in inverter shipments in the U.S., Japan and China. These countries alone accounted for 64% of inverter shipments in the second half of the year, with the U.S. and China enjoying the usual seasonal shipment surge.

However, inverter shipments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa are forecast to continue to decrease in the second half of the year by 31% compared to a year previously, IHS says. Shipments were mainly impacted by the continued decline in key PV markets such as Germany and Italy.

Due largely to Japan commanding the highest prices for inverters globally in 2013, its PV inverter market is forecast to reach over $1.7 billion in 2013, IHS predicts. As a result, local inverter suppliers who have been able to maintain a strong presence in their domestic market have gained a share of the global market rapidly, and Omron and Tabuchi have become the third- and fourth-largest suppliers by revenue in Q3’13. 

The quarter also saw a Chinese supplier appear in the top five for the first time, with Sungrow becoming the fifth-largest supplier, due largely to a very strong quarter in its domestic market. SMA and Power-One remained the two largest suppliers once again in Q3’13, although their market shares both declined considerably compared to a year previously.

Although inverter shipments in the second half of this year were up by over 20% compared to the same period last year, IHS estimates these to have decreased 1% to $3.5 million. This was a result of very competitive pricing globally, with average global price declines of 17% for the year.

IHS forecasts that inverter shipments will increase by 13% to reach a record 41 GW in 2014, with revenues forecast to reach $1.8 billion.

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