A new report from Navigant Research highlights the importance of microinverters and DC optimizers, which it says will be crucial to the grid-scale integratio of solar energy. According to the report, annual installations will reach nearly 13,000 MW by 2020.
In its earnings conference call last week, SolarCity indicated it would not be moving to microinverters. However, they did note that they are fans of local DC optimizers.
While they’re bucking the trend on microinverters, they are with the crowd on DC optimizers, also known as module-level power electronics, or MLPEs.
According to a recent report from Navigant Research, microinverters and DC optimizers are playing an increasingly significant role in large-scale and distributed renewable electricity generation. One part power electronics and one part networking and communications technology, they have the potential to improve the grid’s reliability and increase the overall energy harvest of solar PV projects. That makes them essential for integrating large amounts of renewable energy onto the grid. Navigant’s report predicts that annual installations of MLPE capacity will grow from 1,185 MW in 2013 to 12,844 MW by 2020.
“Microinverters and DC optimizers are two of the most disruptive technologies in the solar PV sector today,” says Dexter Gauntlett, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “The MLPE industry is moving quickly, with a growing list of solar PV module manufacturers now integrating microinverters and DC optimizers at their own production plants.”
While the market is beginning to see increasingly sophisticated inverters from major manufacturers, disruptive technological innovation by well-funded startups and early-stage MLPE companies is rapidly changing the face of the industry. These new companies are successfully promoting new system architectures and eating into the market share of the incumbents, the report concludes.
The report, “Microinverters and DC Optimizers,” analyzes the opportunity for microinverters and DC optimizers in the solar PV market worldwide. The study provides a comprehensive assessment of the demand drivers, technology costs, policy factors, and technology issues associated with the market for MLPEs. Global revenue and capacity forecasts, segmented by technology segment and region, extend through 2020. The report also includes profiles of key industry players and provides current and forecast company and technology market share data. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.